Week 11: Catching Fire & Mockingjay


Well, I said I was going to do it.

My husband suggested that doing a follow up to my Hunger Games post might be cheating… but I’m here to remind you that this is my blog. Mine. No one else’s.

Ok, fine. It’s Laurel’s too. But she said this was allowed, so it’s allowed.

Our blog. Our rules.

[be warned: spoilers ahead if you’ve never read the series!]

I love The Hunger Games, but Catching Fire is my favorite. It certainly doesn’t suffer from second-book slump. Catching Fire takes everything it’s predecessor does and improves it – the Capitol is more horrifyingly extravagant, the districts are more desperate and desolate. And once I re-started the series, I had to finish it again.

At the start of Catching Fire, Katniss is dealing with Gale and Peeta, who are both acting super wounded after the fake romance in the games. But let’s not hate on her for that. The biggest complaint about this series that I’ve heard (other than the obvious problems of children being forced into violence) is “Katniss can’t ever make up her mind about who she wants to be with.” I disagree with this on so many levels.

Let’s be real. Katniss just got out of the arena, and no matter what, she can’t escape from the memories. She’s using all her energy on dealing with the psychological aftermath. I don’t think she’s being unreasonable. I think she’s just worrying about bigger things than the feelings of the men in her life.

Collins is so good at giving her readers emotional turmoil. We feel nervous with Katniss when she realizes she might be responsible for the budding rebellion, and terrified as she learns she’s going back into the games.

Catching Fire is simply excellent. I’d (re)read it any day.

And Mockingjay is great. A lot of trilogies suffer with weak conclusions, but I don’t think that happens at all here. I’m eternally confused by the Mockingjay hate. I think it’s so well done. Foreshadowing from The Hunger Games and Catching Fire plays out well, and Katniss’s character arc is fantastic. The way the rebellion develops is fascinating – I love that the powerful people on each side aren’t just good or evil, especially when it comes to the presidents. Snow is bad, but Coin isn’t necessarily an improvement.

Other than one unnecessary character death (*cough*Finnick*cough*) I’m really happy with how it’s all tied up.

As far as the love triangle, I will always ship Katniss and Peeta. Gale is a bit too selfish and happy about the war for my taste. I actually think he and Katniss are fine as friends, but as romantic partners they’re too similar. (I ship Gale and Joanna. Fight me.) I know Peeta is a bit underwhelming in the movies, but in the book he’s smart, selfless, and actually good in a fight. Plus, his unrelenting goodness is so refreshing when everyone else is making tough decisions. Peeta and Katniss are great together.

This series is so rereadable. Each time I return to Panem, I catch something I never noticed before. And I’m never bored.