Imagine a world where the continent we call North America has been divided up into thirteen districts. Thanks to a failed revolution, one of the thirteen have been destroyed. The remaining twelve must send two "tributes" to The Hunger Games, a demented reality show with tremendous stakes. Only one tribute can win. The winner receives special dispensations for his or her District for the year, including food, prestige, and bragging rights. The losers are all dead.
That's the world of Katniss Everdeen, a young woman from District Twelve. She's a poacher from a poor and derided District; they haven't produced a Hunger Games winner in thirty years. When the Hunger Games roll around when she's sixteen, she winds up the female tribute for District Twelve. Now she's thrust into more than just a deadly reality show competition. She has to navigate both the tricky waters of politics within the cruel nation of Panem and the even more dangerous seas of her own heart.
Okay, that last sentence was a bit over the top, but holy cow! I loved this book. Collins creates a vibrant and engaging world, one that I can sadly believe could come to pass. I mean, look at how ridiculous some reality TV shows have already gotten. It's not long before we'll see people duking it out to the death.
Katniss is a fascinating heroine. She's wily, resourceful, and more than just a little charismatic. In some ways, the plot is a little predictable; I was able to call most of the major twists as they came. But I didn't care because I was so invested in seeing Katniss succeed. There were a few times when I wanted to smack her for being dim, but I figure that was the point at times.
Anyway, great book, and I can't wait to read the next one.