The Hunger Games, written by Suzanne Collins in 2008, is set in an unspecified time in the future in a nation known as Panem after a great catastrophe destroyed civilization. As of November 2012, The Hunger Games is one of best selling Kindle books of all time and was released as a movie adaption in the same year. The story follows the life of Katniss Everdeen, a young girl from District 12, one of the 12 districts surrounding Panem’s Capitol. Strong-willed and self-reliant, she uses the hunting skills taught to her by her late father to provide for her mother and little sister.
The titular Hunger Games is an annual contest held by the Capitol as a display of their power and control wherein each District is made to select two residents as tributes to engage in a battle to the death for the entertainment of the Capitol’s citizens, with the victor and his District reaping great rewards.
When District 12’s residents were called upon to select their tributes for the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss is shocked when she hears her sister’s name called and thus volunteers instead to take her place. She must then work with Peeta Mellark, the baker’s son and second tribute, and Haymitch Abernathy, fellow District 12 resident, and winner of the 50th Hunger Games, to figure out how to survive.
The books were met with general critical acclaim by critics citing brilliant plotting, excellent world-building, and a strong female lead. Time Magazine said that it “is a chilling, bloody and thoroughly horrifying book” Writer Stephen King likened it to arcade shooters that you can’t help inserting quarters but found parts of the writing lazy and typical of young adult fiction. Author of the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyer, praised the book on her website, saying “I was so obsessed with this book.”
One widespread criticism of the book was that it shared many similarities to the Japanese novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Suzanne Collins denied knowledge of the book’s existence when she was writing The Hunger Games.