Read the original and complete review at Word SpelunkingWow…just wow! I kind of want to kick myself for not picking up this book years ago, yet, I’m kinda glad I waited until all three books were out so I don’t have to wait for any of them…I’m impatient like that ;)And I’m kind of miffed that no one bothered to tell me how awesome this book was or even suggested I start this series! I mean not a single one of you ever, not even once, even sorta mentioned it *cracks up*…I kid, I kid :D Please note my teasing voice and grin. Yes, many of you kindly recommended this book to me over the last couple of months and shared all your thoughtful reasons why I absolutely had to read it…so I thank each and every one of you!So, just what did I think of The Hunger Games?! Eeep! I have so many thoughts about it right now. Clearly, I loved it and am itching to read the next book. But why did I love it? What did I love about it?Well, I love how very original it is. This series obviously spurred the popular dystopian trend in YA lit., and it really does still remain one of the most original and well executed dystopian books out there. The creativity and social/political/cultural awareness Suzanne Collins exhibits in THG is truly impressive. And I really love the simple fact that a book about kids fighting each other to the death has moved and inspired so many readers.The world building in THG is phenomenal! This gritty, stark, dark future world feels impossibly real and is artfully layered. And I think this realism is what fascinates many readers. This dystopian future, a future where kids are made to kill one another for entertainment, seems so outlandish and unbelievable, yet there’s a terrifyingly thrilling aspect to the notion that maybe this future isn’t so farfetched and the idea of humans getting enjoyment from cruelty, pain, and death isn’t a foreign concept.The story itself is perfectly and effortlessly paced, and this pacing, along with Collins’ superb world building, makes for one gripping and addictive read. I know I was simply unable to put the book down and was definitely sad to see it end.With such a captivating plot, a book like THG definitely needs a MC equally has captivating and, as many of you have already discovered, Katniss Everdeen simply shines! Katniss has definitely earned her place as one of my top three female YA characters, just after this first book! I loved her the moment she volunteered to take Prim’s place in the Hunger Games. I have a baby sister that I love more than words can say and in that moment I felt like I was more than simply right there with Katniss, I felt like she had suddenly and intrinsically become a part of me. She’s such a masterfully created character- equal parts strength and vulnerability, serious and witty, intelligent but not boastful, brave and selfless with a quiet grace. She’s impossible to ignore and an unforgettable character.But there are so many wonderful, compelling, downright fantabulously awesome characters in this book right?! We have stoic Gale, charming Peeta, pull at your heartstrings Rue, oddly endearing Haymitch, sweet Primrose, fabulous Cinna, and a slew of other well developed characters.And of course I must mention the romantic aspects of this book! I know the basic plotline and story outline for the entire series, so I’m well aware of whom Katniss ends up with in the end. But even this knowledge didn’t keep me from being able to enjoy the complex, heart-breaking, and breathtaking romantic elements in THG. Collins does a superb job of exploring Katniss’ confusion and confliction where the romance is concerned.Then there’s the Hunger Games themselves, which are equal parts fascinating and repulsive. Relentless, violent, startling, impossible to look away- this is how I describe the Hunger Games Collins describes so epically.Am I stoked for the upcoming movie? Umm, heck to the yes I am! So is my mom, who I talked into reading THG then proceeded to devour the whole series in about five days.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: My mind has been blown. My fangirl heart has been captured. The Hunger Games is a riveting, powerful, captivating book. An absolute MUST read!