Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Hunger Games Part 2

Catching Fire picks up right where The Hunger Games left off, with Katniss and fellow champion Peeta traveling on a Victory tour. Although the Hunger Games have ended, the games certainly aren't over. Katniss must convince the public and President Snow that she and Peeta truly are star-crossed lovers in order to settle the unrest that has risen over their defiance against the Capital in the arena. Catching Fire shows us life after the Hunger Games and the continued cruelty of the Capital as it fights to maintain control over the districts to prevent a rebellion from brewing.

Things really start to get interesting when President Snow announces that, as part of the "Quarter Quell", a special edition of the Games every quarter-century, tributes will be reaped from a pool of all living Victors of past Hunger Games. I'll admit, its a convenient way to increase the action, but it works. My heart went out to Katniss as she prepared to face the arena yet again.

I read Catching Fire with the same intense curiosity as I did The Hunger Games. I was unsure what to expect as I had heard mixed reviews about Catching Fire, I wondered whether Collins could keep the momentum going. While it is true that the second book is a bit less intense and not so action-packed from the beginning, it is just as engaging as the first. As a reader, I could feel the momentum building. I didn't devour this one in two days, and read at a much slower pace than the first.

When I reached the abrupt end I couldn't believe it was over. The ending was so surprising, I didn't want to stop reading.

So I didn't. I immediately picked up Mockingjay and continued reading.

A lot happens in Mockingjay. Katniss is selected as the reluctant leader of the rebels waging a war against the Capitol, the war to end all Games. In the end, the actions and intentions of those around her come into question and Katniss must decide whom to trust.

I did feel Mockingjay was a bit rushed as all the loose ends were being tied up. When I looked back at all that had transpired, I couldn't believe it had all happened in the pages one book - it almost could have been two books: the war, and the aftermath. Days after finishing the final book, I still found myself wondering about life after the Hunger Games and wishing I could have spent more time learning about Katniss' life there.

The Hunger Games is a trilogy that will stay with you. Even after I put the last book down, I thought of Katniss and all that she had been through and endured at such a young age, the many people she saw die and the weight their of those losses on her. In some way, those losses weighed on me too.

For those who may be skeptical as I was, or who may think it's no good because it's categorized as young-adult lit, I encourage you to give the books a try.

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