Thursday, February 6, 2014

Catching Fire: Book Response

Oh where to even begin... I finished listening to this book the other night when I pulled my all nighter to finish a painting.  So the book has had a couple of days to bounce around in my head.  I have not jumped into the third book yet because... well I'll get to that.

I would say that I like this book a LOT better than the first one- since Collins was not establishing characters and setting as much the beginning moved a lot faster, which I liked because I get really impatient with books that start slowly... though I do have a rule that if I start a book I will finish it.  (Though I know there is a fantasy book I read the first chapter of and then had to return to the library... but I do not remember the name of it... so I may have broken my rule there).

One of the things that I both loved and hated about it was the overhanging mood of melancholy- it was really neat that book had such a distinct feel to it- but it also was a little hard to get through because it just felt so sad.  (not that hard to get through I think it only took me 2 days to read) I am constantly more and more amazed by Collins ability to show such visual and emotional elements through text.  It is part of what keeps drawing me back to these little books.

So overall I would say I loved it- it was a well written story with interesting characters.  As a book it is something I think everyone should read.  As a story- well that is where I get mixed on- I love that I hate it? Is that the right way to phrase that?  Collins has created characters that I care about.  I care about their lives- I care about what happens next in their lives- but I have a very real hatred for the Capital... well not the capital itself- most of the people who live there come across as very silly children who are so spoiled that the are oblivious to the rest of the world.  But the leadership of the capital I have a very big issue with.  President Snow is just so... evil.  (Though at the same time I feel like there is a lot more going on behind the scenes; but I just cannot place what it is).  In any case- the feelings I have towards the characters are very real and I admire the writing for that.

The best moment for me in the book was the very end when Gale tells Katniss that district 12 has been bombed.  'Cause I completely missed that in the movie somehow.  So it really surprised me.


Okay; now for some of my issues with the book.  Katniss... She is one of my favorite teenage heroines
that I have ever read.  Her desire and ability to protect people around her is amazing. My issue? She seems sometimes to be incredibly quick and perceptive- and other times; really dense.  Which is a 16 year old trait- but sometimes I wish she would just get things faster.  The good news is- she does end up figuring out most things in the end- even if the way she 'figures out' some things is by being told outright... (It is her suspicious nature I think that ultimately makes it so hard for her to figure out that people would truly fight against the capital).  This is my only complaint about the book- and it isn't really even that much of a complaint- because Katniss is steadily Katniss; which is a really good thing- makes the character feel real.  All I'm saying is that it would be nice to see her pick up on things faster.

Movie vs Book

Obviously they two formats are different- and one cannot tell everything in a movie that is in a book.  In the book Katniss sees a lot more of the rebellion starting- I wish that she had been able to see more of it in the movie.  The movie shows the tour and then the reaping- it leaves out a lot of little things that Katniss notices and stumbles into between the two.  There is a scene in the woods where she runs across some refugees from another district- the two woman explain to her that she has become a symbol of freedom and rebellion- that the mockingjay has become that symbol.  It was a good moment in the book because Katniss is shown how her actions have seriously impacted the world.  I can understand why they left it out (time and there were other indications that the uprising was starting) but I really would've liked to have seen that in the book.  Also the changes to district twelves peacekeeper force was really better done in the book.  The movie kinda glossed over that- just showing the part where Gale was whipped.
I think my biggest frustration between the two is that they really limited the characters in the movie.  Katniss's mother and sister are really really cool in the book and kinda brushed over in the movie.  The interaction with peacekeepers in the book is far more dynamic, and they left Madge (daughter of district twelves mayor and Katniss's best friend) out entirely.  Gale's younger siblings are rather missing from the movie as well... Which shifts Gale's character a little bit from this tough kid who is going to protect his family no matter what- to kind of a love sick fool whose only thought is Katniss.  The movie rather oversimplifies who everyone is by leaving out so much.
I guess what I'm saying is that I think that this would've been a far more successful tv series (like game of thrones) then a series of four movies.

Book three
I am honestly hesitant to read this book for 2 reasons- first; I read a synopsis a few years ago- and I remember it did not go well for anyone in that book, and second; even without reading that synopsis the second book ends in such a way that I cannot imagine that the third book will be very happy.  So... it may be a little bit before I pick it up.

I would say the book is defiantly worth reading.  It is a harsh story- but very interesting and well written.


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