Reading 1 Star Amazon reviews is not only bad for your brain, but probably damaging to the soul. I looked these up for Hunger Games after I finished the book, wondering what the worst was that people threw at this book. Turns out most of them rant about this novel ripping off Battle Royale, Considering that book was released in English in 2003 and the Hunger Games came out in 2008, it's not impossible that Suzanne Collins could have read it.
But they're missing the point, because this wasn't an original story in 2003, or 1993 for that matter. You might as well say they're ripping off ancient Rome and a million bad action movies from the last few decades. Stephen King's The Running Man and the Long Walk are even older than Battle Royale. I won't even get into the smacks of familiarity with the dystopia elements, I'd be here all day.
Is it a lazy plot in the broadstrokes? Sure, but not every author derives their strength from the big picture storyline. What keeps the reader going here is the characters and the relentless pacing.
What's odd is I didn't even particularly like the characters, but I found their feelings about each other fascinating. Katniss' main drive is to keep people she cares about alive, and the feelings of the supporting cast towards her help keep the intrigue fresh. This is an engine powered almost purely by drama and rapid movement.
So yes, it's a bit trashy. Perfect for YA reading.
What amused me is the difference in how Battle Royale and Hunger Games handled involvement. People enter the Hunger Games partially to increase their yearly supply allotment, and sometimes to win the prize, which is basically a life of luxury. Luxury and fabulous prizes, or alternately freedom from prison or oppression, is a common motivator in western death sport stories. In Battle Royale, the only motivation is, "we will blow you up if you do not kill people and escape unauthorized areas!" It goes to show how much more the Japanese value negative reenforcement.
So Hunger Games is junk food, but it's like those organic Whole Foods Cheetos knock offs that don't leave as much crap on your fingers.