Title/Author: Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
Publisher: Scholastic Press.
Favorite character: Katniss.
Favorite quote: “Some walks you have to take alone. “ ~Katniss, Mockingjay.
All in all: The Hunger Games series is one of the most powerful and thought provoking stories I have ever read. Real or not real? Real.
Synopsis:Catching Fire-Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph. Instead, they have become the poster boys for a rebellion that they never planned to lead. That new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by The Capitol. ~Goodreads.com
Mockingjay-Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. ~Goodreads.com My Thoughts:
I wasn’t sure I was going to write about Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I read and reviewed The Hunger Games and everyone seems to have read the whole series, reviewed them and loved them. ‘Nuff said, right?
But this story is so moving and touching, bittersweet and exciting, that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to express a few of my thoughts.
I read Catching Fire so fast that I was at the end before I realized it. Surprise after surprise had me glued to the pages. ***SPOILER ALERT: At first I was disappointed because they were going back in the Games and that had been done. But the excitement and intrigue soon swept over me. The stakes were higher. The action captured me. It also truly worked well within the plot. :END SPOILER ALERT***
The strength of these stories is not only the author’s words, but where she places them. Every scene is intrical, every sentence revealing, every thought strong. I feel that Collins is a master of psychology, of plot and of people. I hesitate to call Katniss, Peeta, Galen, and the rest who populate the series “characters” because they seem more alive than that. They have life breathed into them and possess real emotions, accurate behaviors and astute observations.
Kat is probably one of the most memorable characters I have ever read. She is clever, cautious and so very, very honest. She has to be mistrustful and to a point, conniving. She admits she hates everything including herself and that she is not motivated by kindness. What’s good for the goose, Kat can’t quite make good for the gander. She knows this. She doesn’t necessarily like it about herself, but that is who she is. Why do I love her? Because it is apparent to me that despite all these "flaws" she is vulnerable and frightened and her actions stem from trying to protect the people she cared about.
If Mockingjay started out a bit slow for me, it might have been that I was used to the pace of Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I usually don’t like info dumps because I want to be shown what is going on, but I was still interested in learning about the elusive and mysterious District 13. I also liked the list of “simple truths” recited by Kat that was used as a plot device and to convey the most important elements that had occurred. Another plot device that is used more than a few times is that Kat is unconscious several times and wakes to events. Again, I would have liked to have been shown what happened, but this tool works as a quick way to move the action along and have events settled into place.
***SPOILER ALERT: And sure Kat is safe now in District 13. Isn’t she? She is the face of the Rebellion. The Mockingjay. The inspiration for the public. But District 13’s President Coin is pragmatic and ruthless. Perhaps not as evil as President Snow, Coin nonetheless also sees Kat as a threat and a liability to her plans as well. I was frustrated, not with the author, but with what happens to Kat. Whether she is in The Hunger Games or the face of the rebellion, her role is the same. She is playing a part. I couldn’t help thinking of the lyrics from The Who song Won’t Get Fooled Again, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” :END SPOILER ALERT***
Questions were answered without being too simplistic. There were no loose ends. As a reader, this is one of the most important things to me about a book. I don't mind wondering, but I don't like being left confused. I feel that the trilogy answered what I needed to know without spelling it out in an obvious way.
Even the covers of all three books in this series capture the heart of the novels and symbolize the messages perfectly. They are part futuristic with a simple, yet strong design. They remind me of flags which are symbolic in themselves, representations of a group of people or an ideal. They fit the tone and feel of the writing. There is nothing elaborate about them, but they are powerful and original.
I have been recommending these books to people who are in turn becoming fans, which is a very satisfying feeling. I think the characters, the plot and the strategies in these books are some of the most superior storytelling I have come across. And this is something that appeals to people no matter what genre they enjoy.