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Fictions are great. I once abandoned them silently, thinking that they are not as nurturing as non-fiction books like religious, personal growth, and psychology. But I turned out to be wrong, I badly interpreted their impact. I’ve missed a lot of lessons weaved in their storyline. I have a hunch that one fiction can teach you more life lessons than five non-fictions.

I’ve been seeing a bestseller series in bookstore and in Amazon, an adult-fiction written by Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games. A review junkie, I searched for reader’s comments in Amazon and other blogs, and I came out convinced that this series will justify the time in reading them. Besides, the first two movies: The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire were awesome.

A strong believer of the power of novels more than movies, I dived into reading The Hunger Games even though I already know the plot from the movie. Just after few chapters, I smiled for the richer experience.

The Hunger Games

The story centers to Katniss Everdeen, a reserved but strong-willed lady that embodies unbending love for her family, especially to her younger sister Prim. They are living in an area called District 12 set in post-era America, controlled by the tyrannical Capitol ruled by President Snow.

Seventy four years ago, the districts rebelled against the Capitol with the roar of District 13 in front. But the Capitol proves its power by dumping District 13 to dust and waving the uproar to silence by sheer might.

The Capitol, as a way of commemorating their absolute dominion and foolishness done by the districts, instituted a yearly game where each district must offer two tributes, one girl and one boy to fight in a simulated harsh area till death. The one tribute that will remain will be crowned as the Victor. This cold-blooded entertainment for the Capitol’s citizens is called The Hunger Games.

On the 74th Reaping, Prim, the younger sister of Katniss was ‘reaped’. Katniss can’t imagine seeing her die in the Games, so she ran and forgets all her fear, she volunteered. Then the boy tribute was drawn, and it was Peeta Mellark, a boy who has a deep admiration for Katniss. Together, with strong reasons in their heart, they fought for their life and love inside the Games.

I won’t spoil the story because I think, if you’re a reader, you deserve reading it for yourself. The story is fast moving with rooted emotions, swift suspense, true affection and acted love for the sake of surviving inside the cruel reality of the Games. A very nice ending was in the end, both of them, Katniss and Peeta were crowned as Victors.

But President Snow was offended by their act with the berries. Complication began. A second rebellion started to catch fire.

Catching Fire

Going back to District 12, Katniss faced a challenge she knew was formed while she is inside the Games. Gale, his childhood friend and partner in hunting, declared his love for her with a kiss. Snow came to Katniss’ home, warning her not to take the additional wrong moves that will lead to a rebellion.

The Victory tour was held, but fire continued to grow. Some districts saw Katniss as their Mockingjay – the symbol of rebellion against the Capitol. Katniss got more trapped when she learned that she must marry Peeta in order to keep the peace. Confused and broken, she tried to prevent the upcoming roar. But the momentum doesn’t stop. Slowly, it catches more fire.

With that year came the Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games with bloody twist held every 25th year. The evil smiles grew, the twist is a wicked one for this Quell – districts must send two former Victors. Katniss has no choice because she’s the only lady Victor. Haymitch, their mentor who won the Quarter Quell 25 years ago was reaped, but Peeta volunteered, dying to let Katniss live.

More gore, tension and pain swirled in the clock arena. Katniss slowly discovered her genuine feelings for Peeta but their link was broken at the unexpected end of the game. The Gamemaster Plutarch unveiled his secret – he was not really for the Capitol, but for the secretly resurrected District 13. A collaboration was secretly executed by Plutarch, Haymitch, and selected tributes without Katniss’ and Peeta’s knowledge. The arena was destroyed and Katniss was transported to District 13 without Peeta in her arms. He was caught by the Capitol.

Mockingjay

The Capitol’s fury burned, they bombed District 12 to ashes. Only a small minority were saved by Gale into to District 13’s underground base. Katniss woke up to into the nightmarish reality of what happened to her District. Another bad dream hunted her, Peeta was being used by Snow against the other district and against her.

With deep reflection and support from her family and friends, Katniss finally decided to be the face of the rebellion – the Mockingjay. And the story gets more heated and heated in every turn. They got Peeta and other prisoners back, but Peeta was stirred psychologically by the Capitol to be enraged like hell to his beloved Katniss. Katniss never wanted this to happen to the man who promised to live his life to protect her.

The Capitol’s assaulted the District 13 but it was not destroyed. Katniss, together with Gale and other trained soldiers launched the mission against the Capitol. Katniss soul was consumed by the drive to kill Snow with her engineered arrows. Peeta was eventually sent to be with them by President Coin. Katniss knew that Coin was harboring ulterior motives in sending Peeta.

Katniss’ other comrades faced death as they neared to the mansion of Snow. With spurred hatred and the truth that they can’t turn back, they continued with blurred chance. Then Katniss saw the worst of her dream, she saw Prim burned like a human torch as the District 13 attacked the Capitol. How can this happen?

Heartbreaking twist. The hardest truth struck Katniss’ heart. Even the Capitol was subdued and Snow was imprisoned, Katniss can’t accept the reality. Why Prim?

Katniss arrow was voted to be the reaper of Snow’s wicked life. Standing meters away as the Mockingjay, Katniss decided to end this nightmare. She redirected the arrow and ended the wickedness of the new president, who planned to start a new Hunger Games. Coin collapsed to the ground with the Mockingjay’s arrow claiming her life.

Snow’s life was claimed by the hatred of the citizens. And they understood Katniss’ assassination of the new president. She was not sentenced because she have done what a true Mockingjay would do – fight for genuine freedom.

Who received Katniss heart? The boy with the bread and pure heart for her – Peeta. The married each other not as an act but a genuine declaration of love and commitment. They live in the Victor’s Village with Haymitch and committed themselves to face life’s games together. And may the odds be ever in their favor.

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