Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Catching Fire -- Review/Musings/Contemplation

NOTE: Some vague-ish spoilers... If you haven't read the book yet and plan to... I leave it up to you.

Recently, I read “Catching Fire” – the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy - by Suzanne Collins. It’s one of those books that make me want to pick up a pen and work on my own novel. It has a lot of the things I love in a book: corrupt government, rebellion, uncertainty (in choosing sides of a battle AND in choosing a love…) and filled me with an irrepressible urge to squeal like an idiot at the end of each chapter.

That said, there were a few things I wasn’t… ‘ecstatic’ about. Things that made me remember other things I’d forgotten from the first book (which I also immensely enjoyed… Or I think I did. It’s been a while).

Mainly, I think, it’s Katniss. Although there may be a few other things I can’t really put a name to… She’s a strong character, she’s committed to her loved ones… And her witty sarcasm made me grin. But I kept hitting a snag; a burr in her character that made me, at least, cringe a bit.

Every so often, I couldn’t help but think to myself that Katniss seems kind of self-centered, selfish, etc. Using Peeta, wanting to keep Peeta but still wanting Gale, hurting both of them and others, making fun of her prep crew, and other things like that I can’t think of right now.

Not to mention that trait of hers where she takes the uncertainty I love and overdoes it like a Twilight Fan on premiere night of the newest movie.

Rebellion’s bad. She’ll help stop it. Rebellion’s good! She wants it to happen! She doesn’t want to help; she’ll run away. She’ll take Gale! She’ll leave Gale. She’ll stay, she’ll help rebellion. She’ll be with Gale forever and ever! She’ll marry Peeta, and be with him forever. Trust victors, don’t trust them, trust them again! This inner conflict is okay up to a certain extent, but I like the characters I read about to have some convictions, and Katniss was starting to come across as fickle and/or a push over, doing whatever she was told to.

Yet, she actually acknowledges most of these things. More than once, she expresses regrets about the way she treats people, thinks of herself as selfish and cruel, and in other ways bemoans what an awful person she is. I’m not sure if that makes her a stronger character, or a weaker one. :/

I’m rather indecisive about Katniss… Maybe I just feel like she’s annoying and selfish in comparison to the selfless, oft-strong characters around her. Haymitch, who’s a million times more deep and caring than you’d first guess. Cinna, who makes her shine and is so much more epic than the rest of her silly prep team. Peeta… Well, Peeta’s not my favorite character, either, with that tendency of his to drop bombshells unexpectedly. But he’s always so devoted to her… Gale, her mother and Prim, Madge, and all these other characters who surround her, try to keep her safe, help her… Everything seems to center around Katniss… And honestly I’m not sure she deserves it yet.

Well… Even with my misgivings about Katniss… I love the books so far. They inspire me, and captivate me, and perhaps Katniss can redeem herself in my eyes in Mockingjay, when it comes out.

For now… I should probably be focusing more on my own characters. T-T

What do you think of the book? Of Katniss? Of the other characters? Is it just me who thinks the two main characters are actually some of my least favorite ones? :(

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