I teach high school, and many of my AP and IB students are avid readers of fiction, so when a few of my IB students all but accosted me with, "Mr. Berger! You have to read Hunger Games! I'll even lend you my copy!", I knew I had to comply or risk dismemberment or disemboweling, neither of which would please me.
So, during our school's celebration of reading, Read-A-Latte, I nestled myself into a chair in the library while my students read their own guilty pleasure and read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. The last time students "told" me I had to read something, it was Twilight, but I am just not into vampires and werewolves, so I respectfully begged off. After reading a chapter or two, I found it wasn't for me. But, I am ecstatic that Stephanie Meyer's works have gotten a bevy of adolescents (and adults) to read about Edward and Bella.
As I got to know Katniss, Gale, and Peeta from District 12, as well as Haymitch, Cinna, and Effie, as well as the other tributes and Capitol folk, I found that I could relate to them easily, as if I had known them for a long time. That familiarity brought me a level of comfort, even when situations in the arena did not—but that was the intention.
Now, I could easily type out a review of the novel, with spoilers and such, but that's not my intention. Suzanne Collins' work has elicited hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bloggers, writers, and reviewers to share their thoughts, for better or worse. I simply wanted to share that I had indeed read the works, and enjoyed them. One of my students, Jessica C., had read my novel and mentioned that "your book was better." While it pleases me to know that my work surpassed that of a published, well known author for someone, after reading both books, I can honestly say Collins' books were simply different in their portrayals. Task Force: Gaea is a Greek myth-based fantasy epic, while The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are more sci-fi. Plus, while my book uses first person narration in the first half where a god whom Zeus punishes shares his experiences, the reader sees third person narration in the second half; Collins' novel uses the first person point of view of Katniss throughout. The reader truly becomes intimately familiar with all of her thoughts and feelings more.
The adversity plaguing Apollo (in TFG) affects him in ways that evoke different emotions from the reader than those events that affect the reader via Katniss' saga. I am currently reading Mockingjay, the last of Collins' books in this trilogy, and I am enjoying it so far, but I am only (as of this post) about 30 pages into it.
Perhaps, when I am done with all three, I will post some sort of review, but right now, I'm simply enjoying the stories.