Okay here it is. Spoiler alerts in white text.
Overall, it was a very unusual but an enjoyable experience, the reading. Addicting, definitely. Page-turner, sure.
The present tense narrative, well I have never read anything in that format! And I liked it.
The set up and the world in which the story unfolds is brilliantly fleshed out. And the irony was lovely at some places. The whims and fashions of the Capitol people as opposed to the harsh life in the districts. The two divisions among the tributes were real too: The regulars and the careers. And the breaking points of the chapters very cleverly devised. Most of them cliff-hangers, leading to the book's fame as a page-turner.
The characters? Let me start with Katniss. Very realistically portrayed. And the author makes it very easy for the reader to 'feel' what she is feeling, think what she is thinking. Added to that, she's not portrayed as an extreme heroine. She is not the strongest of the tributes. Neither in strength nor in skill. -------SPOILER TERRITORY-------The internal conflicts are so relatable, very realistically portrayed and cleverly written. Saying that, on the later chapters it becomes too monotonous. Her thoughts about Peeta and Gale are sometimes brought out a bit too much. And on a few occasions Katniss looks dumb. About Peeta's loyalty towards her and her doubts about them are repeated even when it's clear that Peeta is helping her. Anyway, she remains perhaps one of the best female characters I have read in a long time, second only to Hermione from HP.
Peeta. A good character. A part of him, reminded me of Sam Gamgee. His simplicity and honesty, that is. But the later part of the book worried me a bit. Perhaps it's only me, but he becomes too much of a baggage there. To look properly, he doesn't deserve to stand till the end. And he doesn't help Katniss in any way except for the time when he distracted Cato. As for his confession of love, I think it wasn't only for the reason of drawing sponsors. It wasn't a wholesome generous act, but partly selfish which Haymitch played along. But he is the second of the only three characters I feel are fleshed out.
Haymitch, the third one. And my fav, sweetheart. Awesome character. I know, such characters are common but he had some unique charm to him and I read his portions real fast. Well, I have no words against him. Everything's cool about him!
Now for the things I didn't like:
First of all, I really don't like much violence, whether in books or movies. Same case here. The violence was shocking as the book drew near the end. And equally disturbing, since these are children who are killing and not some adult mercenaries. The suspense and fights are exciting to read, really. But the "ends" are horrifying. I did get over it by the time I was going through Glimmer's death though.
The intended romance between Gale/Katniss/Peeta. For the reader at least, I feel there isn't much choice but to support Peeta in that. Gale just isn't fleshed out enough.
Rue's death. Okay, this is not a con. But I could foresee her death ever since she was described at the training. Similar to this, I guessed correctly a few times, what was about to come next. So a few intended surprises were not much of a surprise for me. --------SPOILER TERRITORY CLOSED----------
Anyway, much rambling gone here. Overall, I think this is the best thing I have read since Harry Potter. And I give it an A.
Oh, and I have downloaded Catching FIre.
PS: I have seen a few posters of the movie. katniss was a good choice I think. But I don't agree with Peeta and Gale. I imagined Peeta to be less handsome, less muscular and more 'regular', if you know what I mean.
He actually looks like someone from a rich family! And Gale, well he looks far too old. He should be 18 or so at this time. And again, too 'cute' to be someone who spends a lot of his time in the woods and lives in d12.