21 April 2014

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Well then, you know why I read the series, but you don’t know why I am writing reviews on each individual book. This is very simple and a lot more boring than my rant at the beginning of the previous review, and here it is...I read The Hunger Games series at my girlfriend's request so I could post as a guest reviewer on this blog. Anyway I think I let her down a little bit because instead of writing a proper review, which you may have guessed I have no idea how to do, I just rambled on about how I felt about the book rather than tell you what actually happened. Then again if I did that before you read it you may as well not read it so chew that over when you’re bored some time! On top of that rather than just doing it as a guest reviewer I decided to set up my own blog and do a few things myself, so please check me out! I am still not sure why I decided to do this but I guess I’ll either get bored of it or just rant about random crap at some point in the future.

Anyway, on with it! At this point in the last review I wrote about how the book was written but since it was written in exactly the same style as the first book I guess that is out of the question. So to recap; written in first person, blah blah blah, I  love David Gemmell, blah blah blah, quick to read...and so on.

This time the book and the film are a little further apart, but not enough to annoy me or make me think that one is overly better than the other. Our young heroine, Katniss Everdeen, is in the aftermath of the annual event known as The Hunger Games, of which she was last years winner. The book begins with her struggle to cope with the obligations towards the Capitol that winning the Hunger Games brings as well as dealing with the psychological ramifications as she struggles to regain her former life. Tours of the country, fake marriages and personal threats from the president himself are among some of the events she has to deal with as her mental state deteriorates. Then the bombshell, which if you have seen the film you already know, she must go back to compete in a special Hunger Games as part of an event called the Quarter Quell. We go back to the Capitol to meet many previous victors who also have to compete and then begin the ‘75th annual Hunger Games!’ as Stanley Tucci so brilliantly puts it. Her and her fellow victor Peeta Mellark go back into an arena to once again fight to the death. However this time there is a twist at the end of the tail as the games go on and people die it is made clear that the tributes are trying to keep Katniss and Peeta alive. This culminates at the end when Katniss destroys the arena and is rescued by a group of rebels who inform her on the last pages of the book that ‘this is the revolution’ and ‘you are the Mockingjay’.

After reading this book I realised how perfectly Josh Hutcherson had played the role of Peeta Mellark in the films. His character's kindness, compassion and devotion to Katniss come across very strongly in this book and you get the sense of a real relationship developing between them, rather than the fake one they had in the previous book.  We are also introduced to another of my favourite characters in Finnick Odair, who is just brilliant. Also, if you have seen the film you will be glad to know that his sugar cube speech is almost word for word with the book, so credit to both writer and director there! As I mentioned in my review of the previous book you begin to lose the illusion that Katniss is the strong independent girl that she is meant to be. This continues in this book as her every move is controlled by another characters and she begins to have a couple of breakdowns because of the mental stress of her ordeal.

Once again I surprised myself by reading this book in a couple of days without having to spend hour upon hour reading. Once again I enjoyed how close my read was to what I had seen in the films. I thought the book was a brilliant read and did not want to put it down again. You are pulled into a political situation that goes well beyond the first book and creates complex plots which I instantly bought into. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book just as much as the first one and would recommend it again to anyone who has any lingering doubts.

8 out of 10