This is a grim, strange little book to admire, but not to love.

I admire the economy of the author’s prose, which is minimalist but still manages to create a vivid word picture of people and scenes. She captures Katniss’s sullen teenage resentment, her cold-bloodedness yet also her love and protectiveness toward her younger sister, her resentment of her grieving mother, her sense of duty toward her family, her grief for her father. The scene where she sings to the dying Rue is heart-wrenching.

I’m working on a YA project myself, so—full disclosure—I read this book as research. I must tell you I don’t care much for YA in which all the adults are stupid, weak, cruel, and controlling, and that’s pretty much the case here. When I was a teen, I had many adults I respected and looked up to.

The juxtaposition between hunger and satiety is not quite convincing. The author tells us of Katniss’s skin-and-bones hunger, why she illegally hunts at great risk, then tells in the first pages of Katniss and Peeta’s pre-Games feast of fresh goat cheese and fresh-baked bread. I almost ordered out for a goat-cheese pizza. She describes the luxurious meals in rich detail, but the reader will have to look to Dosteyevski’s descriptions of Russian peasants for how starvation really looks and feels.

Also, I found a glaring logical hole in the basic premise–if (as is later revealed) the Capital can effortlessly create things out of thin air with their technology, why wouldn’t they just make food for everyone and be done with it? Then people could work in the coal mines and make stuff on a full belly. It doesn’t make sense.

Make no mistake, this is a brutal, violent book. If the book teaches the reader to fight back in an oppressive, competitive world, that’s an excellent lesson. But it’s a lesson that won’t leave you with a song in your heart and a spring in your step.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

New Romantic Suspense! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

New! Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. Meanwhile, as they begin a hot affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.

Coming soon! Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, which will include Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus. The Omnibus Edition will include all three books.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

New Urban Fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide, is on Nook, Kindle. and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!