Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins

I read a review of this somewhere online, and it made me think of a few friends who I know are into young adult fantasy-type stuff. Coincidentally, the people I was thinking of all happen to be women, with whom I've discussed the particular appeal of YA fantasy with just the right amount of romantic tension — approaching, one could even say flirting with, but not quite entering the romance genre.

I'd also heard rumblings that this would be a "big" book, and sure enough I had to wait my turn to get it from the library. (Sadly, I must admit that when I first got it I was having some trouble managing my library materials and wound up returning it late, without even having read it, and putting it on hold again.) When at last I read this book, I found it to be a gripping, rip-roaring read completely deserving of the praise and good reviews. I also discovered a romantic edge to it that I hadn't expected but totally appreciated.

It's not overly girly. In fact, the protagonist is rather tomboy-ish, and the story involves hunting and wilderness skills, hand-to-hand combat and outright killing (people, no less). But I still would hesitate to recommend it to a teenage boy, unless he's a total fantasy nut, unostentatiously secure in his masculinity, and/or a little bit (or a lotta bit) gay. At the same time, I wouldn't recommend it to any ol' girl either, for sure not those with overly delicate sensibilities.

I should know enough to expect this by now, but I must unhappily report what I found at the conclusion: End Book One. When's the next book out? Who knows... nothing obvious on the author's official site or the publisher's site. Being a crafty liberrian, however, I found out from Books in Print that it's scheduled for publication in September 2009. The only consolation for having to wait that long is that the romance element is poised to ratchet up a bit in the next book.

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