I will admit I had my doubts before getting in to this. Fans, writing about a modern, young adult series of books/movies. How good could this possibly be? But in truth, these were intelligent, introspective reflections on a work that has some significant depth to it. Or at least … I see that now.
The subtitle refers to this as a guide to Panem (the land of the story) — an unofficial guide — but I would dispute this. This isn’t a guide, but reflections, sideways glances into the world that Suzanne Collins created.
The book starts with an essay called “Mapping Panem”which takes a pretty creative look at the world of Panem and how it can be created from our current United States. Author V. Arrow makes a pretty convincing argument for her reasoning and right off the bat I became hooked on what this book would offer.
The book ends with “A Note on District Names” which was quite fascinating. It’s fairly obvious, reading the books or watching the films, that the names of the characters and places have literary significance but I wasn’t always sure where the names came from or what the significance was. Here, author Arrow shines the most with her look at the history of these names.
Not all essays proved valuable to me. “The Games as Exploitation, Exploitation as Entertainment” seemed to state the overtly obvious, to me, though perhaps younger readers may learn something from this.
I definitely learned some things from this book, and I think that if younger readers, particularly those who might not otherwise read a book of essays, would pick this up based on the subject matter, then this is well worth it. I definitely recommend this book.
Looking for a good book? The Panem Companion is a collection of essays that explores a variety of aspects of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” series, and will likely enhance the reader’s understanding of the series.
I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Panem Companion: An Unofficial Guide to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games From Mellark Bakery to Mockingjays
author: V. Arrow
publisher: Smart Pop/BenBella
paperback, 224 pages