Saturday, March 26, 2011

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (GRADE: B-)

I recently finished Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  Catching Fire is the 2nd book of the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I grade this book a B-.

This book spans the next year after BOOK 1: The Hunger Games leaves off.  (I don't know how to describe this book without ruining the first book and so I shall simply say...)  Catching Fire is about the 75th Hunger Games, the year after Katniss and Peeta were tributes.  There are uprising in the various districts and Katniss, the mockingjay is seen as a symbol of hope against the tyranny of the capitol.  The Hunger Games in this book is President Snow's attempt to squash the uprising and in turn their symbol, Katniss.

The writing is very much the same as in the previous book.  (See previous review for Hunger Games).

The pacing is great.  She is very strong in creating suspense and engaging the reader.

But I find that her weakness as a writer is more apparent in this book.  I don't like Katniss.  The more I read this book, the more I found her irritating.  And I really didn't like how the author used what Katniss believes as a mislead for the reader.  I like Peeta as a character but after a while, I began to ask myself, "Why is he so self-sacrificing?  What are his motives?  Is it because he has a high school crush on Katniss that he is willing to sacrifice his life for her?  (This seems to be a pretty thin reason.)  Is there something about Katniss that draws out the best in people?  (I don't think there is.)"  And so I found even, Peeta, who I like, and his motivations to be thin and lacking.  I know that this is not supposed to be a great piece of literature to be studied in universities in years to come.  But if I am to get excited about a book, the story and the characters, I feel that the characters should have more substance.  (I am sure that many many people would disagree with me.  Many people love Katniss's character and this series of books but this is just what I think.)

Overall, I would still recommend this book.  It is still a page turner and I was still entertained.  It has kept my interest enough for me to pick up the third book, Mockingjay, which I am going to start tomorrow.  I grade this book a B-.  (B+ for it's suspense and how it is able to engage the reader but a C in character development).

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