...and the subsequent two books are excellent.
Liked more than: The Hunger Games
On par with (or slightly better than): The Graceling SeriesPrized
Book two takes the heroine, Gaia, to an entirely new dystopia that I found rivetting to explore. And I don't mind that O'Brien's done this. It's not a new idea to make the second in a trilogy different (I loved Fire after reading Graceling), and O'Brien has done it well. I felt Gaia's character exploration was heightened because of it. I found the parallels between the two dystopias were drawn with sophistication. I thought the extreme change in reactions and choices was warranted and fascinating. I loved this book. I just read until it was done, because I was enjoying it so much.
Book three cinches the worlds of book one and two together, and not in a sweet, nice touch sort of way, but in a BAM -- let's stir this party up, sort of way. Like the two books before it, it is well paced, in good taste, and delivers a grand mix of enough surprise and met expectations. Book one and two were hard to top, but it is a strong finish (so much better than book three in THG). Book hangover = happening.
More girly whirly covers, so you can be sure to find a copy near you: