I've seen the movie, so knew the book would be violent, so that wasn't a shock, but if a person reads this book with no idea what it is about, the violence will probably come as a huge surprise. I did think the book was better at developing the characters and their back stories. You get to care more about the main characters surviving, and even tho I knew who survived already, I didn't want them to get hurt.
So many people compare The Hunger Games to this story, and yes they are both about kids killing each other but I would say this is the better of the 2, not because its an original idea, I think it is better at showing the panic and fear that the kids feel while they try to stay alive.
Avoid if any type of violence in a book makes you squeamish.
4 out of 5