Saturday, March 3, 2012

ReView of 'Catching Fire' by Suzanne Collins

Science Fiction / YA - 391pgs
Scholastic Press (first published 2009)

This book is all about the ramifications and reprecussions of The Hunger Games.  Life for the victorious tributes is not any better than when the first left their homes, nor is it back to normal.  Katniss says something so powerful, it's worthy of giving it to you right away.  "I mourn my old life here.  We barely scraped by, but I knew where I fit in, I knew that my place was in the tightly interwoven fabric that was our life.  I wish I could go back to it because, in retrospect, it seems so secure compared with now, when I am so rich and so famous and so hated by the authorities in the Capital."  There are a lot of universal themes throughout the book, and this is one which you have to stop and think about.  Things are relative in life and sometimes we may think they will get better but when we arrive there we find ourselves thinking life was much better before.  Change is not always better.  We also don't always appreciate what we have as we are living it.  It takes loosing a piece of our life to know how much better off we were with it.

 At the end of The Hunger Games you wonder.  How will the actions of Katniss Everdeen against the Capitol influence her life?  What will happen to Katniss and Peeta?  What about Gale? How are they as victors rewarded now after the Hunger Games?

Friction, definitely, exists between Katniss Everdeen and the Capitol.  She is threatened to act accordingly so that any uprisings can be prevented after what she had done against the Capitol in the Hunger Games.  She finds herself contemplating on what the Capital considers 'rebellion.'  "All I was doing was trying to keep Peeta and myself alive.  Any act of rebellion was purely coincidental.  But when the Capitol decrees that only one tribute can live and you have the audacity to challenge it, I guess that's rebellion in itself."  This begins to dominate her mindset.  She remembers towards of the book that she truly did what she did so that she would not be "just a piece in their Games."  A very brave heroine, at her best.  She stayes true to herself.

In the midst of it all though, she begins to see life is so many shades of grey.  Many of the things we see in Catching Fire are reflections of our own life, if you will.  For example, the way she describes those in the Capitol. s and more on the people in the Capital.  Do they really have no idea how freakish they look to the rest of us? "Do what?  Blow my lips up like President Snow's? Tattoo my breasts?  Dye my skin magenta and implant gems in it?  Cut decorative patterns in my face?  Give me curved tallons?  Or cat's whisker's?  I saw all these thing" It is not that they are doing these things to themselves, but it's what these things represent in the people who bring children to fight and murder one another.  Are those the kind of people to emulate?  The things to emulate?  A facade for the devils.

You have to love how Suzanne Collins mentions the notion of gut instinct.  At first, it seems that it's something Katniss just naturally experiences, as most of us do sometimes.  It's rarely the case that we see whether it has any legitimacy to real life.  If we pay close attentiont to it, it does.  Katniss finds that this is the case with her.  She says, "My instincts tells me they're telling the truth.  And behind that truth is a whole lot of information I'd like to get."  Her instincts become very real and true towards the end of the book realizing that she has been in fact been deceived and there is more than meets the eye to the whole plot.

One of my favorite books.  This book was so much more than I anticipated.  Just as amazing as the first in the writing and conceptual framing of the plot, but so much more in the surprises and twists than the first.  Like I mentioned before, one of my favorite things about this book (more than the first) is the focus on what happens AFTER the Hunger Games.  How does a person come back to their original life after having experienced that?  How do they integrate back into their life, or do they ever, really?  I think it might just end up being my favorite YA series.  I can't wait to read the third in the series.

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