I feel like all I've been posting on here lately have been book and movie reviews, but that's because that's most of what I've been doing with my time this summer. I promise I'll post about something other than books. Eventually.
I don't usually read books simply because everyone else is reading them. I usually have to have another reason to read them, either that they interest me or they've been highly recommended. Part of my resistance to popular books is because there are many of them that end up as series of books. And I am not the type to read only one book of a series.
So I resisted reading the Harry Potter series, but ended up reading the first one and then the rest of them when a friend dared me to read the first one and not like it. I read it and liked the concept, though I thought the writing could have been much better. My husband will tell you that one of my biggest complaints with the Harry Potter books is that the first few all started the same way - with Harry and friends going back to Hogwarts and waiting around until the action started, usually around or just after Halloween. That's not to say that I haven't been swayed by the series. I have read all of the books and seen all of the movies. I'm actually going to see my first and only midnight showing of a Harry Potter movie for the last one.
I resisted reading the Twilight books until some friends convinced me to go see the movie with them and I usually try to read the book before seeing the movie. I read it and liked it enough to read the rest of the books. The main thing that kept me reading the Twilight books was the love triangle. I think they're basically like romance novels for young adults - there's not a lot of substance to them other than the relationship between the characters. The writing is definitely not very good (she uses the same descriptions over and over again) and neither are the characters. Bella basically spends all of the books waiting around for either Edward or Jacob to save her and doesn't seem to have much going for her on her own.
Which brings me to The Hunger Games books. I had several friends that highly recommended them. I didn't know much about them and I didn't really resist reading them because I had heard such good things about them. I read the first book and was hooked. I could not put it down. I thought the concept was really interesting. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic society that is made up of a capital and twelve surrounding districts. To keep the districts under their control and to remind the citizens of what happens when they fight each other, the capital created the hunger games. Each year, a boy and a girl are chosen from each district, placed in an arena, and forced to fight to the death until only one remains. I thought that the idea of the hunger games alone was enough to keep most people reading, especially in a time where the majority of our entertainment involves either competition or violence.
The main character, Katniss Everdeen, is really well written. She's witty, sarcastic, and completely believable. She has definite faults, but there's something about her (probably her fierce love for her family and her sense of justice) that kept me liking her. The other characters were just as intriguing as Katniss. I got the sense that I could have heard parts of the story told from any of the character's point of views and found it just as intriguing.
The overall plot was interesting. There were several plot twists and I didn't see most of them coming. There were even a few that had me completely in awe about what was going on. The one complaint I had with the series was the way the plot tended to jump around and left me having to figure out what was going on, though this mostly happened when one of the characters had been injured and had spent some time in the hospital or unconscious I thought it was done too many times.
I would definitely recommend these books. They were interesting and definitely brought up some good themes such as government control, violence for violence's sake, and maintaining a sense of justice during war.