Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Author: Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire: B
Recommended To: Adults, Suzanne is fooling herself if she thinks these are YA novels.
There are some in my book club world that believe that Catching Fire was better than The Hunger Games, but I disagree with those women wholeheartedly. Catching Fire follows Katniss on her journey back to District 12 after she wins the Hunger Games. But, this is the year of the Quarter Quell - the 75th anniversary of the games where there are special circumstances for the games. I don't want to give too much away, but there's a mega huge surprise at the end and I had to re-read the last 6 chapters or so to make sense of the ending.
Catching Fire was not as good as the first in the series because for most of the book, it was much of the same, except now there are uprisings in the districts and Katniss is super rich because of her victory. The ending was sufficiently shocking to make up for some of the repetitiveness in the rest of the story.
This isn't to say that I didn't like Catching Fire. It was magnificently well written and again has very dark themes that are not suitable for children or even some young adults.
This was far and above the best book in the series. Katniss has escaped to the mysterious District 13 to begin healing from her ordeal in Catching Fire. What I really like about this book is that Katniss is so broken. She is absolutely not a typical hero - she has feelings, emotions, and severe PTSD from her experiences. I am so glad the author didn't make her any stronger because Katniss's weakness made her believable and extremely interesting.
That said, she still does a lot of hero things - but she does them reluctantly and she does them with a sense that the decisions she makes may not be the right ones. I appreciate Collins' restraint and ability to craft a believable character that is also heroic. Isn't that always it anyway - the heroes are the ones who are actually pretty normal?
That is what makes Mockingjay the best book in the series. There are some superb actions scenes too though, so if you aren't interested in Katniss getting over her issues, Mockingjay does not lack for a great story line.