I may be one of the last people to read this trilogy, and I have to say I'm glad I waited. Not because I didn't enjoy them, I very much did, but because I didn't have to wait for any of the books to be released. I started each book immediately upon completing the last and so they read as one. I would have been driven mad waiting to find out what happened between books one and two and between books two and three. I read the trilogy as a whole, and so my review is of the series as a whole. It also means I will be leaving out more than the briefest of summaries so as to avoid any spoilers for any of those people who haven't yet been convinced to run out and read these books.
Katniss Everdeen lives in a bleak future, one in which the world as we know it is gone, and has been replaced by a bleak dystopian society. She lives in Panem, a nation situated in what was once North America, made up of 12 unique districts, and controlled by the Capitol. The population is controlled by gruesome means, in the form of The Hunger Games, to which each district must send two tributes, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18, who will then battle to the death in a televised competition, in exchange for privelages in the form of food and money to be given to their district. When, against all odds, her 12 year old sister is selected to represent District 12, Katniss volunteers to go in her place, setting of a chain reaction with consequences no one foresaw.
Dystopian literature is nothing new, and it is clear that Suzanne Collins is heavily influenced by some of the giants in this genre. Yet her story captured the imagination of not only her target audience, young adults, but people everywhere. What she has accomplished was to give those people who felt a void upon the completion of Harry Potter something else to read. Another intelligent story with brave, unique, and intelligent characters and a richly drawn setting and a plot that grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go until the end. I may be one of the last people to read these books, but to those few who still haven't, believe me when I say, you're missing out.