In need of some reading inspiration? The ‘My Favourite’ feature is a chance for me to put the spotlight on some of my favourite books of all time! Today, I have chosen my favourite dystopian…
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I don’t want to sound all ‘alternative’ but I like to shamelessly boast that I read The Hunger Games before it was cool! It was a present my Dad got for me, thinking it was something different (and I like different books). I actually remember telling him when I finished ‘this is going to be big.’ Turns out I wasn’t wrong!
Seven Reasons Why I Love This Book:
For someone who often professes to prefer books set in the real world, I have a soft spot for intricate, intelligently imagined new realities. In truth, I am very jealous of Suzanne Collins for the creativity required to architect this dark but absorbing dystopian world.
It’s impossible to write about The Hunger Games without mentioning Katniss, the series’ modern heroine. She is strong, willful, loyal and fiercely protective of her family. It’s incredibly refreshing to have a heroine who looks outward from her love triangle, more concerned with, you know, the downfall of malicious leadership and freedom from oppression. Finally!
3) Mixture of action and emotion
Some action books can be stark and devoid of human relationships. Some romances or dramas can be just a bit boring and fluffy. The Hunger Games is one of those books that strike the perfect balance between plot and characterisation. I think this is what makes the series appeal to such a wide audience. It is ceaselessly gripping and yet by no means lacking in heart.
4) Strong messages
Like any good dystopian, The Hunger Games puts forward some powerful thought-provoking ideas. Our ideas about class, authority and the value of the individual are all called into question, but without sounding preachy.
I got a real feel in The Hunger Games that the side characters aren’t just there to carry the plot – they are given emotional depth and vividly contribute to the book. Rue, Haymitch and Cinna were my particular favourites, and I engaged in their story just as much as the main characters.
Suzanne Collins treads a fine line with this book. If you’re going to write about what is essentially the sacrifice of children for entertainment, shocking and at times gruesome, readers looking for something a little less miserable could be put off. However, though hard-hitting The Hunger Games remains hopeful, and in this way avoids being exhausting in its brutality.
There is a quote I love from Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore:
‘It seemed to me that there was a self-interest hidden in the core of all of us, which cooled us when we contemplated any fate which did not touch us directly.’
The Hunger Games is a disturbing exploration of how we distance ourselves from the suffering of others. This is something that makes Katniss’ world come chillingly close to reality.
If you loved The Hunger Games, why not try The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood? It’s a powerful, gripping and disturbing dystopian.
Cover image courtesy of Goodreads.
Have you read The Hunger Games? Have another dystopian to suggest? Share your thoughts in the comments!