Stephen King, a vocal critic of Stephenie Meyer, has actually found common ground with the woman who didn’t write a series of vampire books (C’mon, those were not vampires. Vampires can’t go out in the sun. They have fangs. They can’t get near garlic… I digress) The two mega-author-gazillionaires agree that Catching Fire (the Hunger Games sequel) by Suzanne Collins is an excellent book. I was actually at BEA where Collins was doing a signing and giving out free Advanced Reader Copies (ARC), but I couldn’t make it to the signing. I could have thrown my blogger weight around with the publisher, but they would have laughed at me. They may have even held me down and given me a red belly. Who needs that? I’m sure I can find a copy somewhere. I smart. I can do things…Anyway, the book trailer has been released, and it is cool!
This is an exciting Friday for me because I get to recommend a good book to you. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a rare gem in the young adult market because it can be appreciated by any fan of science fiction/fantasy, no matter the age of the reader. It is the story of a young girl who is thrust into a vicious, televised game of survival that pits her against a cast of other kids from around the country that once was the United States. The only way to win this game is to outlive the other contestants by any means necessary. The premise is a fresh take on the Richard Bachman book, The Running Man. Or if you prefer, think ancient Rome’s gladiators set in a horrific reality show every Roman is forced to watch. Suzanne Collins deserves the success Stephanie Meyer is experiencing with Twilight. Meyer’s series is good, but it leaves the young male reader out of the equation. It’s a romance novel that has cute vampires. Collins’ Hunger Games is told with a lot of grit and blood and guts. There’s a romance element to it, but not enough to turn us boys off. Beyond creating some really intriguing action scenes, Collins is a master in creating compelling characters you care about. I found myself with a lump in my throat a couple of times, and trying to man up while I held back a tear or two. Bravo Suzanne Collins. Hunger Games gets five out of five stars from me.
On a personal note, this book came at an interesting time for me. I’m writing a book from the point-of-view of a 15-year-old girl, and this story helped me get over something I was struggling with. I spent a lot of time trying to make my character sound like a teenage girl which was a mistake. This book taught me that it was more important to find the characters unique voice and stop force feeding stereotypes on her. Thank you Suzanne Collins. Once again, if you want to be a good writer, read a good book.
UPDATE: Just got word that Book 2 of the Hunger Games series is done and set for release on September 8, 2009. The title is Catching Fire. Here’s a link to a Publisher’s Weekly (has image of new cover)