Summer's Other Bestselling Book Trilogy

While everyone (myself included) has been succumbing to the hype for the late Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" Trilogy, another set of books has spawned a passionate following.  While readers have been captivated by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, many have also embraced an exciting trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  It began with The Hunger Games, quickly followed by Catching Fire, and now soon to conclude with the eagerly anticipated Mockingjay

The characters Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist of the "Millennium" saga have become critics' darlings, but Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark of The Hunger Games are fast becoming iconic heroes for the quick-growing fanbase. 

The "Millennium" series is a thriller aimed at a more adult audience, while The Hunger Games are targeted toward the Young Adult market, even though readers of the books have expanded beyond simple demographic categories.  Suzanne Collins' story has plenty of action and violence, not to mention tons of political and social metaphors, to break out of the mold of any niche label. 

The science fiction tale is one of many post-apocalyptic allegories that are cluttering up bookstores and online retail Web sites lately, but The Hunger Games brings a refreshing vitality to the genre.  Set in a country called Panem controlled by the malevolent Capitol, poor citizens who live in the oppressed Districts are forced to submit to a lottery system that selects children every year to play for their lives in a deadly competition, broadcast for all the population to see.  The story is admittedly inspired by Greek mythology in which the people of ancient Athens had to send young Athenians as a sacrifice to the Minotaur of Crete, and it is not the first to describe a dystopian future in which people compete in battles to the death for the voyeuristic pleasure of society.  But Suzanne Collins manages to weave a strong plot and great characters in an adventure that, once started, feels very original and is tough to put down.

To continue my "Millennium" comparison, both trilogies will be turned into movie franchises.  Larsson's novels have already been adapted into internationally successful Swedish films, and are now set to be turned into major American motion pictures by Sony Pictures, directed by the excellent David Fincher, and starring former James Bond Daniel Craig and the relatively unknown Rooney Mara.  The Hunger Games will be brought to the big screen by Lionsgate Entertainment.  The buzz has already begun about who should play the lead roles. 

It has been a good summer for readers searching for escapist entertainment, but it's a shame that both series have to end.


Mike said…
I have to admit, I never get sick of post-apocalyptic stories. I think it's a popular topic, especially nowadays, with all of the buzz around 2012 and the End of Days and all of that. Humans have been fascinated for years with their own demise.