The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
So I was really reluctant to read these bad boys. I'm still not sure why I held off, but let me tell you that I'm a little glad I did - the first book will be fresh in my mind when it hits the theater. Because I will be seeing it in the theater. (I hope.)
I finished The Hunger Games in a day.
I finished Catching Fire in a day.
I finished Mockingjay in two.
This is not an easy task when your two-year-old wants to read what Mommy is reading. And trust me - I did not read these out loud to him. At any part.
What I did do was inhale them. And cry, several times. Not at the deaths - most of those happen off-screen, although there was one that I bawled through - but at the other moments. The moments that made Katniss and her fellow Tributes (those who are sent to the Games in order to fight to the death) seem like human beings. Not even that - Collins masterfully reminded us that these are children being sent to battle to their deaths. Children who have been forced (through war, a truly oppressive government, and circumstance) to grow up entirely too quickly and who have too much responsibility on their shoulders.
Hunger Games is a page-turner. Collins level of suspense is up there in the circles of the legends, and her restraint is just enough so that those of us suffering from constant morning sickness didn't need to put the book in the freezer. It ends with the perfect wrap-up/set-up. I honestly believe you could put the book down, smile at yourself for a nicely wrapped story, and go on your way.
But if you did that you would miss out on Catching Fire, which picks up a few months later and is chock full of tension and exposition and suspense. I have heard that it is not as good as the first, but I'm going to go on record and say that is true in the way that The Two Towers was not as good as The Fellowship of the Ring. It is the middle book of a trilogy - there to arc you from book one to book two. This one has the added bonus of a great story and it leads very nicely into Mockingjay.
Mockingjay wraps it up. It even has a nice epilogue at the end of the Harry Potter twenty-years-later variety. I was told that it felt forced, but I didn't see it. I did see a bit of Collins reminding herself that she needs to go out as strongly as she came in - and I feel that she succeeded. There is action and exposition and maturation...it's delicious.
To summarize: read these. They are awesome.
PS: I totally want this song to appear in the movie somehow:
and this one (but maybe a later movie?)
****spoilerish: there's a really great love triangle. It makes the Bella/Edward/Jacob triangle look ridiculous. It's resolved really well, too. Meyer could take a few lessons. Many, many, many lessons.****