The Hunger Games

I’ve found it hard to put down. She knows how to keep a story interesting, and the thing is based on a compelling premise: the moral dilemma of subjugated people forced to entertain their oppressive and decadent captors. In this case, it is a sort of reality TV gladiatorial bloodbath: winner takes all and the rest are buried (and winner also gets to wake up to the consequences of surviving, but that’s part of the interest of book two I’ll leave for you). Randomly selected kids from the subjected people must each year battle it out among themselves–and the thing is televised to the insensitive crowds in the capital (polarized at cruelty or sentimentality and mostly incapable of anything in between) and to the more human people in the districts whose friends, neighbors and, for a choice few, relatives are in the arena.

What if you’re in the arena? How do you proceed? How do you survive? And how do you resist as part of the entertainment knowing they can take it out on your family if you don’t co-operate? You dream about putting an arrow through the heart of the evil president Snow is what. When things are that strained, does the moral order crack or is there a way out?

I’ve only done two. I’m waiting with mingled eagerness and apprehension the third.

Note: not a lot of authors are figuring a way out of their stories that satisfies justice like the story of Joseph does, or the Lord of the Rings, these days. If you can do that, if you can get a premise that warped to stand notwithstanding the hideous strain and then find a clean way through it, you will probably make the bestseller list.

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