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ReaderMarija's Reviews

...a pot luck of thoughts and reflections

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Catching Fire - Suzanne  Collins Catching Fire is certainly aptly titled. The little spark sent into motion by Katniss has gradually allowed the kindling to smolder and finally catches alight. Little does Katniss know that her decision to offer Peeta those berries—a choice mainly driven by her conscience—would be seen as an act of defiance to the rules and law of the Capitol and would become a symbolic gesture, giving the people of the Districts the courage to stage a resistance.

The first book gives the reader a sense of the fine hairline cracks that were present in the infrastructure of the government. Catching Fire accentuates them, depicting a government on the verge of collapse, scrambling to reorganize and desperately trying to contain and maintain order. When President Snow makes his announcement regarding this year’s conditions for the Hunger Games, I couldn’t help but shake my head, thinking, “How pathetic.” The fine line that exists for this ruling is readily apparent: It could easily portray the power of the Capitol or it could just as easily depict its weaknesses. It’s a risky gamble, which in itself shows how desperate the Capitol is trying to patch up the cracks.

My main complaint regarding the first book was Collins’s failure to portray and even name the other tributes in the Hunger Games, which made their deaths seem insignificant. At least in this installment, Collins gives the reader a better glimpse of these other characters. Yes some are still unnamed, but she does develop them and gives them various attributes, such as the pair from District 6. I also enjoyed the descriptions of “finicky” Finnick. ;-) But when you get to the descriptions of the deaths of some of these secondary characters, they’re not as easily dismissed and written off, but highlight the gravity of the situation. I’m glad Collins does this.

I’m also glad that the romantic bits aren’t the main driving force that’s holding the book together, like many of the young adult novels coming out now. This series has much more substance, which I quite like. But as for Katniss’s love triangle, I find it a bit uneven. It’s understandable that Peeta’s character is more built up than Gale’s, but as this is a story told from Katniss’s point of view, I’m having a hard time really trusting Gale’s character. Most of the information that the reader learns about Gale comes from Katniss’s own recounts; and when they do interact, the dialogue isn’t very substantial. I don’t think I’m getting a full depiction of his character… that the Gale that’s seen is more of an idealized version described by Katniss. I can’t help but feel that Gale’s a ticking time bomb with an aggressive streak… not necessarily physically dangerous, but still capable of creating some sort of disturbance.

In terms of content, the book’s great. However, the editing was badly done. I found a number of awkward sentences and some that were even missing words. For instance, “Oh, you’re one who—” when it should be, “Oh, you’re [the] one who—.” I’m hoping that Mockingjay is edited better.