If you're sick to the back teeth of Edward Cullen and you've read the Harry Potter books fifty times over (each) only to realise that they will never ever have anything new to offer, you'll LOVE the Hunger Games trilogy. I've just finished the last book in the series and I felt compelled to post this up as soon as possible. This isn't a review, more of a 'you NEED to read these books!' post.
The first book is set in post apocalyptic times, in a country called Panem and is told from the point of view of Katniss Everdeen. She is young, cold and calculating but also compassionate and very likable - a proper heroine, AT long LAST! (cough, Bella Swan). She lives in a time of hardship and want; her people are oppressed by the government based in Capitol and are worked like slaves.
There are 13 Districts in the country and each are forced to contribute to the upkeep of the Capitol in terms of food, fuel and servants. As a result, the people of the Capitol live in luxury and ignorance while people of the Districts live and die like cattle.
The Districts also provide the Capitol with entertainment in the form of the annual Hunger Games. Two children are picked by lottery from each District and are put in an arena until one survives and is crowned the victor. Participation is mandatory and no child is exempt. The best way I can describe the Games is like a Big Brother seires set in a booby-trapped environment where all the contestants are young children who must fight to the death. The Producers have no morals and the audience celebrate every death, with no remorse or reflection on the loss of lives. Districts are forced to gather to watch their children get slaughtered while they cheer on. Protests, dissent and calls for change doesn't get your friends and family killed - it gets your entire District annihilated.
Seriously, seriously give these a read. Its really ones of those books that will keep you hooked until the very last word. Every page has a surprise and every chapter reveals a twist that no-one, NO ONE, can predict. Stephen King said of the book 'Constant suspense... I couldn't stop reading.' The social commentary in these books are staggering and thought provoking. Its touches on greed, consumption, entertainment, celebrity and power.
If you're not convinced you can read Chapters 1 and 2 for free here.
If you want to buy the book you can do so here (Amazon).