Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy will be happy to see this unauthorized guide to the series, which offers background, analyses of themes and reflections on various issues.
But many of the series’ younger readers will be disappointed, as this is written for an adult and older teen audience. In connecting Collins’ dystopian world with modern American society, Gresh covers such intellectual fare as the disparities of wealth in both societies, global warming, the failure of the media today to report real news, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the GULAGS and a three-page outline of Roman atrocities worse than those in The Hunger Games. Readers may find themselves burdened by too much information on topics tangential to the novel: knife throwing, spear throwing, folklore about axes, information on how long it takes to starve, types of bombs, effects of electric shocks on the body, types of plagues and a survey of types of torture and execution. There’s even an odd thread of “Doomsday Predictions” throughout the volume. Readers who persist will find some interesting and useful material here, such as the roots of the series in the Greek tales of Theseus and the Minotaur, an appendix on various apocalyptic scenarios in dystopian literature and a recommended list of further readings.Worthwhile exegesis for fans with a scholarly bent. (Nonfiction. 13 & up)