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The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set (The Hunger Games) Hardcover – 1994
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This book dwells in the dark and foreboding aspects of the competitions and wars between the districts. Katniss is drugged, injured and depressed for most of the book. She is forced to think about and perhaps choose between the two men in her life - Gale, her childhood friend, who taught her to hunt and has been so supportive; and Peeta, who she partnered with during the first games she participated in. Their every move was recorded, watched and orchestrated by the administrators of the Games.
All of the odd, yet familiar characters from the previous 2 books appear here, but their characters are not really expanded upon. A feeling of dread builds throughout the book, and the climax is more devastating than I could have imagined. I couldn't stop reading, always hoping that the next chapter would reveal an upturn in the prospects for Katniss, Peeta and Gale. The ending was not what I expected, and it almost seems as if the author has set us up for a sequel. We shall see....
For example, I'm constantly thinking to myself: "There's absolutely no way they'd need to have a lottery to force someone to participate. They would always have volunteers, and if there was a lottery it would be to decide which volunteer actually got the option to become the 'tribute'. There are simply too many adolescents who are suicidal, or want some sort of fame and don't really grasp that they're over 95% likely to die, or maybe just want to die or would be willing to just to be famous for a while."
Maybe I'm just hyperanalytical, or I just spend a lot more time than most people do studying how people behave in real world extreme situations, but while I think the author does understand certain aspects of human psychology very well as it applies to warfare, I still can't help but be bothered by too many behavioral assumptions that just don't seem to match up with real-world study and experiences.