Friday, August 24, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen has returned home to District 12, after winning the Hunger Games with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Her life returns to normal, for the most part: she's living with her mother and sister, albeit in a big, fancy house in the Victor's Square; she hunts with Gale, although their relationship is newly awkward; and she doesn't see much of Peeta, and is not sure what to think of that. But as the Victor's Tour approaches, Katniss receives a terrifying visit from President Snow himself. He warns her that her feigned love for Peeta hasn't convinced the population of the districts, and that they now stand at the edge of revolt, emboldened by her own actions during the Hunger Games. She has to convince the people of the districts that she's truly in love with Peeta, or the people she does love will suffer the consequences.

Well, the odds have not been in my favour. I still can't stand Katniss Everdeen. Surviving the Hunger Games hasn't given her much perspective, and she remains fatally boring to read about. Kindness confuses her, she's unsure of her own emotions and needs to carefully consider any physical responses she has to people and situations (like her first time feeling aroused). I suppose this is a way to bring readers into her mind and allow them to see through her eyes, but I have a hard time buying it. She's just so dense; wouldn't these instances just throw readers out of the scene, and cause them to think "Geez, Katniss. He's acting all weird because he likes you. And you're acting all weird because you like him. Come on!" That was my experience, anyway.

I want to compare my experience of this book to my experience reading Strange Flesh by Michael Olson. That book featured a mostly bland protagonist and a diverse and interesting cast of secondary characters who ended up carrying the story. Catching Fire is the same way: Katniss is vaguely irritating and boring, but you care about the plights of the other characters, who for some unfathomable reason seem to want some form of relationship with her. And so, you keep on with it. But Strange Flesh had sex and toys and an online murder mystery to keep me engaged. Catching Fire had, well, I'm not into spoilers.

One thing that has to be said about this book--and the whole series, really--is that the pacing is excellent. It's hard to find a convenient place to put the book down for a break. Interesting event follows interesting event follows interesting event. And Suzanne Collins didn't get bogged down describing the events of the Victor's Tour. She paraphrased in quite succinctly, and got the book moving towards the big twist--gasp! But I won't tell you what it is, I'll leave it to social media and an overheard conversation on transit to take care of that for me.

On Goodreads, I rated this book 2 stars, "it's ok." Which pretty much sums up how I feel about it.

Genre: young adult science fiction
Format: e-book
Copy source: personal library

1 comment:

  1. Even though Kat can be a little boring at times, I loved this series. I agree, the pacing is excellent.