So I put it down for a minute, and gave the Hunger Games a shot.
And by "gave a shot," I mean "read one line and was hooked and then devoured the entire goddamn trilogy every chance I got."
Seriously, though -- I have a huge affinity for books written effectively in 1st person. As a writer (of sorts, at one time, a long long time ago), my focus was affectionately referred to as "creative non-fiction prose poetry." Mouthful, right? Much of the time I wrote in first person, and whether or not I was writing fiction or non-fiction, I was always drawn to this narrative because I am a very emotionally-charged and absorptive person. Once I'm drawn in, be it my own or another's work, I am stuck there and I am undoubtedly affected.
The Hunger Games series is incredible at developing both it's characters (also my main focus as a writer way back when, less plot-driven) and it's setting. While it's essentially a young adult sci-fi novel, it's way less sci-fi-totally-means-alien-invasion and absolutely way more vividly dystopian. I found that immersing myself in this dark, disgusting, and dangerous world came easily. It was a quick, fascinating read, and took full advantage of the classic end-of-chapter cliffhangers that had me up late nights with my eyes stinging, but HOLY CRAP WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!
To be honest, I found the main character, Katniss, to be fairly grating. She was one of my least favorite parts of the book, however I'm willing to concede that without her attitude and (often predictably) rebellious nature, there would be no series. It was the characters that surrounded her that made my heart ache. Cinna, her stylist. Rue, one of her opponents in the Hunger Games. Later on in the series, Finnick and Annie, Pollux, Boggs... maybe it's just me, but I found myself significantly moved by many of the characters that, compared to the brusque Katniss, seemed rather minor but made major sacrifices for her. Not to say she didn't make major sacrifices herself, and I suppose to be fair she is a teenager in these books -- I just found her mostly unlikable.
I plowed through all three books in record time, with a minor hiccup arising only after accidentally reading the first 5 chapters of the 3rd book, thinking it was the 2nd, and eventually being clued into my roommate that Mockingjay is the THIRD book! Nothing was too spoiled for me, luckily enough; I just spent 5 chapters confused and waiting for them to flashback to all of these events they were touching on... [facepalm]
At any rate, I rather enjoyed them. Quick, easy read but having plenty of depth. I am actually extremely excited for the upcoming movies, as I really enjoyed the first (Lenny Kravitz totally nailing it as Cinna? Who knew...!?). I'm still undecided as to what to read next!