It took me forever to actually grab a copy of this book, mainly because I figured it would be yet another overrated series that had little to no plot and 2 dimensional character. It wasn't, not in the least. It acutally lived up to everything that was said about it and in some ways completely surpassed it.This is one of the few dystopian novels I've read and the others have been relatively dull. It's always someone constantly spouting about politics or talking about how horrible their life is thanks to the government. The plot involved with those is usually lacking but is bolstered by all the complaining. So I was expecting much of the same here. So yes the government is corrupt and cruel, and the people are subjected to harsh living conditions and the whims of the Capital. However it seems this government has a creative way of keeping their people industrious and in check. First they have districts which specialize in some sort of product and they live accordingly. Secondly they have The Hunger Games, which is a brutal competition between representatives from each district. Which ever wins earns the food and money that the districts desperately need. There is a harsh reality to these 'games' though, the competitors who lose don't walk away. The main character Katniss Everdeen, is somewhat of a no nonsense girl who is striving to take care of her mother and sister in the desolate District 12. This girl is tough and the very meaning of 'badass', but she's not so tough that she's invincible or perfect. Each character in this book manages to pull an emotion from you whither it's a simple smile or complete disgust, and the character development and reactions are believable as well.This is a very quick paced book and after the first few chapters you'll be drawn in because the world is so different and no harsh detail is spared. It's separated into three sections which helps give you breathing time because things move at a steady pace in the first section, but they definitely pick up in the second section. Like I said before it's a harsh story and I was a little surprised at the violence, it wasn't overly gory or horror story violent but if you don't like stories where there are quick, blunt and sometimes include heart wrenching deaths don't read it. It's rare that a book literally surprises me but this one did it over and over again.