I read "The Hunger Games" because I was forced to, essentially. I was resisting it because I had fallen for the hype surrounding "Twilight" a few years ago, and the way I describe it, "'Twilight' and I had a very bad break-up." However, my dad kept bugging me to read it because Katniss is an archer and - what do you know? - so am I. Yes, I did it before Katniss made it cool. Plus, my dad was going to read it, and he normally doesn't read a lot of books. Therefore I felt obligated to read it as well. For the record, I did not go into "The Hunger Games" wanting to hate it. In fact, I was hoping that I would be proved wrong. And, coming out of it, I don't hate it, but all I have is a big 'eh'. Just 'eh'.
I think I would have liked it better if it were written in third person. I really wanted to know what was going on in the Capitol or with the other Tributes, and Katniss wasn't really a fantastic narrator. Her reaction to hearing Prim's name called was extremely anti-climactic (and on that note, I'd like to point out that, as a hunter, I know for a fact that people DIE regularly from falling out of ten-foot tree stands. I did not buy that Katniss was merely winded after that experience). Also, Collins used far too many fragmented sentences. I know, I sound like a Grammar Nazi, but I'm not anti-fragments. There's just a time and a place, and they were sprinkled haphazardly all over the place in Collins work. They lose their impact, then.
Although "Twilight" and I do not get along well now, I can say this: at least it had a decent love-triangle. The most obnoxious love-triangle in history, yes, but at least it did have three points and conflict. The 'love-triangle' in "The Hunger Games" was more like a love-90-degree-angle ... Gale was so inconsequential throughout most of the book and his relationship with Katniss so vague that I did not care. And I didn't care much about Peeta either, for that matter. Like I said, 'eh'. Same for all the other Tributes. It's supposed to be this huge deal that they all die, but besides Rue I never got to know any of them well enough to care at all. There's just so little character-development in this whole book that it left a very small impact on me. The thing that I can compliment Collins on is her action sequences. As I said in my points, it's clear she's a screenwriter. There was some good action stuff. I just wanted it to be BALANCED with characters that I cared about!
So, overall, not the best book I've ever read (but definitely not the worst). I guess there's one other good thing I can hand to the series, though, and this reluctantly: it's getting people to read in an age where reading is no longer cool. And for that, I tip my hat to you, Ms. Collins.
So much for keeping this short.
-The book gets people to read.