I recently included the first book of this trilogy in my Young Adult Literature class at the University of Texas at San Antonio because I truly admire the world and complexities created by Collins. The characters are multidimensional and believable and their futuristic dystopian society has just enough similarities to our own with its use of television and propaganda, class striation, and exploitation of the poor to be relatable.
I know many parents have criticized the level of violence in this series, but the ultimate message is similar to the one in Jonathon's Swift's Modest Proposal: We need to stop sacrificing our children in our political conflicts. It's no accident that Katniss is seventeen years old when many soldiers in our country and others recruit that age so that they are prime for enlisting by age eighteen. And families who pride themselves on serving their nation for generations in the armed forces are not unlike the career tributes.
Collins's trilogy is anti-war in the same vein as Small Soldiers, a partially animated movie in which technologically advanced toys go to war with one another. But it is also fatalistic in that the rebellion and the Capitol soon become indistinguishable from one another in the same way as Orwell's men and pigs in Animal Farm.
I highly recommend this heart-wrenching, fast-paced series to young and old alike.