I started this book yesterday evening, forced myself to go to bed at the end of the first part (although I wasn't sleepy), allowed myself to pick it up again this afternoon and have just finished it 11pm. The last book I read in a day was And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Much the same as that book, I was compelled to read, because I had to know what happened.
It goes without saying that of course our heroes survive - they have to, given this is a trilogy. But what kept me reading and why couldn't I give it 5 stars?
The idea has been done before (in movies), a fight to the death, but here the twist is that it's children (between 12 and 18), that have been picked at random, one boy and girl from all 12 districts that make up what used to be America, whisked away and thrown into an Arena in the Capitol until only one remains.
Following floods, fires and a terrible war which culminated in the Capitol wiping out District 13, All the districts exist to supply the Capitol with everything it needs, coal, food everything and some of the districts are struggling to survive. Each year the Reaping takes place, the Capitol's way of reminding the districts how subservient they are, when they pick the tributes for The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen is 16 and hopes that neither she or her sister (Prim, 12) is picked. But when Prim's name is called Katniss volunteers to take her place. Peeta Mallark, the bakers son, is chosen as the male tribute.
This book moved me several times - from the crowds reaction to Katniss's selfless act to volunteer in her sisters place, to the death of a girl that reminds her of Prim so much (Rue was a lovely character).
I was horrified by the final fight (the muttations were an incredibly clever idea).
Katniss and Peeta (who seems to spend a large part of the games fighting for his life), anyone can see how much Peeta loves Katniss - except for Katniss. She seems to think it's just an act put on to keep they alive, to get them sponsors who'll send them gifts to keep them going.
And that's what stopped me from giving this 5 stars.
Katniss doesn't know who she loves, she doesn't want to love anyone, does't want to get married or have children because she doesn't want to risk a child in the Hunger Games. And she doesn't understand how Peeta feels about her
That being said - I can't wait to get the next book, because I'm crossing my fingers that she'll come to her senses and admit she loves Peeta as much as he loves her.