The last two books I read in 2012 were from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games was really good, and Chasing Fire was even better. I am almost done with the final book, Mockingjay, but I didn’t get it in before midnight. I put off reading these when they first came out because I had no idea what they were about. I continued not reading them when news of a movie came out because the hype of it drove me away. I finally sat down and read them in the weeks leading up to this Christmas vacation, and I am so glad I did. The writing is really quite excellent, and the deceptively simple descriptions and situations give way to complex sentiments and character growth. By the third book, you feel like you have flown way out of Young Adult fiction and are reading a full-fledged war or spy novel.
In the first novel, we meet our protagonist and narrator, Katniss Everdeen. She lives in the poorest, smallest district of a large country called Panem. It is a hard place to a live. Set in the distant future, the districts of the country toil while the Capitol indulges in delicious food, deliriously colorful fashions, and blood sport. They love to watch the annual Hunger Games, in which boys and girls from the districts must go to a huge arena and fight to the death. Katniss finds herself confronted with the cruel task of competing in these games against not just other district children, but against a kind boy from her own town, Peeta Mellark.
In the second novel, their world begins to change. Murmurs of rebellion run through the districts and cracks in the foundation of Panem threaten to start an all-out war. Unwittingly, miserably, in the middle of the revolution is Katniss. Is she a pariah, a hero, or just a pawn in another kind of game?
I would recommend these to anyone, any age. They are fun, engrossing books that marvelously build a world and then painstakingly try to tear it down.