Monday, September 13, 2010

"Catching" extinguishes my fire

Leave it to Suzanne Collins to make me eat my words. I praise her over the first book of her amazing trilogy, The Hunger Games, and what does she give me in the second book? The same thing I said she lacked in the first one. 

Catching Fire isn't at all on par with the crapfest, damsel in distress theme of Twilight, but it's painfully near. Nine months after the seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss is adjusting to life of luxury as the rest of District 12 is still starving and barely making ends meet. Gale has started work in the mines and her uncertainty towards Peeta has severed their relationship. Having to still play lovers for the camera, Katniss feels that nothing will ever be the same between her and her friend again. And this makes her long for him even more. 

Caught in a love triangle, she is confronted by President Snow - the only person in the capitol who doesn't believe in her undying love for Peeta and  who sees the berries as a symbol of rebellion than of love. So starts the wheel of events that brings both Peeta and Katniss back into the arena for the third Quarter Quell, along with other victors from the other eleven districts. But something strange is going on within the arena, something even Katniss cannot fathom or put together. What's worse is that something is going on outside, where Katniss cannot reach those she loves in time.

The book starts off slowly, building little momentum at times. I told Aaron Guerra, who suggested the book to me, that it was work that was keeping me from finishing it as fast as I did the first. Really, it was because the events were taking so long to get to the action that I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get past the first section. Collins manages to ruin the trilogy for me by adding in the problem of who will Katniss choose, but in the end it's clearly an inevitable, unavoidable force that her target audience wanted to know. It doesn't move the plot for me, just makes the character's decision that much harder to make in the end.

The action in the arena is much more bloodier than the first, but isn't lasting. The twist ending, however, makes the book worth the read. And trust me, if you can get past the adolescent nonsense, you get a pretty good read.

I'm moving onto Mockingjay now, which Aaron promised me I'll hate. There's something to look forward to, no? Until next time, keep on huntin'.

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