Scottish Book Talk books, so I caved and went with it.
Initially, it wasn't just the hype thing that had me sceptical about the book, but the plot. It's Battle Royale, but sweet. That was my prejudice, and I was quite right in that. So the book's about some kids in the middle of nowhere fighting to kill each other until there's only one survivor. So far, so Battle Royale. But in The Hunger Games it's about politics and class, a kind of terrorist threat against the people to be sure they don't rebel against the Capitol and its power, which is a kind of despotic we-can-do-what-we-want rule. And this much is pretty much widespread knowledge by now, especially thanks to the film.
Reading the book, I can entirely sympathise with the want to turn it into film. Forget the huge profits of a successful triology of films, it's the kind of novel where the reader wants to see what's going on. And I'm not even talking about the gore. There's something about fantasy/sci-fi worlds that people want to actually visually see, and Panem is no different - it sounds hugely vast, and the Capitol so incredibly startling that I'm almost tempted to watch the film myself just so I can see how they did it all. And maybe one day I will watch it, when my younger sister gets it on DVD. In terms of sights and sounds, Collins paints a grand picture that I imagine translates well to film. As far as the book goes, she does well in creating a world that seems hugely alien but, with all it's recognisable features, is perfectly tangible. In all honesty, I think I approached The Hunger Games with a heavy prejudice that the writing was going to be terrible, but I was very pleasantly surprised - and I was nearly in tears by page 26.
Protagonist Katniss is sixteen years old, a tough hunter, but also capable of loving and missing her family, and maybe even of romantic feelings. There's probably a little bit of everyone in Katniss, or at least the desire to have some of her other qualities. Who doesn't want to be attractive and deadly? Fierce but loveable, Katniss is a great balance for a teenage heroine. Oh, and I might even have a crush on Gale.
If I was fourteen, I'd be completely besotted with the book, and I'd probably already be devouring the second two. I'd talk about it with all my friends, have posters on my bedroom wall, and I'd wear a little mockingjay badge on my school jacket. As it is, I'm quietly passionate about it, and only know of one friend who has read all three. I have way too many books on my shelf to be quick about reading the others, but I'm sure I'll get round to it eventually. Still, I would definitely wear a little mockingjay pin if I could find one. Yeah, I reckon The Hunger Games is worth all that, if only for some fast-paced glee.