I've had hold of the The Hunger Games book trilogy for a while now, but never had the opportunity to read them until recently. 

A dear friend managed to pass me on her copies of the Fifty Shades and while Mr Grey certainly does have demons of his own to contend with, these are psychological rather than metaphysical in nature. I'm afraid the Fifty Shades books did not leave a long-lasting impression on me and a friend actually queried if I had read them right? That poses the question, “How does one read a book correctly?” As long as I'm not reading the book with my eyes shut, that ought to be sufficient surely?

Anyway, I digress, so back to the The Hunger Games DVD which I actually got round to watching this evening and I must admit, I found the film very compelling viewing, although reminiscent perhaps of the classic 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, The Running Man.  No matter, as I loved that particular film too, although it looks somewhat dated compared to modern cinematography. Jennifer Lawrence plays the futuristic heroine, Katniss Everdeen, with aplomb and an air of innocence.  She reminds me somewhat of Susan from The Chronicles Of Narnia - The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe [DVD] [2005] that delightful mixture of having to be the grown up and being afraid of the unknown, but still not frightened to stick up for her values. 

She volunteers to take part in the Hunger Games to spare her younger sibling, Prim, who has been chosen through a random lottery. A boy, Peeta Mellark, the son of the baker, is also selected to take part and during the course of the story we learn that he has feelings for Katniss. Her mentor tells her to play along with any romance as it will make her more appealing to those watching and she will win more sponsors for being likeable.

Katniss doesn't make friends easily, but during the course of the games, she is befriended by a young girl called Rue who helps her out of a very sticky situation. Katniss makes a very touching tribute after her young friend is killed in the film. She surrounds the dead form of Rue with flowers and lays her out in state with a posy of wild flora. After this, she makes a traditional Sector 12 salute to the cameras which sparks an uprising in Sector 11, where Rue comes from. This compassion and respect earns her a reprieve from death by the male participant from Sector 11 who has an opportunity to kill her, but spares her life instead.

One cannot imagine living in such a world, with the brutality of life enforced on a daily basis; constantly knowing that every year your children will have to participate in a lottery which will likely end with them losing their lives. The odds are completely stacked against Katniss in the film too, with the Capitol controlling the environment of the fight arena, making it combust into flames at the touch of a button, or having mutant animals spring from the ground into snarling bloodthirsty beasts.

Although I finished reading the books this morning – I just couldn't put them down, I do have some complaints overall.  The main issue about this particular books in general is the endings.  They finish somewhat abruptly, like the film – failing to discuss the many issues they raise.  I'm still pondering whether that's a good or a bad thing. While this isn't a bad thing in the first two books, this same style of writing continues in the third book with the ending being rather rushed in comparison with the rest of the book.  While there are some differences between the book and the film, these are rather minor and do not detract from the story overall.

The Hunger Games are particularly relevant to the story, as the children's fight to the death is synonymous with the people's struggle to survive in very harsh living conditions.  While the people in Sector 12 have had it pretty easy with overseers and guards - the situation is exceptionally volatile and you can tell that all hell is going to break loose at some point.