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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review : Catching fire

I was confused about my feelings for this book during my reading hours with it. Now that I've completed it my confusions have been abated. More so, I've become altruistic with the series. Such was the power of the story, both during the days leading to the games and the final seventy pages. The ending just took it to another level.  BEWARE : SPOILERS AHEAD

The story begins with Katniss Everdeen, having won the hunger games visits each district for the Victory Tour. Things have changed a lot. She no longer knows the meanings of the words poverty and hunger. Peeta has turned his back on Katniss with her revelation that she acted to love him during the games. Gale, having seen Katniss-Peeta relationship and the romance throughout the games, has become distant with her.

President Snow visits her on the day she's to start the tour. He threatens to hurt her family if she cannot prove to the districts beyond doubt that it was her love and devotion for Peeta which made her attempt to poison herself at the end of the games. She gets scared but has to go on the tour. The turning point of the story comes when she visits district 11, the home of her friend Rue. She delivers a moving speech at the end of which she hears an old man whistle Rue's song and the audience unite in silence to salute her the same way she did on Rue's death. She and Peeta witness the whistler being taken away by the Peacekeepers and the gunshot that ends his life. The tour ends in Capitol where Peeta continues his starling ways by proposing to her during the interview. She has no choice but to accept, and in her head she is doing everything to keep her family safe.

After returning to District 12, one fine day when she goes to the lake that showers her with fond memories of her father, she meets two runaways from District 8 from whom she learns that they were attacked by the Capitol, and the theory that District 13 might not have been wiped out at all. The runaways back their theory up with the footage in the news showing District 13  is stock and that no new news came out of it.

Quarter Quell, the games that occur every 25 years throws up a surprise in that the competitors from each district will be chosen from the previous winners. Katniss being the only girl from District 12 to win the games decides her fate has been written to completion by the Capitol. During the raffle, Haymich gets selected in the men category to which Peeta volunteers as planned. It was during a dinner at the capitol leading to the games that Katniss notes the watch worn by the head game maker Plutarch Heavensbee emanates a  Mockingjay symbol and becomes intrigued but fails to follow up. She also is communicated a way to identify the force field by her friends Beetee and Wiress from District 3 .

Katniss follows what Haymitch advised her, forms alliances and gives everything to see Peeta gets out alive, even if it means her end. What happens in the games, the allegiances and the final blow that comes from destroying the main force field, the feeling she gets every time Peeta kisses her and the final revelations from Gale forms a solid ending to the middle book in the series.

High points : The positives go with improved characterization of Katniss and Peeta and introducing Finnick Odair who shows heroic aura in both physically and mentally helping Katniss throughout the games. 
Low points : Again the world. Although the book and the trilogy has been classified as science fiction, the world Suzanne Collins creates doesn't have enough depth. I could see many stories written for The Hyperion world, the Niven's or even star-wars' for that matter, but not here.
Rating : 8.0/10 
In the end :  I feel the author made the world to adore a story that is symbolic of an authoritative forces working to remove freedom of mankind while building a hero who rises to save them all. If this is what the author had thought, then I know I am in for another awesome book in Mockingjay. Go for it.