Friday, August 27, 2010

Catching Fire and Mockingjay (by Suzanne Collins)

I hope I got her name right this time.

I read these books in one giant gulp, one right after another, the day after I finished Hunger Games. First was Catching Fire, which felt like a total retread until, suddenly, it didn't anymore. (And I loved the wheel-and-spokes design thing. I am trying to be vague so as not to spoil anything.) It also, in hindsight, feels like a lot of setup for the third book. I was disappointed we didn't get the scene of the immediate aftermath of book one, though. Instead it skipped forward quite a bit. But I enjoyed it just as much as Hunger Games, and was just as riveted.

I'm not sure quite how I feel about Mockingjay, though. There are so many elements about it I liked (and now I will do spoiler code; highlight to read). I liked the fact that the people who had been through the Games and the war were, to a large extent, irretrievably broken. I liked that District 13 was kind of a creepy place, far from a utopia.

The things I liked less: To the extent that I cared about the "love triangle" at all, I figured Katniss thought of Peeta as more like a brother, and Gale was her true love. When Gale's weapon killed Prim (which, I HATE YOU, SUZANNE COLLINS, FOR KILLING PRIM but the fact that Katniss would blame Gale for it and never forgive him made sense) I figured Katniss would end up alone. Which would have fit in with the message of the rest of the trilogy. Instead, she marries Pita (sorry, I can't help it) and then has some babies that he had to talk her into for years? Which, what? It was strange. I also thought it was strange that nobody even told her she was on trial, or talked to her at all, she was just... in this room by herself for months? And the trial happened offscreen? Very odd. And what she ends up doing with her life is BASICALLY SCRAPBOOKING. Katniss. SCRAPBOOKING. Does not compute.

So, I don't know. It probably means I liked Mockingjay the least of the three, but I still admire what Collins did with the trilogy. It's bold and tense and wonderfully dark. I'm glad I read it.


Blogger Beth said...

I also just read the whole trilogy. I agree with you completely about Catching Fire ... it really wasn't that great, until suddenly at the end it was awesome. I was so tired of the love triangle.

I really liked Mockingjay and did not have the same problems with it that you had. For one, I always hoped Katniss would end up with the person she ended up with (I can't do spoiler tags in a comment!) because the other person was not the person who was going to be able to make her happy in the long run. And as for children, she was really clear, every time she said she did not plan to ever have children, that it was because she could not face letting her children be tributes. (There was even something about the children of past victors being disproportionally represented in future games.)

So I think what Spoiler had to convince her of was that the games were really gone for good, not that having children would otherwise be a good thing.

6:56 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Ian started reading the series on my recommendation and he was like, "Man, Catching Fire has kind of a dumb plot..." but we'll see what he thinks at the end.

I'm glad Mockingjay worked better for you! I can see your point about her reason for not having kids, but maybe I need to read it again. It kind of sounded like he nagged her into it and she didn't sound that happy. But I agree that Spoiler being the dandelion (or whatever that metaphor was) made sense. I did like the darkness of it, and the idea that they could never be whole again.

6:06 PM  

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