Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
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When I posted about The Hunger Games, some of you said I would like the second and third book in the series less. Others suggested I may enjoy them more, because they address some of the questions that I had missed being raised in the first book. I know this may sound weird, but both groups were right in their way: I found the plot to be weaker, but I was relieved to find themes and questions addressed, instead of the book clinically describing what was happening.
To me, the first half of the book read like an epilogue to The Hunger Games. And I actually appreciated this, very much. It explored the cruelties of the Capitol, it explored mechanisms of oppression and resistance, it explored the emotional fall-out of murder, even if forced by a regime. It made me feel all the emotions I was missing in the first book, and I think it might make me appreciate The Hunger Games more, if I revisit it.
I cannot seem to decide whether the fact that Katniss and Peeta are forced to enter another Hunger Games helps to underline and reinforce the cruelty of the regime, or if it felt a little silly and unoriginal. I did appreciate how it explored the dynamics of people forming an alliance in the games more and I liked that we learned more about the other contestants, and yet..
There is something about Collins’ prose that I find a little awkward, but I cannot seem to put my finger on what it is that I find less than perfect. I do know that the last third of the book felt a little rushed, and I kept backing up a few pages to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I felt that the whole games and the eventual escape could have been written about more in-depth.
And then there’s the love triangle. Am I allowed a small ARGH? This book really works up this angle, having Katniss pretend to be in love with Peeta, but secretly (perhaps?) liking Gale more. Towards the end of the book she says that Gale feels like home, but see, I cannot see why. Why do I need to care about this triangle? The whole triangle feels forced, both boys receive little to no character development, especially Gale. It almost feels, while reading the book, that Katniss thinks about who she cares for more because she feels she has to. Nothing of her love for Peeta or Gale feels natural, both are forced by circumstances and their love for her. I may prefer Peeta over Gale at this point, but I think that is only because we have seen more of him than we have seen of Gale.
Catching Fire was in part more enjoyable to me, because it allowed for more emotions about the whole circumstances in which Katniss and her friends and family live. On the other hand, I felt the plot in itself was weaker at some points, and Collins’ style still feels awkward to me at times.
As for book three, I hope to read it soon. My sister gave me her copies of the first two books on loan (hence, the different covers for book 1 and book 2), but she does not own the third one. I’m now hoping to read it by borrowing it from a friend of hers, but I’m not sure when/if that will happen.
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Pfew. SO MANY REVIEWS! Did I miss yours? Let me know and I will add your post to the list.
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