In the future, there is no United States. There is the country of Panem. Panem is divided into twelve districts, each one specializing in one skill, such as mining or electronics. The ruler district, the Capitol, is in command of the other twelve districts. One would think that the Capitol would be a fair ruler and all the districts would enjoy the pleasantries of a futuristic world. In The Hunger Games series (containing three books, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay), that’s not at all how it is.
The Capitol is the cruel, tyrannical ruler of all the other districts, so the other districts have to do the grunt work while the Capitol leads a carefree life. To show who is in control, the Capitol organizes the annual Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in an arena that is a hostile environment. Before the games, a process called The Reaping picks two children, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district other than the Capitol, who will compete in the games.
Suzanne Collins, the author, describes how the futuristic country works and how the protagonist, Katniss, a 16-year-old, is thrust into the games. Through the three books, Katniss competes twice. Katniss is picked when she volunteers to go in place of her sister, who was picked in The Reaping originally. Katniss goes the second time in a special kind of Hunger Games called the Quarter Quell. The Quarter Quell is the games consisting of all the winning contestants of the games held during the last 25 years.
There are many other characters, each of whom Katniss has a specific liking or disliking for. The plot is complex with each book in the series bringing in a new perspective of the situation Katniss is faced with. Collins manages to write it in a way that can bend your emotions without bias. She doesn’t glamorize one person and show a dislike for another. Writing this way keeps you guessing until the last second about any situation.
What I liked best was that even though the way she writes is unpredictable, the plot conveys the message in a clear way. Panem is a completely different place than America. The way Panem works is pretty much your regular dictatorship. One district wants all the power and oppresses all the other districts. This isn’t the futuristic society we all hope to have. The situation in Panem is just like the Arab governments that are being overthrown.