Haven’t heard of Hunger Games? Go to the nearest bookstore, then, to get your own Torture Channel, desensitization at its finest! When you’ve had your fill, remember the four notes of birdsong to find your way back home.
Testing, testing.… Good day, good viewers. We are now at the home of Art Seblis, a reader of no uncommon hunger for all things dark and creepy. Having heard that Art was in the middle of an unusually horrifying read, the Read (pronounced as ‘red’) Patrol decided to sneak up on the book blogger to give you a first-hand account of what may be the ‘read of the year, if not the decade.’
The Read Patrol reporter startles a very disheveled Art Seblis, who can be seen clutching a hard bound book; on the cover is an image of a fierce looking bird and an arrow.
RP: So Art, it’s The Hunger Games now, is it? Can you tell us about it? What made you read it? I hear it’s very YA, which is a little off the kinds of books you usually read.
AS: I was reluctant, initially—largely due to the story itself. But friends highly recommended it. So I gave it a try. Now, I can’t think of a universe in which I had never read it. Having read something with such powerful characters and message, one can’t help but be changed, despite my preferences for other genres.
RP: Wow, what a tribute. What is it about, anyway?
AS: It follows the story of Katniss, a 16-year old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of a dystopian world. Every year, 12 districts send a couple of their children ages 12 to 18 (chosen by lottery) to participate in the Hunger Games, a contest where they are placed in unfamiliar terrain and are expected to murder each other. Last child standing wins fame, riches, and the Capitol’s all-out- favor… The other to be chosen from Kat’s district is Peeta, a baker’s son.
RP: Oh my goodness, that’s horrible!
AS: It’s something like Battle Royale, but bloodier and more horrific, because society actively takes part in this ultimate cruelty to their children in the name of entertainment. I hesitate to use the term “innocents” to refer to the participants: in a game where the rule is “to kill or be killed,” they had to learn to suppress finer emotions, such as love and compassion, the attributes of a good human being, for a better chance of surviving the Game. Torture, mutilation, decapitation, bombing, poisoning, skinning, and a host of other kill methods are acceptable and encouraged. In that sense, they aren’t children anymore.
RP:*gasp* How can you enjoy a book like that?
AS: Ah, well, don’t you rage against the machine sometimes? This book is full of that particular angst, with just cause. But as much as it is full of brutality and other disturbing themes, it is also characterized by brilliant bouts of heroism, self sacrifice, and friendship. That Kat and Peeta (and a few other characters) managed all these was most impressive, given that they had been taught to trust no one in order to win. It was Kat’s 12-year old sister whose name was drawn in the lottery, but Kat refused to let her go, stepping up to go in her place. Between Kat and Peeta there developed a partnership, even affection. In the arena itself, amid the ugliest in humanity survived a flame of humanity, fragile but strong enough to flip the finger at the government’s grand plan to keep hope dead.
RP: *perking up* Hope, that’s a promising word.
AS: Yep, hope is such a crucial element in this story, without which the story degenerates into a royal rumble. Hunger, fear of it, motivates all of them; all of us, actually. It can either break you or remake you. I know something about this, but that’s another story altogether. Anyway, I’m glad to report that hunger did not break Kat nor diminish her; instead it made her stronger and wiser, making this book such an interesting read.
RP: Our viewers are certainly going to check this book out based on your intriguing comments. Is it safe to assume that this book is highly recommended by you?
AS: God, yes. I was in a state in a shock upon finishing it! Others I know who read it said they were also strongly affected. The writing is extremely good, brilliant but sharply disciplined. The plotting was tight, the pace kept me at the edge of my seat. All the scenes were fraught with danger, even makeup and styling (in the preparatory stage of the game, where the players are presented so the public could place bets on them) as every detail is integral to improving Kat and Peeta’s chances at surviving the Games. It’s got romance, fiendish intrigue, and insights into the human character. And the characters are so dynamic! Rarely do I become so invested in characters that, even hating what was happening to them and what they had to do, I stuck with them till the end and will definitely follow up through the sequel, Catching Fire.
… Another thing, the world of the Hunger Games may be make-believe, but I believe it mirrors our own. Who’s the next bachelorette whose heart will be broken? The tribe member who will be voted out of Survivor? The housemate whose dirty laundry will be aired next with Big Brother’s blessing? It really is not such a big step from here to the world of the Hunger Games.
RP: How ominous. But, we’re running out of time. Do you wish to add anything more?
AS: Yes. If you had to make a choice between two evils, what will you choose? Will you choose? Kat and the others faced this dilemma again and again. I wonder how we will fare given similar circumstances.
RP: That wraps it up! So, dear viewers, there you have it, the words straight from the mouth of Art Seblis about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Honestly, it sounds like an all-you-can-watch-violence reality TV show. Who would get a thrill from seeing people get tortured?
Moving on, our next segment is very funny. Enjoy this clip.