Thanks! I'll keep reading. Hate to not finish a book.The violence in the book, to me, is more Lord of the Flies than The Running Man (which is similar in theme...I also thought of A Handmaid's Tale). If you look at it as an alternate reality, maybe the violence would be more palatable? It's a kind of fantasy fiction, and an imagined future is always quite bloody.
I liked it for many reasons. The writing is top-notch for this kind of novel. The heroine is strong, driven, talented, clever, and loyal - a great fictional role model for a young female reader (though the subject matter would definitely intrigue boys as well). Katniss is light-years removed from the majority of the young-adult heroines in current literature, and as a reader, I cared about what happened to her - a rebel with a cause. The supporting characters are well thought-out and the relationships are bittersweet enough to be realistic. The author doesn't try to dumb down the hardships and tragedy of Katniss' world for her younger readers, and I appreciated that she didn't pander to any politically-correct notion that kids can't handle unhappy or difficult themes. Most of all, though, the story is edge-of-your-seat exciting - I could not put the books down. Once I can pry it out of my daughter's hands, I can't wait to re-read them.