Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins

catching fire cover

Welcome to The Hunger Games All Stars: the Peeta Bread Boy show! Having survived the Hunger Games thanks to some quick thinking on Katniss' part, Peeta is baking his feels and painting, because he's the sensitive artist type. Meanwhile, Haymitch is drinking his feels and Katniss... no one's quite sure what Katniss is doing. Luckily she has Peeta! Peeta makes everything better, as evidenced by this graph:

x y peeta graph

As you can see, the amount of time Katniss spends with Peeta is directly related to how likable she is, and in Catching Fire she and Peeta spend a lot of time together. So much time, because President Snow isn't convinced they're really in love. BUT THEY ARE YOU GUYS. They just don't know it yet.

Anyway. It took me a long time to read Catching Fire because I was meh about The Hunger Games–both the book and the movie–and then I discovered through a Sesame Street skit of all things that Peeta and Katniss go back to the Hunger Games. At first I thought they were joking, but then the Internet confirmed that they weren't. At which point I was just like, "Yeahhhhhhhhh. Nope."

Like seriously, back to the Hunger Games? The first time wasn't enough? It then took me a good long while to even work up enough fucks to watch the movie. I would consider watching it, and then I would remember they go back to the Hunger Games, and I would decide to do something else like wash the dishes. Surprisingly, however, I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit when I finally did watch it; and when I hit on a I've-been-meaning-to-read-that jag recently, I decided to pick up the book as well.

Like the movie, Catching Fire the novel is a big improvement over The Hunger Games the novel. For one thing, there's a lot of Peeta in it. I've said before that Peeta's the heart of the series, and this book is probably the most emotionally resonant of the entire trilogy. Peeta's totally sweet and swoonable and I just want to hug his little face.

kiss you and love you and hug you to death

Aside from Peeta, there's a lot more wry humor in Catching Fire than I remember being in The Hunger Games. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

I find myself in the position to console them. Since I'm the person going in to be slaughtered, this is somewhat annoying.

Yes, it's great to have allies as long as you ignore the fact that you'll have to kill them.

I really can't think about kissing when I've got a rebellion to incite.

Good call. Remain focused.

"My nightmares are usually about losing you," [Peeta] says. "I'm okay once I realize you're here."

That last quote is my absolute favorite. It's the perfect summation of Peeta and Katniss' relationship.

There are also cool new characters introduced in Catching Fire, like Finnick and Johanna, who for some reason reminded me of Katy Perry (also, why is she the only person with a normal name?).

So yes, I finally get why everyone was so obsessed with The Hunger Games after Catching Fire came out. It tells a much better story (although there are some boring stretches when Peeta's not around), with more humor and personality. It doesn't feel stiff or mechanical like The Hunger Games did; it actually reads like a human being wrote it! I enjoy books by humans. And while most cliffhangers annoy me, this one's a killer.

Next up, my review of Mockingjay!

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