Why The Hunger Games is nothing like Twilight

09/01/2012 14:43 GMT | Updated 09/03/2012 10:12 GMT

You have probably seen the trailer for The Hunger Games, which premieres in theatres on 23 March, 2012. You may know that it is the adaptation of the first novel in a Young Adult trilogy by American author Suzanne Collins. But one thing you may not know - and really need to - is that this will be nothing like Twilight.

On the surface the resemblance is obvious: a widely popular YA series of novels which sees its teenage heroine in a life-and-death scenario, caught in a love triangle with two of the most eligible bachelors around (because while she thinks nothing of her own looks, of course the world around her simply fall to their knees in wonder). But that's about it, really.

The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future wherein what used to be the United States have been divided into 12 districts that are terrorised by the wealthy Capitol. In District 12, our main character Katniss Everdeen serves as the sole provider for her mother and little sister, but soon finds herself entered into the brutal Hunger Games, an annual 'reality TV' event in which two children are chosen from each District to fight to the death for the Capitol's entertainment and continued suppression of the districts.

Katniss is a physically and emotionally powerful young woman. In the novel, Collins beautifully depicts the characters' dramatic struggle as they experience unspeakable horrors and are put through mental and physical torment both before and during the Games. The similarities to Twilight start and end with the physical appearance of the three lead characters; however you felt about the vampire smash hit, The Hunger Games is just a completely different animal intended to make you think in a much larger way. Maybe surprisingly, romance plays a very small factor in this series, too.

The Hunger Games's approach to its central love triangle is refreshingly offhand and secondary. True, Katniss finds herself torn between best friend Gale and fellow contestant Peeta, but Katniss is not nor will she ever be Bella Swan. Her life does not revolve around romantic love, nor does she treat it as much more than another inconvenience in her already messed up life. Katniss' real true love is her sister; her bonds with Peeta and Gale are significant, yes, but no more than her bonds with mentors Haymitch and Cinna and District Eight contestant Rue are.

The more obvious popular culture comparison to draw would actually be to the Japanese book/movie Battle Royale. But THG is less about the horror and gore and more about the emotions of one particular contestant, and the political games which Katniss finds herself tangled up in along the way.

From the look of the trailer that was released a few months ago, it looks like the Hunger Games movie is going to be phenomenal, and I can only recommend that you experience the book before watching the film.

This is no guilty pleasure story to giggle about with your girlfriends. This is a gripping, engaging page turner that will not leave you disappointed.