Finally. Read and finished this one. Ever since I heard about it (and watched the movie on youtube ;p) I had the book set aside to read but so many other things came along the way... it was WORTH my own wait and I wish that I had read it earlier in the school year so I could have recommended it to more readers.
It's an interesting way to tell a story -- there is an over arching plot, a simple one, an explosive one, a thoughtful one, but there are basically a series of character sketches as well. You meet some of the minor characters along the path, you know something about them, and they you see them being killed (mostly brutally, with graphic details -- not for the faint of heart!) It's an examination of human nature - the good, the bad, and the in between; the kind, the evil, and the confused. I actually shed tears at 4 different points -- some for characters I learned to love; some for "throw-away" characters whose stories happen to touch my heart.
It seems to be a long book, but it's such a fast and easy read. The alternative history aspect and the social criticism aspect are slightly didactic, but still work well with the narrative flow. Lots of action and "fun" -- if one can define reading about 15-year-olds forced into killing each other as a fun experience.
My last words of wisdom? DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE before reading the book; after reading the book, you will be disappointed by the movie. So, if you plan on reading the book, basically, just let the notion of watching the movie go!
View all my goodreads reviews.