I'm reviewing Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) and Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) together because I read them back to back without much pause in between.
I read the first Hunger Games book over a year ago. I liked it. I read it pretty quickly and then I watched the movie when it came out. Aside from Harry Potter, I've never been one to read a book series, so I didn't think much of reading books two and three immediately after I finished The Hunger Games.
So why the change? The whole trilogy was on sale at Amazon, so I bought the ebooks for my Kindle. I had heard so much about the series and am greatly looking forward to the next movie, so I decided to read the books. It took me about four days to read them both.
I was hooked from the very beginning. The story is written in such an engaging style and it's filled with drama and action, so there's hardly a boring paragraph, let alone section of the book.
It would be easy for critics to dismiss the books because they are written in first person present tense and are written for a YA audience, but honestly it's the story that makes the books so easy to read. Katniss' struggle to assume the roll of mockingjay and the rebel's attempt to take down the Capital are at once an engaging coming of age story and a political commentary. Once you look past the gory violence of these books, there actually is a pretty clear message, reminding readers that we don't have to take the world as it is presented to us. Like Katniss, we have the ability to make a difference in the world, as long as we are ready to accept the responsibility that goes along with it.
I greatly enjoyed these books, and would definitely recommend them as a fun, smart read. If you find the violent scenes too disturbing, I would recommend skipping those bits, as they are usually short paragraphs. The focus is more often on the psychological damage that Katniss incurs from witnessing the events anyway.