Monday, 21 June 2010

Review: Catching Fire

Dear Blog,
I finally got round to reading Catching Fire this weekend, so, well, here's my review.

Summary (from Goodreads): Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Review: I put off reading this for a while after I finished the first book in the trilogy.  This is because I don't want to read these two and then have an epic wait for the release of Mockingjay. Eventually I could do nothing but give in and read Catching Fire.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started.  I mean- the Games were in the first book.  What would happen in the next two?  The answer is, well, more action, more passion, more danger, and more excitement than before. 

There's much more romance in this book than in the first.  I suppose I can't write a review without saying something about my Peeta/Gale preference. While reading these books I keep changing- when Katniss is with Gale I want them to be together for the rest of their lives, but when Katniss and Peeta are fighting for their lives in the Games, I was thinking, "Yep, Peeta is the one for Katniss".  Now having read Catching Fire I now know that my heart (as well as Katniss') belongs to Peeta. How could you not like somebody who saves your life so many times? And is quick-witted and funny and charming and clever and awesome in every aspect of the word?!

Katniss is as brilliant a protagonist as ever.  She's smart, quick-witted, and about a thousand times braver than I would  be if I was in her situation.   It's a tricky balance of making the protagonist strong enough to survive and realistic enough in their...what's the word?  Youth?  I'm not sure.  But we need protagonists to be like us, the readers. Also, I take my hat off to her for not just spending the whole book going, "oh no, two people love me!" (*cough* the Twilight Saga *cough*).  I guess there were more important things at stake.

Speaking of the important things at stake. Catching Fire is a much more sinister story than The Hunger Games, in which most of the terror evolved around the arena.  But in Catching Fire you realise that even outside the Games arena there's no escape from the fear and horror, as everything seems equally sinister in the rest of Panem. If I was Katniss I would definitely have run as far away as I could from Panem, even if I didn't really know what was out there.   That's because I am a little coward and Katniss is not.  And of course the fate of the Districts kind of rests in her and Peeta's hands and if I was mysteriously sucked into the book, I would merely be a small unecessary character somewhere (I'm thinking District 11 because I live in the country) who wouldn't even be mentioned.

Now then.  I'm not sure if what I'm going to say next is a spoiler or not.  Perhaps if you haven't read the book you ought to skip to the Summary at the end of the entry.  If you have, or you aren't planning to read Catching Fire (to the latter people, READ IT NOW), then just read on.

Paragraph That May Or May Not Be A Spoiler- This is probably because it was the second time, but when Katniss, Peeta et. al re-entered the arena it didn't seem quite as terrifying as in the first book.  I was just like, "Okay, they're back in the arena again." And although what happened in the arena was scary, it wasn't as heart-poundingly "what is this horrible place?  why are we here?" as in The Hunger Games. Perhaps because in Catching Fire the reader understands and knows the answers to these questions.
The scenes in the Games seemed kind of rushed, like it was only set over about 50 pages or so. I know it wasn't, but the whole thing is over in about two days and so it did seem slightly rushed and hurried.  And I didn't really get the scene where they all broke out of the arena.  Speaking of which- surely they can see onto the other side of the forcefield that guards the arena?  What divides the arena from the rest of the world is never properly explained.
End Of Paragraph That May Or May Not Be A Spoiler.

Now then.  The ending.  This is the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers and will leave you screaming, "WHY?! Curse you, Suzanne Collins, for leaving us hanging in such a way!"  Not that this is a bad thing, of course.  The cliffhanger is excellent and I believe that Mockingjay ought to get a midnight release à la Harry Potter (in my opinion the Hunger Games trilogy is better), just so that we can find out what happens after the last sentence in Catching Fire.  I wander if there will be ARCs of it...if so, I must definitely get my hands on one.

Summary: awesome, awesome, awesome, and I jump up and down in my seat just thinking about the release of Mockingjay.  Rating: 5. 

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