Not surprisingly, I gobbled up (no pun intended) the second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, in less than a week. Surprisingly, I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about it. When the book opens, Katniss and Peeta are off on their victory tour through the districts. Of course, here comes their design team to dress them all up again and prepare them for the tour. While I love the design team (Cinna definitely captured my heart), I thought to myself, “I already read this in the first book.” So, right away I was disappointed. And then I wondered, “Is Collins going to drag us through each and every one of the 12 districts?” Because: Boring. But she didn’t, so she redeemed herself there.
But when we’re only a few chapters into the book and the tour is over, then what fills the rest of the pages? Oh, another Hunger Games. She can’t possibly figure out a way to throw Katniss back in to this hot mess that makes sense, can she? Oh, but she can. Granted, it was a surprise to everyone – a completely unorthodox move by the Capitol. However, I’ve already read about the Hunger Games, so again: disappointed. I felt like Collins was taking the easy way out.
Another note: As an editor, it drives me CRAZY that they spell Capitol with an “o.” It’s a city, not just a building. It should be spelled Capital. Who let that get by?
To be fair, I can see why providing us with another Games isn’t completely stupid. We get to see a different environment then the one the Capitol created in the first book. We also get to meet a whole new slew of characters - though not quite as deeply as we could’ve, I don’t think. But another Games? Eh.
However, in the end, there was a scheme to it all. There was a reason, and I have to say it’s a good reason. So, again, Collins redeemed herself. In my opinion, if you cut out some unnecessary sections—and the few “review” pages up front of each book (just assume we read the previous book(s) and move on!)—this series could have been two books instead of three. Though, how many two-book series are there in the world? I’m guessing not too many.
So. I’ll say I liked it. It offers up good characters, it’s easy to read, it’s engaging, and I love Katniss. And maybe after finishing Mockingjay, I’ll like the series as a whole better than each individual part? To be continued...