Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Scholastic: Paperback published 2011: 472 pages
Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Game. Now the Capitol wants revenge.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.
I had to read something light after the trauma of finishing the last book from A Song of Ice and Fire. [On that note, apparently Mr R.R Martin is writing “at a good pace” which means, with his track record, we can expect his next book in 2015 – which is A LONG TIME… oh the horror]
The Hunger Games trilogy is a teenage fiction series, the first book of which – The Hunger Games – has been made into a film. A lot of it rings true with Twilight; the love triangle, the girl who doesn’t think much of herself but everyone loves her, the fact that our heroine is the catalyst for everything (i.e. Mary-Sue – and not the endearing type). If you can get past the egocentric-yet-adorably-flawed main character, these books are what could be described as a “ripping yarn”.
I read it in about 2 days, purely because it is deeply entertaining and very easy to read (so you don’t feel exhausted at the end of the chapter, which can happen). I will definitely read the third and final book, purely because I need to know what happens to Kat, Gale, Peeta and the team. My criticism (apart from the deeply irritating main character) is that there isn’t enough time in the arena for my liking – the build up is over half the book and then the arena is a short, sharp blast of brutality, and that’s it.
I think the beauty and creativity of the story from the first book was the arena scenes, and I wonder if Suzanne Collins has missed a trick here. I’m not very interested in the angst-ridden navel-gazing that all these teen books seem to be about nowadays… gone are the stories of mystery-solving and animal-rescuing of my formative years, now it’s all gooey eyes and brooding skinny boys who haven’t seen enough sunlight, and torturous and awkward love triangles that actually make very little sense. I think there should be more originality in these characters – forget the love story, show a character who does it all by herself for once. There is honestly not that much angst in the world.
Other than that, I think this is a nice, simple read that keeps me occupied for a couple of evenings.
Next book: The wonderful Ana has promised me her copy of Blood Meridian, but until I get off my backside and give her my address to post it to, I will make do with Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I’ve often been told to give Robin Hobb a try – she’s a fantasy-writing big-hitter, and a lot of fantasy fans who cut their teeth on the likes of Pratchett, Tolkien and Brooks (though I never liked the latter) rate Hobb amongst the better writers. Assassin’s Apprentice is the first in the Farseer trilogy… and the first of countless trilogies, so it’s a good place to start.
P.S. I also realised that I never posted my review of A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust. I promise one to follow!