Reviewing the second and third books in the Hunger Games trilogy together, because I read them back-to-back, and they're really one continuing story.
I feel the same way about these two that I did about the first one in the series: it's fun. It's a quick read. However, I remain mystified about the widespread enthusiasm for these books. Reviewer after reviewer gives "5 stars!" "5 stars!" and I just don't really see why.
I read a lot of books. When I think a book is really remarkable, I'll recommend it to friends. There's nothing about these books that would make me go out of way to tell a friend, "I read the most amazing book! You have to check it out!" I never would have guessed that it would become a wildly popular movie. (I felt pretty much exactly the same way about the movie… fun entertainment, not life-changing).
OK, Katniss is charming and likable, and, of-course coolly bad-ass. And who doesn't love gladitorial-style combat, where innocent victims are forced to fight for their lives?
But when it comes right down to it, there's not that much to these books. They're very juvenile in style. The fast pace of the story means that there isn't much room for in-depth world-building, characterization, or complexity of plot. It's basically Action! Defy the Oppressors! Oh, Love Triangle! And each installment of the story does the same thing over again.
The style, content, and feel of these books reminds me very strongly of Scott Westerfeld's 'Uglies' books. If you like one, I'm guessing you might like the other.