Thursday, December 16, 2010
"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins
Katniss's relationship with Gale is strained as his pride and heart are wounded from watching Katniss, the girl he loves, apparently fall in love with another boy, whereas Katniss's relationship with Peeta is strained as he realizes that she was playing him the entire time in the Hunger Games, in order to ensure their survival, and does not reciprocate his feelings. However, Katniss must pretend that her relationship with Peeta is as strong as ever in order to please the president of Panem and the people during the Victory Tour of the Hunger Games, a tour in which they visit each and every district. If she is to fail to convince everyone of their live for one another, there will be hell to pay. When Katniss discovers exactly how hard this task is to complete she begins to hide within herself, showing the physical symptoms of stress (weight loss and whatnot). I'm not going to lie, while reading this portion of the book I really just wanted to pull my hair out, firstly because I thought that the story was moving at a snail's pace- I had grown accustomed to lots of action and adventure in the first novel and Katniss and Peeta dressing all fancily for dinner with important people of each district for the Victory Tour was just not doing anything for me, secondly, because of Katniss and Peeta's strained relationship- seriously on the train that they were traveling together on? I am sure that you could have cut the tension with a knife.
When it was announced in this book that Katniss and Peeta were going to have to re-compete in the Hunger Games, my stomach dropped. I then thought to myself, "They can't do that to them!" But when it became apparent that they could and that they were going to, I was trying to think of ways that Katniss and Peeta could perhaps be exempt from the games. I came up with a bunch of unrealistic ideas and afterward I jokingly thought to myself, "Well, they should just play (big spoiler: highlight to show) the pregnancy card.... They should announce to everyone of Panem that Katniss is pregnant and maybe she will not have to compete because everyone will feel sympathetic towards her." When I read Peeta's little speech where he announced exactly that I could not believe it! I was just joking thinking it! I almost died laughing (I was quietly reading and then all of a sudden I burst out laughing- slightly manically- so my mom got worried and ran upstairs to check on me, but then she realized that it was just me being me and plastered a smile on her face pretending that she understood me ;) ).
After the initial shock of hearing that the Hunger Games were going to go down, I kinda got excited. I thought that maybe the action and adventure that I had been craving for so badly was finally going to be delivered- and boy, was it ever, and I thought that perhaps Peeta and Katniss would finally able to lose the awkwardness between them and become friends/ allies once again, and again, I was more than happy with the result.
I loved the introduction of the new characters/ fellow Hunger Games competitors, Finnick, the overly dramatic/ overly gorgeous male who knows he is super gorgeous and flaunts it whenever possible, yet who has an extremely serious side as he is willing to risk life and limb to keep Katniss and Peeta alive, and Mags, an elderly woman who no one, save for Finnick, can understand and who also is more than willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good, and Beetee and Wiress, the super geeky, yet extremely intelligent competitors (who I believe would have won the Hunger Games hands-down had the games went on as originally planned)... Heck, I even didn't mind Johanna, who in real life I would consider to be a gigantic bimbo. But I also loved the old characters, such as Haymitch, as we saw a completely new side of him, that being when he was a competitor of the Hunger Games and I really think that knowing that helps us to understand why he is like the way he is now, and Cinna, what he did for Katniss, well, I don't think that in a million years she would be able to thank him enough. And the games themselves? They were so dramatic and kept me on my seat the whole time. I seriously hated every time I had to put the book down when reading about them...
So all in all? Well, the first half or so may not be super thrilling/ keeps you on the edge of your seat, but the last half more than makes up for it! I think that everyone who loves the first book will be more than happy with this book!