I promise a recap of Historic Road Trip soon. But first I wanted to talk about The Hunger Games
I came to the party late. The O Man finished the book a while ago and was dying to see the movie. Since I have a strict “you haven’t read the book so you’re not seeing the movie” policy, I had to read the book before I could take him. The one problem with this plan is that I know The Rookie and J would want to go along. Seeing as how The Rookie is not ready to read such a book, we decided to listen to the audiobook on the first leg of the road trip.
Mom was worried about our choice…she wasn’t sold on a book about kids slaughtering each other, but she agreed. By the end, we were hooked. So hooked that we downloaded Catching Fire, the next book in the series, at a rest area on the way to Niagara Falls.
And this is where I am starting to loose interest. The second book of a series always suffers from Sophomore Syndrome, just like second albums. You put it all into the first book, and then a publisher is breathing down your neck for the next one. You might not have plotted out what happens after, in this day of the three book deal, you would think you would have to, but it can be a tall order. Catching Fire suffers from a lack of knowing exactly where it wants to go. True, I am only little more than half way through it. True, the third book might blow my socks off. But I read this book thinking the whole time that she wrote the wrong book.
SPOILER ALERT!!! I will talk about the second book which will ruin some of the first book for you if you haven’t read it. If you haven’t and thought you might DON’T READ ANY MORE OF THIS!
This book should not have been about them being sent back into the Games. As much as I appreciate the creativity of the new arena, I don’t want to go through the Games again. Not because I am worried about Katniss living through them, but because its been done, and done well. I don’t care about the former Victors. I am tired of her beating me over the head with the fact that Katniss intends to make sure Peeta wins. She is so heavy handed you just want to yell, “I get it” at the book. Maybe the end will redeem this for me, but I doubt it.
The book I wanted to read was the one about the Games, but from the safety of the Capital: watching Katniss and Peeta mentor Tributes.
Don’t you wonder what the spectacle is like from the other side of the glass? What kind of sick parties do the people in the Capital have? How does the whole Sponsors thing play out? Do the Game Makers watch 24/7? One at a time? All at once? Wouldn’t you like to watch Katniss and Peeta mentor young Tributes? We would see them deal with the politics in the Capital, fight to win sponsors, process the guilt of being responsible for someone else’s life, figure out ways to help them in the arena. THAT would have been an extremely interesting book. She could have ramped up the tension by putting one of Gale’s siblings, or Madge, as Tribute.
Since she is so insistent on the love triangle, I guess she could have worked that in as well. If Gale’s sibling was in the arena, she could have had him staying at her house in the Victor’s Village, talking strategy with him on the telephone there.
Speaking of the Love Triangle, I know that this is a YA novel, which almost requires the girl be the object of many affections, but I’m so over this one. I don’t really know enough about Gale to route for him. Peeta is so good it’s almost too much. And I have a problem with the idea that Gale and Katniss spent most of their adolescence in the woods alone together and they never once let their hormones out to play? Do you remember being 15…16…17? Do you really think that a boy like Gale wouldn’t have made a move if he was interested? I don’t. So that whole side of the triangle reads false to me. Can’t get past it.
Back to the plot. The uprisings in the districts could have played out in the Capital as the Games were happening. We could watch the the Game Makers manipulate the Games to punish the Tributes from the wayward Districts. The true Revolution could then come on strong in the 3rd book (I’m assuming that happens in the 3rd anyway).
Instead, she put the two of them back in the Games. She wants to turn them into figureheads of the revolution. That’s a nice idea, but you just feel like the Games are a way of filling time because she isn’t really sure how to make them leaders of a Revolution. Again, I’m not at the end yet, but I don’t anticipate being wowed. If I am, I will let you know.
I’ll finish Catching Fire, and then move on to Mocking Jay. I can’t see me giving up on these the way I did with the sequels to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But I think I will always crave something more.
Oh well, what do I know?
I’d been waiting to read this post till I finished the books. I totally agree about Catching Fire! I said the same things to Diana as I was reading it. We already knew how being in the games changed her character. We didn’t need to see it again. She could have set up the next novel just as easily with Katniss and Peeta as mentors in book 2.