Total Hours to Read: 21 hours (okay, okay, I was one minute short of 21 hours)
--Average pages per minute for the series: 1.33
Sex/Romance: At the "lightest" end of the scale we get intimations of people sleeping around, and then we cover infidelity, heavy sexualization of minors (as young as 12 years old), some light descriptions of some naked people, and end up with discussion of forced/coerced prostitution. (I will say, when I originally read this series as a teenager coming from a heavily sheltered childhood, all topics were covered maturely and felt appropriately handled for the target age range of the books.)
Ah, romance. So, here's the thing.... There is some romance, but a lot of it is rather...forced. And what real romance there might be is tempered by the tumultuous times in which it is trying to bud.
Language: There really wasn't any language to speak of in this series.
Violence/Gore: Across the series we get a heavy dose of violence and there is a moderate amount of gore that accompanies that. Starting with a lot of death in general, we also get some pretty brutal killings, war, some gory displays of death, mild descriptions of torture, and mention of cannibalism.
Other: We also get close-up looks at addiction, trauma, survivor's guilt, PTSD, anxiety, depression, attempted suicide, various coping mechanisms, and the painful processes of recovery.
Thoughts: Just as so many people think Romeo & Juliet is a romance or love story (it's not, it is a tragedy), quite a few people think this series is all about the love triangle. It's not. It is a story of war, of oppression, of fighting back, of survival, strength, brokenness, trauma, and healing. And perhaps most importantly of all it is a story of familial and platonic love.
An engaging story for younger readers that reveals so many deeper layers when read with a bit more perspective. For a better look at some of those layers, check out my reviews of the individual books (check the spoiler sections), and also these two amazingly comprehensive analyses here and here (the second link contains strong language).
Check out my (full of spoilers) Pinterest board for the books and movies here!
In the end: I would give this series 5 out of 5 stars. Real or not real?