Hunger Games Catching Fire: A Surprisingly Powerful Science Fiction That’s Well Worth A Read
Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins
Oh what to read? I have the battered pile of books sitting in front of me which could range from the magical gold nugget to the god awful. On the normal day I would just randomly grab one, but there’s the Hungers Games box set I got for a gift. Having read the first one I wasn’t too impressed with the series and had little motivation move forward with it. But it seems when your family got you the set, you’re obligated to read it because you’re always going to be questioned about it. So I went ahead and read the second Hunger Games book which is called Catching Fire.
So what is it about? It’s a tale set in the future in the aftermath of a American civil war where the country was separated into twelve districts and the Capital. The Capital is the rich all powerful piece of the nation, as the other districts are poor, starving and working to support the rich. They also pull members from the twelve districts into a sadistic tournament to battle their death called the Hunger Games for the Capital entertainment. There is supposed to be one victor but two players Katniss and Peeta made fools of the Capital by threatening to commit suicide rather than killing each other breaking the rules so they can both live.
Now book two continues of from that. Katniss and Peeta are returned home but are annoyed with Capital media, and forced to go on tours acting as though they are proud because they succeeded and also must continue the “being in love” act they played up for the media back in book one. But things become complicated when they find out their stunt in the games, the act of defiance against the capital rules, led to uprisings from the other districts. Katniss is threatened by Capital to do as they say like a puppet on a string, or else her friends and family may suffer. More militant forces are intruding in at her home town where public beatings are now becoming a common thing. The society is crumbling as president Snow tries to keep it until control. So to fix the problem he and his other government officials plan to stop the plan for the uprising (Namely killing Katniss and Peeta) by announcing that the 75th Hunger Games will have returning victors competing against one another where the likelihood is they will both dies.
So the good? Well let’s be fair. When I read the first book I was so disappointed. There was little detail, the world was bland and the characters were shallow. With this book it seemed the author knew well of what her faults were. The later two points I just mentioned were drastically improved. The world is dark and cruel, and it’s built up beautifully here. Katniss has grown from a stereo typical tough girl to someone I can understand. Her relationships with others are strong and she seems so much more human rather than robotic. The difficult relationship between Gale, who wants a revolution as Katniss is forced to play as Capital’s puppet, is intriguing. She is forced into a conflict of whether she should help start the rebellion or to keep her family safe by doing what the Capital says. This story is classic science fiction, and a good science fiction which is hard to come by.
The bad? Well the detail is still weak. There are action scenes where things seem jumpy and confusing because the author does not use much detail. There are some environmental elements lacking, such as the terrible snow storm, which was mentioned a lot, but I didn’t know how bad it was until the author mentioned how much snow there was a single line, pages after the storm was brought up. That not only made reading that part strange, but really messed with the immersion in the book actually hurting it because of the lack of detail. Then there’s the actual Hunger games. The tournaments are weak compared to everything else happening in the story. I mean the stuff about the rebellion and the Capital and Katniss’s place in it was so engaging. The games? Well I really didn’t care much about that part, because the insanity outside the games was so powerful.
Overall, it is a drastic improvement over the first book and is a great science fiction that says a lot about society. I really do think this is a great book. I recommended it to everyone. It had a lot of stuff to it. And if you’re some like me and you didn’t like the first book then try it anyways. Its worth the read. Also this book has needs to win some kind of award for having one of the most jaw dropping endings in the past few years. So yeah. Just go read it.
3 1/2 smoothie out of four.
Overall Rating : A Surprisingly Powerful Science Fiction That’s Well Worth A Read