Catching Fire

Several factors conspired to have me read the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy so quickly after the first one. There are some reviews I want to read and can’t until I’ve caught up. There’s a movie coming out this spring, and who knows how they’ll dole out spoilers? Amazon Prime has a feature that lets you rent one book a month free from the Kindle store, and the whole trilogy was on the list, and I have not for the life of me been able to find the second or third book used anywhere. (Mainly because of that movie announcement, I’m sure.) So you, see, that’s a lot of things!

Oh, and okay, I may have glossed over one of them unfairly. See, early this month, a couple of tremendously awesome people presented me with a Kindle Touch, all out of the blue! I have only read this and about a third of another book on it so far, so I have no idea where I will eventually land in the dead tree wars. But I can say that the device is extremely pleasant to use and doesn’t feel the least bit weird relative to reading from a book. It is even superior in some ways, e.g., no worries about holding the book open in a damage-free way, much harder to lose your page via random movement flaws (and even when it happens, you haven’t moved far, as opposed to the book is just closed and you have to find it), built-in dictionary functionality (this is cooler than you might think, even when you have a good vocabulary), and there’s even a thing where you can a) mark up a passage for later perusal / footnoting and b) enable the ability to find passages that lots of other readers have similarly noted. Lots of readers, in the case of this particular book, are teenage girls in search of romance. Which, y’know, fits. The main inferiority I notice with the Kindle versus dead tree books is probably quirky to me, but I miss the ability to use my appointment cards as bookmarks such that I don’t lose track of my upcoming schedule[1], and I miss the ability to put my movie stubs in the book I was currently reading when I watched the movie, because of how there is a personal archaeology scattered throughout my bookshelves and now I don’t really know what to do with them instead.

But I suppose I should say a word or three about Catching Fire itself? On the whole, I still liked it, though I share concerns I’ve seen elsewhere that it was less good than The Hunger Games. It is, I think not purposefully, a study on how history can decide who is important despite what that person may desire, despite even what they personally have done. Anyone can be a symbol at any time and for any reason. Because the truth of the matter is that Katniss is all over the place in this book, penduluming between self-sufficiently effective, petulantly stubborn, and (most frequently) blindly clueless. The latter is the most annoying because I refuse to buy into the “but she’s just a teenager” defense. The same hard life that made her so likable to me in the first book (not to mention so plausibly successful in the Games) makes it impossible for me to believe she’s this unaware of the way her world and the people in it work. And so she seems to stumble from one event to the next when I’m quite sure that she should be making choices. I’m not sure those choices should be good every time, but the fact is that the girl who stepped up to sacrifice herself for her sister in the opening scenes of the first book should not be gradually losing agency with each new chapter. That is the wrong lesson!

Also, I wanted the Quarter Quell section of the book to be a much higher percentage than it was, for what will be obvious reasons if you have already read this and spoiler proof if you have not.

[1] It has been pointed out to me, with some amount of audible disbelief, that there are electronic solutions to schedule-keeping.

One thought on “Catching Fire

  1. Pingback: Shards of Delirium » Mockingjay

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