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Amadan na Briona

Currently reading

Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
The Hunger Games - Suzanne  Collins I'm factoring in the fact that this is a YA book in giving it such a high rating. There are some plot holes and twists telegraphed in an unsubtle fashion that I'd consider amateurish in adult sci-fi, but for a book aimed at teenagers, I can forgive them. (Hell, I like Harry Potter...)

That said, you should know that this is a book in which children are forced to fight each other to the death, and while because it's a YA novel, the violence isn't described in graphic detail, it's still quite grim.

Others have noted that the premise is not original: Battle Royale and The Running Man have covered similar ground, though aimed at older audiences.

I liked it: although a few parts of the story and the society stretched my credulity, the author carried off a rare combination of dark satire and gritty realism, and the characterization was quite good. The heroine is a bit dense at times, but she's a teenager, so that's not wholly unbelievable. Other than that, she was an engaging, sympathetic, and believable character. I found most of the characters to be quite well developed (although a few were, deliberately, almost caricatures).

There aren't a lot of surprises in this book, but even when the expected happened, my stomach was in knots waiting for it. The author gives us a rather ambiguous ending demanding further resolution: both for the main character's personal relationships, and the horrible, dystopian nature of the society in which she lives.

I almost gave it five stars because I know I am going to start on the sequel right away to find out what happens next, and because at the end of the story, I really cared about Katniss Everdeen and her loved ones. However, I still believe there are certain weaknesses in the novel that, YA notwithstanding, merited knocking off one star.