Sunday, June 27, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - Book Review #42

Sunday, June 27, 2010
Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

 When the bar is set as high as it was in The Hunger Games, it is almost impossible for author to deliver the second book up to the expectations of the reader. Unfortunately, in my opinion, Suzanne Collins failed to do so with Catching Fire.

In the first hundred pages, I was more than sure for two or three times that the ground author was laying at that point is going to be a direction the whole book will go to. No, I don’t claim I thought I had a whole book figured out. I was just sure I knew the direction. And as soon as I was thinking this, Suzanne Collins fast-forwarded this plot line in a couple of paragraphs and ended it, moving to the next line, which once again I was considering the book direction. I probably should be satisfied with this, because it was unexpected, but for some reason it annoyed me a great deal. It felt like the author herself couldn’t decide on the plot of the book and was writing everything that was popping into her head, then unsatisfied for some reason, wrapping up and moving to the next point. Or this way Suzanne Collins was trying to get to her point and just didn’t know any better how to make those nine months to pass.

However, putting aside this seesaw, what did we get as a plot for the second book in the Hunger Games series? **drum-roll, thundering sound of the kettledrum** We got the same plot as in the first book. No, it is told differently, but essentially, it is still the same. And this is all the excited and dedicated readers were waiting for. I’m only relieved that I wasn’t one of them, because I feel sorry for them, expecting a new development of the story, a new perspective on the events , a resolution of at least some of the plot lines and getting the first book over again just in the new cover.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely hated Catching Fire, no it wouldn’t be true, I just expected so much more out of it. I still have to give a credit to Suzanne Collins – I couldn’t put Catching Fire down. However, this is probably not because how interesting and original was the plot for me, but rather because of how she is building her books and what kind of reader I am. When I have to put the book down, I prefer to stop at the end of the chapter and Collins always ends her chapters with cliffhanger, so it makes it very hard to stop there.

I heard in many reviews that people think that the cliffhanger the author left at the end of the book is inhuman, impossible, unfair to the readers, etc. It didn’t feel like this for me, probably because I stopped caring for the characters and got tired of Collins teasing me with something new and exciting, but delivering same old same.

I’m not yet divorced, I’m just separated with Suzanne Collins’ work, so I probably will be reading the last installment of The Hunger Games series – Mockingjay, but this time I’m not expecting much.


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