So, Catching Fire. What a quick read. I picked it up right after finishing my post yesterday, read for a couple of hours, and then finished this afternoon. This isn’t a bad thing. I’ve been pretty busy lately and find that I can’t devote as much attention to reading as I used too. So it’s nice to have a book that I can plow through so quickly.
I wont bore you with the details of how I came to read this book. It’s the next logical step after reading The Hunger Games. So instead, I give you the cover image and a warning of spoilers.
**Warning: Here there be spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk.
So I picked up the book, and was pleased to find evidence for two of my claims. My first claim was that Katniss would have a difficult time reconnecting with Gale due to what she suffered in the Games. That her trauma would make it hard to talk to him, since he had not been there, not experienced it with her.
This was shown early on, when Katniss rather bluntly mentions it.
The only time I really get to see Gale now is on Sundays, when we meet up in the woods to hunt together. It’s still the best day of the week, but it’s not like it used to be before, when we could tell each other anything. The Games have spoiled even that.
I also made the prediction that Katniss would be suffering from some form of PTSD, in deed I believe she already is by the end of the book. This is also true, and rather blatant. There is no denying it. Along with nightmares, which Katniss wakes from 2-3 times a night; screaming, there are also the occasional flashbacks.
She’s leaning a bit forward on the toes of her shiny white books like she’s almost about to take flight, like–
Bam! It’s like someone actually hits me in the chest. No one has, of course, but the pain is so real I take a step back. I squeeze my eyes shut and I don’t see Prim–I see Rue, the twelve-year-old girl from District 11 who was my ally in the arena.
This girl, Katniss, is suffering. She’s experience a traumatic event and now has to pay for it. She pays for it in haunting memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and her inability to really talk to anyone other than Peeta or Haymitch. Every time she finds out new information, or gets a threat for President Snow she conceals it from her family. Her first thought is to go to Haymitch or Peeta. She does tell Gale, but does so because she is still clinging to what she’s already lost. She can’t accept that she can’t have him, that they can’t even really talk anymore, so she continues to reach out to him. This is understandable. It’s reminds me of all the times I would revisit my old schools after I graduated. I know they will never be the same, that they’re different now, and not as welcome feeling. But I still visit, still cling to the hope that I can regain there what I lost.
The plot chugs along and I find myself confused at to there the book is going. Does the author mean to have Katniss start a rebellion? Perhaps.
What I was not expecting was for the winning tributes to be called back into the arena.
There is very little information given about the Quarter Quell. I am told that it happens every 25 years, and that twice the number of tributes are chosen. What I am not told, is why, when the decision is made to recall the former champions, they do not still pull names for the other 24 tributes.
I was under the understand that it was similar to the games, only that 46 people would be participating. Instead they only recall the champions. This is fine, but I would have appreciated a more solid explanation.
I will say that this time around, Collins did a much better job, and did not try to leave hulking bread crumbs at every turn. Instead she mentions something like “I turned, and realized I had missed X, this important thing.” This makes the story less jarring, and I don’t find myself yelling at Katniss for being stupid and overlooking stuff again, because I don’t notice it either until she does.
There is still more angst. Again, Katniss loves jumping at all the wrong conclusions, and to make matters worse, she now can’t decide if she wants Gale or Peeta. She can’t seem to realize that she needs Peeta, it’s as if her body and heart love him, and her mind just hasn’t figured it out yet. She wants him near all the time, worries for him constantly, and so on and so forth. But she still seems to struggle between the two. I see it as an obvious choice, but I was never under the impression that Gale was a romantic interest anyway. It was clear in the start that Katniss and Gale were only friends. So why now, that she’s falling for Peeta, should she consider Gale? Especially when he wasn’t a consideration before?
Otherwise, the story is fantastic. I was horrified at their return to the arena, and gripped enough to keep reading. I didn’t cry this time, but I didn’t put the book down for long either.
Anyway, I find that Collins’ writing improved greatly with this book, while here character’s remained believable and realistic. She still manages to put enough personality into side characters, that we get upset if harm comes to them (like Cinna).
I wont be moving on to Mocking Jay for a while. It will be another week at least, but that gives me plenty of time to do some movie reviews, and don’t forget Skyfire, book two of Song of the Summer King!