Some people have argued that YA as a genre has become too dark and with the recent trends toward the paranormal and the dystopian, it’s easy to see why. However, darkness is an inherent part of human nature and Collins’ novels (often the first cited as too dark or violent) contain compelling and important discussions about the power of manipulation, the importance of questioning authority and the effects of both consumer culture and fanaticism on empathy. In many ways The Hunger Games feels like a response to the world of today; a world divided into the haves and the have-nots, where many seem more concerned about the features of the latest Smartphone than they are about world poverty or environmentalism.
The page-turner tension of Collins’ novels drives the reader through the series, but the take home message is valid; that the most important responsibility of our lives is to make our world a better place than it was when we came into it. There’s a certain timeliness to books that urge the reader to seek justness in government and re-evaluate societal priorities. But, even disregarding the deeper themes of Collins’ novels, you should read The Hunger Games if for no other reason than it is a fantastically engrossing story with characters who feel both compelling and real, whose actions and dangers can make you gasp out loud. Also, did I mention it’s about to be a film? Due to open in New Zealand March 22. Read the book first. You won’t regret it.
And just in case you need more convincing, check out the trailer (the film’s release date in NZ is 22/3/12): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgssLmsOa2s&feature=player_embedded