Think “Harry Potter.” Or “Twilight.” But instead of wizards, witches and vampires, think impoverished families fighting to survive. Instead of current times, think future. While you’re at it, think “1984.”
The Hunger Games, the first in a three-book series by Suzanne Collins, is set to hit theaters Friday and has some University of South Dakota students excited for the premiere.
Sophomore Sara Mayer purchased advanced tickets and is attending the Midnight premier of the movie in Vermillion. She loved the first book and said the storyline is unique.
“I really liked the plot because it’s so different from other books that I’ve read,” Mayer said.
The Hunger Games takes place in a futuristic America in which poverty reigns and the 12 Districts are under the oppression of a totalitarian government. Children ages 12-18 are forced to participate in an annual event that puts 24 children together in a gladiator-like fight to the death.
The series follows 16-year-olds Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the two tributes chosen from their district and their plight with their oppressive government.
Sophomore Steffani Donahoe said she was initially nervous to read the series due to the “Young Adult” label, and though she felt the hype didn’t quite live up to expectations, the books are worth it.
“I’ll give it to the author that I legitimately could not put the book down,” Donahoe said. “I sat down in six hours (and read it) because I wouldn’t stop reading it.”
The movie is projected to see premiere numbers to the tune of “Twilight,” Harry Potter and even Batman and Spiderman, but when it comes to comparing series, the differences shine through.
Donahoe said in comparing the Hunger Games to a series like “Twilight,” there is no contest.
“The central heroine character is actually stronger and focused on things that are actually important in life instead of silly things like making sure the guy who stalks you loves you,” she said.
Freshman Lindsey Fiegen said Katniss’ character was her favorite aspect of the books.
“Katniss was such a strong character — a selfless and strong woman,” she said. “It wasn’t just about her needing a guy, it was about her surviving.”
Donahoe also said theme-wise, the books outrank others of its type.
“It emphasizes personal strength and no matter where you come from, you can succeed. It emphasizes hard work.”
Unlike “Twilight,” and perhaps more like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games have been garnering attention for attracting both male and female audiences as well as a wide range of ages.
Junior Shelby Olinger said at first she avoided the books because she “thought it was going to be the whole “Twilight” thing all over again.”
“I read it and I read it in a day because it was so good,” she said.
Olinger, who is attending the movie Friday, said she would recommend the books.
“One of my aunts asked me if I thought she should read it and I said, ‘Yeah,’ and she read all three books in three days,” Olinger said.
Reach reporter Josie Clarey at Josie.Clarey@usd.edu.