I was very excited to read this book because according to the Good Reads list it is the best book ever written. It turns out it is not, but it is actually pretty good.
The book is a futuristic dystopia for YA. It takes as its main premise teens killing each other off in a game being played on TV to support a tyrannical state. This premise is entirely ripped off from Battle Royale. The future dystopia is a fairly standard one, with a lot of emphasis on media control that effectively satirizes our own media. In fact there are pretty much no original ideas in Hunger Games, so a review of it comes down to the execution of the book.
The book is well written. It is not complex writing and is readily accessible, while having highly readable prose. The prose does not get boring. The violence is there, but is tastefully done and it is entirely suitable for a teen audience. The main virtue of the book is the protagonist Katniss, who is very interesting person. She has a fascinating mix of savvy and cluelessness, which is completely real.
Overall pretty good, but does not really delve into some of the darker places it could go. To me the obvious comparators are the movie Battle Royale and the books Tunnel in the Sky and Lord of the Flies. All those works are superior to the Hunger Games in my opinion, because they challenge the audience more. However, not a bad book. It is much better that the Harry Potter books, for instance. I intend to keep reading the series.