Yesterday we held a contest to give away twelve copies of Suzanne Collins' new book Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. And now you can see the award-winning contest entries, below.
Note to winners: Please send me your name and address via a private message to my io9 account so I can send you prizes!
We asked each contestant to describe in four sentences or less why they love the Hunger Games series. Here are our winners, and what they wrote.
Two mega-winners (each will get a copy of the book and an iPod touch engraved with the Mockingjay icon)
The Hunger Games embodies the turmoil in a teenager's life, from "friends" trying to (figuratively) kill you, to parents and other authoritative figures imposing seemingly unfair restrictions and rules upon you. Often times, like in The Hunger Games, the parents and figures will force you to fight against your friends to get ahead too, whether that's getting the best grades, writing four sentences to get a copy of a book, or knowing how to beat someone up. ^^
Anyways, as I am approaching my 18th birthday, it'd be great to have the completion of a metaphor to remember my teenage years by. :D
That was three sentences (just like it's the third book!). ^^
I love the Hunger Games series for the opportunity it has given my girlfriend to both escape from and grieve for the recent death of her cousin, with whom she had been reading and discussing the books.
Before reading them myself, they kept each other entertained by boring me with the 'will they, won't they' drama of Katniss and Peeta, to which I retaliated by referring to the characters as Catpiss and Pita Chip, annoying them to no end.
When she died my girlfriend continued to read through both books, and I have been burning through them to catch up to Mockingjay, hoping that I can not replace Jennifer, but at least give her someone to read with if she chooses.
And as it turns out, they really are great books, deserving of praise for achieving a well-realized world and strong, non-archetypal characters that aren't afraid to get a little violent for us guy readers.
Ten winners (each will get a free copy of the book delivered to them!)
I love The Hunger Games series because it's exactly the kind of YA novel I would have loved as a kid, and I'd give it to my own (eventual) daughter to read, too.
YA books about strong female characters aren't super common, and Katniss herself is resourceful, powerful and uncompromising. And, I imagine, like many of the teen girls reading the books, she doesn't always know her true strengths and values, but she's learning them, while remaining true to herself.
I also like that the books don't flinch from portraying violence, and it's a reasonable dystopian extraction of our contemporary obsession with reality TV and "gorno" films, not to mention the gluttonous, Rome-is-burning lifestyles of the people who live in the main city district, ignorant of the suffering of those in the outer districts.
I read the first book at the nagging of a friend, and I was amazed at how it completely devoured my attention, to the point that I was a few chapters from the end when I had to go pick my wife up from work, and I was literally reading at stop lights. It may be young adult fiction, but it is everything a book should be. It is tragic, inspiring, entertaining, and absolutely heartbreaking in all the best ways. At the very same moment, I'm so excited to read the last book, and dreading it because I know it's going to bring an end to what is one of the greatest trilogies I've ever read.
There has been a trend in young adult fiction to offer the readers simple empowerment fantasy in which the erstwhile protagonist is swept up in events beyond their control and suffers supposed misfortunes before being saved by deus ex machina.
While adhering to the rudimentary framework of such fiction, Susanne Collins cleverly subverts it; Katniss makes a moral choice to spare her sister and the events of the book derive from that choice, she prevails because of her own cleverness and independence rather than through the machinations of some cosmic puppeteer.
In brief, the reason I enjoyed The Hunger Games is that (unlike other protagonists in recent young adult fiction) Katniss is an agent of her own fortunes.
The story does not happen to her, rather she is an active participant in events.
Hunger Games and Catching Fire were my "pleasant surprise" novels of 2009. The parallels to both post-modern, fame-obsessive America and decadent, pre-collapse Rome are unmistakable. But everything among the Districts is all window-dressing for the main set-piece in each previous novel. The time spent in the Arena is fresh yet familiar, a taut & tense gladiatorial spectacle, … and unimaginably heart-breaking; the reader ultimately embodies the adoring, horrified observers watching the Games in real time.
Katniss is much like Scarlett O'hara: survival-smart and feelings-dumb. They both live in apocalyptic worlds, resort to ruthless tricks, are breadwinners for their natal families, and become rockin' fashion plates. And knowing how Scarlett's love triangle was resolved has had me chewing my nails over Katniss' fate... dammit!
Because she has doubts, I believe in Katniss. Because she is not always right, I love her.
I love the Hunger Games because I've been bonding with my niece reading it with her. My niece is a rules person, who is always afraid she's going to do something wrong. We've been talking about how sometimes rules are arbitrary and authority doesn't necessarily do the right thing all the time. We've also been talking about how sometimes you have to have courage to stand up for what is right.
The Hunger games trilogy is more than just a couple of books, its a revolution manual. Each book brings you one step closer to figuring out how to start (and finish) your own public revolution. This last book is the final key in unlocking this precious knowledge and once I possess it, you will see me on your television screen announcing North America's first official hunger games. Let the games begin!
Okay, I'm at least a decade older than the Hunger Games' target demographic. But it's easy to get drawn into these books, especially when you're a feminist depressed by Twilightmania. Take note, dimwit teenyboppers of America — it's possible for a series' female protaganist to be torn by a love triangle, but still kick some serious ass on the side! No need to be a Bella and wait around for a boy to save you when the going gets tough.
In the stillness of the darkest nights
I imagine myself nestled in the branches of the tallest tree.
Holding my breath for my life,
I hope. And I wonder,
can there ever be a happy ending
for Gale & Katniss in this wild world?
Thanks to our expert contest judges, Steve Climaco and Scott Newton!