Let's start with The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
The premise of Hunger Games is that there were 13 districts that somehow rebelled against their primary government a long time ago, and after quite a struggle, the 13th district was obliterated and the remaining twelve survived to be mistreated. Every year, a pair of 'tributes', or children aged 12 to 18 were selected from each district for a fight to the death in a massive outdoor arena. These events were televised as some sort of game show, and viewing was mandatory.
Something I found very interesting was that I was reminded of gladiators, but this time in a much more disturbing form. Just like the arenas of old, certain assets in this arena could be modified, to make things much more... interesting.
Along the lines of gladiatorial combat was also the way it described battles; they weren't the seemingly epic things of legends, but more of 'cut me and I bleed', the characters that feel pain and get hurt, not just heroic, larger-than-life statues but real people who can be hurt, who worry for their loved ones, and this is truly the making of a great story.
A few parts I really must say were quite obvious as to how they would turn out, but the overwhelming majority of the book is extremely original with plot twists in all the right places that it makes up for the occasional 'I saw it coming' moments.
I give the book four stars, it's brilliantly written, and it was evidently the result of alot of work on the part of the author, bravo.