Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins)

As usual, I'm slow on the uptake, but I'm definitely jumping on the Hunger Games band wagon. Not because it's popular, but because it really is that freaking awesome.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.


Review time (but if anyone has read this and wants to talk it over with me, I'm more than eager!):

Gotta bite the bullet and review this thing, even though there are few things more intimidating than writing a review for a book this popular, or as irritating as reviewing a book you enjoyed. What can you say that someone else hasn't? How do you keep the enthusiasm reined in? Is a puzzlement!

Forget comparing this series to Twilight. I'm comparing the experience of reading it to Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. I got sucked in quickly, ended up rooting for a bad ass female lead capable of ruthless acts all in the name of a very specific moral code (that doesn't quite tally with what most would call "moral"), found myself mentally screaming as I read WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!, and still have one book left to read! Fortunately, this series is easier to talk about than Millennium...which is why I'm going to quit rambling about the one and focus on the other.

I didn't say anything about Haymitch and Cinna in my review for The Hunger Games, and I have no idea why. Both of them are great characters! Matter of fact, I'm hard pressed to find a boring character in these books so far. Even the expendable ones like Madge and Greasy Sae aren't what I'd call boring, but Haymitch and Cinna both work as interesting father figures for Katniss. Ms. Collins also seems to have given them greater dimension, and development! Yay! I liked learning about Haymitch's experience in the Games in particular; it shows how cunning and calculating a person he really is, which is important later on.

I read most of this in a day because 1) I was sitting at home with nothing else to do (translation: nothing else I felt like doing) and 2) I couldn't for the life of me walk away from it. When I finally got the chance to just sit and read, that was it. It was intense and just so darn easy to read in the first place, and had I stopped to consider possible plot twists I might have seen a few of them coming, but that's just it! I COULDN'T stop! It had me by the throat, and there was no thinking to it! I actually felt like I hit a brick wall a few times, like President Snow dropping a bomb on everyone, and Peeta dropping a bomb on everyone, and Haymitch dropping several bombs on Katniss.

Katniss, by the way, I still consider emotionally retarded (Hello! Peeta, woman! Gale can go fly a kite in a lightning storm for all I care!), but she's still as awesome as ever. I rank her up with Lisbeth Salander and Jacky Faber as the coolest heroines I've read lately, if not ever. She may not always have a clue and she might shuffle her feet, but when she finally gets on course she commits and doesn't look back. Well, she doesn't look back in time...

Which brings me to one of the cruelest cliff hangers ever written. I've seen a few doozies, but that one had me nearly throwing the book across the room and beating my sister over the head for the next book until I remembered I have Mockingjay on ebook and could, in fact, read it before her. *insert evil laugh* What's going to kill me, if this series doesn't finish me off first, is waiting for the next movie to come out.

It might be premature, but I think Suzanne Collins might have earned a spot on my list of favorites. She's definitely earned my respect and admiration. 'Nuff said.

Your humble book nerd,

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