You know how sometimes you get really, really bad news, and the shock is so acute you end up laughing involuntarily?
That is what I did when I reached the last page of THE HUNGER GAMES and saw the words "End of Book One." And then I remembered that Ello had warned us all about this. Ello, never again will I forget your book reviews! (everbody click that link for the book's plot summary; I do not wish to be redundant)
THE HUNGER GAMES is every bit as unputdownable as it's hyped up to be, and part of its brilliance is that it becomes progressively more addictive. It's a stealth attack. The first few pages were enough to keep me interested. By page 4, I was genuinely intrigued. A couple of chapters later, I knew I had to finish the book. A few chapters after that, I knew I had to finish the book AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. The narrative is skillfully constructed to keep reeling in the reader. Even when Katniss steps out of the present (sometimes right when you are desperate to know what happens next) to recollect past events, the memories she shares are relevant to the present story and help to propel it forward, once she returns to it.
Katniss as a character is also well-constructed; she's tough and no-nonsense, strong in the ways that are necessary for her survival, but her subtle emotional vulnerability will endear her to readers. I love that Collins brings out this quality with a light hand. Katniss herself has trouble recognizing her emotional weak spots, and this is one reason that her journey is still not over at the end of the book.
The second book, CATCHING FIRE, comes out in September, and I will have my wallet ready.