File under: Pop goes the culture.
First, a quick summary of The Hunger Games trilogy from the New York Times: "The premise of the series is that a corrupt and decadent Capitol rules over 12 impoverished districts in Panem, in the ruins of North America. Every year the Capitol authorities stage a reaping, in which a girl and a boy from each district are chosen by lottery to be tributes in the Hunger Games. When her younger sister is picked, the heroine, Katniss Everdeen, volunteers to take her place, and with the others is styled, trained and then placed in a spectacularly designed high-tech arena, to fight in the televised games until only one contestant survives.
Though the 'Hunger Games' trilogy has by now won many adult readers — there are 5.6 million copies of the series in print in the United States and Canada — it is the perfect teenage story with its exquisitely refined rage against the cruel and arbitrary power of the adult world."
Second, a quick review from TCC: Even though it's a sci-fi-ish fantasy for young people, this series delivers a powerful, unsettling anti-establishment message that, as The New York Times noted, intrigues adults (like me). Truly, it's like nothing out there - not like the Hobbit, Harry Potter, Narnia, or Twilight. Author Suzanne Collins is insightful, funny, and imaginative, and is the queen of cruel cliffhangers. She's not a decadent libertine (like the author of the 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' trilogy), nor is she heavenly-minded like Frank Peretti.
Instead, Ms. Collins, a children's television show writer, says she's been heavily influenced by Greek mythology.
"The Capitol" is the sort of regime that would be hated by liberals, conservatives, and libertarians alike. Katniss Everdeen, the prickly archer and main character, represents the vigilant (and armed) citizen who will protect her loved ones to the death from this Capitol's overseers. The books contain no profanity (Hurrah!), but given that they are published by Scholastic, the bigtime distibutor of books for kiddos, they deserve a 'reader advisory warning' due to the violence and a smattering of sexually suggestive material.
Final word: Lionsgate has begun filming the Hunger Games movie; it's already one of the most anticipated flicks of 2012.
Gotta keep the bread and circuses flowing, right? (Which, ironically, is a running theme in this trilogy.)
Update: Kathy Davis, a discerning reader, also has a review.