Wow! I knew this would be good from all the fabulous reviews I had seen but it was even better than that.
I was a little horrified by the premise of children killing one another but as I had read no outcry about excessive violence or gore I assumed it would be dealt with in a subtle manner.
What I wasn't prepared for was the strength of the characterisations and the story.
Each character had a very distinctive 'voice' and stayed true to that voice in both actions and in dialog.
Although the pacing of the narrative varied from frantic to tense to static it never lagged or lost my interest. I was captivated from the first page. I cried in parts and became truly anxious for the protagonist's survival. At times I felt that Ms Collins had stuck me out in the arena, trying to figure out what to do next to survive.
At the conclusion Katniss shows that she has matured through her experience and her evaluations of certain people change. But this is done in a natural subtle way so that you hardly notice.
I would recommend this to everyone for both the subject matter and the writing style.
I listened to the audio book and must remark on Carolyn McCormick's perfectly pitched narration.