I haven't read a Young Adult book in over a year, so for me, this was a weird experience. I decided to read Catching Fire because I know the film is coming out soon, and I wanted to read it before then. If anyone reading doesn't know, Catching Fire is the sequel to 'The Hunger Games', and follows the same characters. It was an interesting read, and was very easy compared to the likes of Crime and Punishment.
I'm not sure whether it was better than the first book or not. It's got everything the first book has: the annoying Katniss/Peeta fake romance, the actual Games, the multitude of interesting deaths, the evil President Snow. But Catching Fire had one thing I really liked: the start of the Rebellion. I love dystopian novels, and I love the idea of rebellions in books, so to me, I liked it. It grew from the end of the first book, and led to a massive rebellion that we are yet to see the full effect of (I'm guessing it will be in Mockingjay (Book #3). It was well done, the subtleness of it made if feel like there was tension, and the minor characters that believed in it was something that Suzanne Collins really did well. You felt for the people of Panem, it was dire.
The problem I have with the book, along with the first one, is that I don't really really feel for any of the characters. I feel for the society hardened by having to give up their children every year, but to me, I don't particularly like Katniss, or Peeta, or even Haymitch. To me, there is no reason for me to really love them as characters. There is no connection. Of course, there should be, the series is written in first person, and in such a situation that Katniss finds herself in, you should feel for her. I just don't feel like that is put across.
It's the same with the deaths. There were only a few that really affected me, and these were really only minor characters, like Mags for example. I honestly wouldn't have cared if even Peeta died. I really wouldn't. I don't have that connection that you need with the characters in a novel, especially a dystopian one.
The whole plot line is ingenious though. The start of the rebellion, the layout of the Games, the control by the Peacekeepers, it all pulls together to make one very satisfying plot. I feel like she cheated a bit when using the Games again? I feel like there should have been more she could have written, that didn't include another round of the Games, which seemed slightly repetitive to me. The ending though, shocked me. It was so subtle that I didn't really understand what was happening until right at the last minute, when it was clear there was a bigger picture. It was a good twist, a good, interesting, uniting start to the rebellion.
I've heard very, very mixed reviews of the final book. Will I read it? Most likely. I want to finish the series, just to see what happens, even if it means forgoing another classic for a YA book. But alas, I need a bit of variety don't I?