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In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
~~~~~ Summary from Goodreads ~~~~~
Book - The Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy. It is followed by "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay".
The background is set in post-apocalyptic USA -- only USA doesn't exist any more. Instead, a new nation called Panem, has taken its place. There are twelve districts in Panem and each district solely is dedicated to different requirement. For instance, District twelve is in charge of mining, another in agriculture, another in military, so on. They are ruled by the Capitol under strict rules and regulations. Their whole life, in some way or the other, is under control of the Capitol.
Each year the capitol hosts "The Hunger Games" where each district has to send in a boy and a girl, between the age of twelve and eighteen as 'tribute'. The twenty four participants are then taken to the Capitol and trained in the art of survival. The game in itself is something like "The Survivor" -- only the eliminations are in way of death! Katniss Everdeen, is a sixteen year old girl from district twelve and our protagonist. When her sister Primrose Everdeen (Prim for short) is selected as a Tribute, she volunteers to be the tribute in order to save her twelve year old sister. The other Tribute is Peeta Mellark, the Bakers son of district twelve.
The story then revolves around the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta. We are shown glimpses of life at the Capitol, the bureaucratic section of Panem and of the other districts through their Tributes. The Games itself is designed to test everyone's survival skills. Only the toughest and the shrewdest can survive. But as the story progresses, the readers realise that the Capitol has ulterior motives behind holding the Games every year. What Motives? You have to read the book for it.
Katniss Everdeen, is our protagonist. But I have to admit it - I don't like her much. She is stubborn and very slow at picking up things. Whether at the games or in her life at district twelve, she wants things to be done her way and often fails to understand that some of the people around her loves her and are doing things for her well being. She is also very much confused about her own feelings and is damn impulsive. Her only redeeming quality is that she truly loves and cares for her family, specially her sister Prim.
Peter Mellark is our hero of the story. Though he is meant to a support system to Katniss, his character emerges as strong and confident. As a reader you will not be able to help but feel his triumphs, disappointments and every other emotion that he feels. He turns out to be the strength of not only Katniss but also the whole story.
Gail Hawthorne is an eighteen year old from district twelve. He is Katniss's friend. Common heartbreak and situation had brought them together. Together they have learned to survive under the Capitol's cruel rule. They have a strong bond between them and with each other's family. Gail doesn't have much role in the first book, but slowly develops from the second part.
The authors style of narrating the story is simply great. It keeps you hooked onto the story and keeps you wondering - whats next!