Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Hunger Game Series: Catching Fire (Book 2) & Mockingjay (Book 3)


Catching Fire was an excellent follow up to The Hunger Games, may even surpass it in quality, but not by much.  Even though I predicted what would happen at the end (I was only off by a small margin) I still enjoyed the book very much.  Collins puts Katniss & Peeta (still dislike this name) back in the Hunger Games Arena and the new traps and dangers are just as compelling as in the 1st book. Acid Death Rain, Crazed Killer Monkey's, Psychotic Mimic Birds designed to drive one crazy, just very creative scenes. Collins has a wonderful, furtive imagination and again I am very happy with the direction she took. I know this is a YA novel and the love triangle has to be in it for all the star cross loved teenage girls, but it is, in my opinion, what keeps this book from being  great.  Though I think Collins does a nice job of keeping it from being utterly annoying and ridiculous, it is still there and prominent.  This book signals the beginning of the rebellion and of course Katniss is unwittingly drawn into it.  The set up for book 3, Mockingjay, is a bit predictable as I stated but none-the-less one
the reader cannot help but be giddy with anticipation.
Mockingjay is what I expected it to be.  Katniss saved from the Games and brought to District 13 where survivors have been living underground since the 1st uprising.  I knew District 13 was going to have some intricate part in this series.  They way it was mentioned in book 1 you could tell there was foreshadowing of its importance.  And of course there was.  What I like is Collins does a great job of proving that even the good guys can be bad.  A controlled state is still a controlled state no matter the intentions.  In District 13 they have to follow stringent orders, schedules, step out of line and you pay for it.  It isn't as harsh as the Capitol but the president, Coin, is a tyrant just the same as Snow.  Katniss escapes the Arena with the help of Plutarch (gamekeeper), Finnick, Beetee and Johanna.  All unknown to her and Peeta is this master plan.  Peeta gets left behind to be captured by the Capitol while Katniss is brought to District 13's underground city.  She learns that District 12 is completely destroyed the same way 13 was during the 1st rebellion.  Her mother and sister are safe as well as Gale (of course he is, can't have a love triangle with only 2).  Book 3 feels rushed and untidy, (kind of like my review), like Collins used up all her creativity and talent in the 1st 2 books and just wanted to get through this last one.  There were some really great parts, but I think the 'eh' factor overpowered those great, but sparse moments.  I feel Collins sold out and the ending was so bland, it really pissed me off.  Had she killed Katniss off instead of her sister, I think that would've made for a more emotionally charged, and more fitting, ending.  Prim becoming a strong leader in honour of her sister's sacrifice, inspiring the districts to form as one country again.  Reaping Day could've become Katniss Everdeen Day, etc.  But we got the sell-out version with an ending not worthy of the series.
Overall I will say the series was a great read.  Entertaining and compelling for the most part.  It isn't fluff, but it isn't great literature either.  I won't lump it in with fast food lit either, it's more casual dining lit.  Let me explain, if I can, lol.  Fast food lit is BK, McD's, Wendy's, etc.  It's quick, fills a need but not quite satisfying (step above fluff).  Casual dining lit is more your Chili's, Outback's, Flannigan's and the like.  You can get a decent meal at a good price but it will never be fine dining, but will always be better than fast food.  Make sense?  It does in my crazy head. LOL.  At any rate, this series is, in my opinion, Casual Dining Lit and I do recommend it b/c overall it is a really good read.  I give the whole series XX1/2 out of XXX.  As for individual book ratings I give books 1 & 2 XX and book 3 - X.  Stay Booked! Happy Reading!

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