Fell into the craze a little late in the game. The Hunger Games tells of a North America transformed into twelve districts surrounding The Capitol. This Capitol unleashes its control of the districts by having an annual, televised battle-to-the-death between a boy and a girl from each district.
Katniss is our heroine. She's a very capable hunter who must take care of her younger sister, Prim, and battered mother.
When Prim is selected as the girl contender from their district, Katniss volunteers instead. The rest of the story is how this Hunger Game unfolds.
First and foremost I did not like how this book ended. It's probably because Collins planned for the trilogy but the end of the book is just the end of a chapter. I wanted some kind of resolution.
To be sure, The Hunger Games ends but before the book is over, Collins has us continuing the story.
That's my only beef with this story and it is a very small beef (ala McDonalds). The rest of the plot is engaging.
As told in first person from Katniss's point of view, you go along with her thoughts and are never privy to outside information. This keeps the tension high as you will never know what's going to happen next. You don't even know if Katniss will survive. It's all up in the air.
The characters are not fully fleshed out with this first book. There are a few moments when Katniss and her counterpart, Peeta, do some reminiscing. This helps add some meat to their character bones. I'm assuming we'll delve deeper as the books go along.
The violence is interesting. Having twelve through eighteen year olds tossed into an arena and hunt/murder one another is slightly disturbing and the fact that it has caught fire may say something about our society. But I don't remember graphic descriptions. In fact, I think it was a matter of Collins writing toward our imagination and letting us fill in the detail.
I was also impressed with the lack of swearing. This is a fad that seems to infect ninety-five percent of Young Adult novels. I don't remember any use of profanity. You'd think the kids would be spouting them left and right considering their situation.
In the end (outside of the ending) Collins has started a very rich world. I look forward to what happens next.