Thursday, 25 March 2010

Catching Fire

Last year I was completely taken by surprise by a phenomenon called The Hunger Games. Suddenly, every blog I had subscribed to was writing about it, there was simply no escaping this thrilling trilogy by Suzanne Collins, a YA author who has rightfully earned her place amongst the ranks of JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer.

I read the first part of the trilogy, The Hunger Games, last Christmas and was completely blown away by it. I have to admit that although I enjoyed the Twilight series more than I care to say, I’m still a little skeptical when it comes to Young Adult (YA) fiction seeing as I’m no spring chicken anymore and require more than first loves and growing pains to tickle my fancy but this novel was so exciting and refreshing that I finished it almost immediately. YA or no YA, it’s just plain good.

The first part introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a kick-ass heroine who lives in a very bleak post-apocalyptic world where a powerful government, the Capitol, has risen up after several devastating disasters. Every year a televised event is organized where the ruthless and evil Capitol randomly selects one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts, who then have to battle to the death until only one remains. The survivor gets to save their family from ruin and their district from starvation.

This book is basically the literary equivalent of a well-crafted blockbuster if such a thing actually exists; it’s full or surprising twists and turns, engaging characters and non-stop action. The story was original and fresh, aided by Collins fluent and captivating prose that simply makes you want to curl up on the couch and stay there until the novel’s finished. Slowly but surely, I’m becoming a true believer in the astonishing quality (and quantity) of YA fiction and will be the first to admit that studying English Literature may have in fact turned me into a literary snob.

Catching Fire is the sequel to The Hunger Games and a great one as far as sequels go. Without giving too much away like the almost mandatory teenage love triangle and a little torture here and there, I’ll just say that it deals with the shocking aftermath of Katniss’ rebellious act that made her win the Games and gives us a little more insight in her gruelling world. Seeing as it’s a trilogy we already know that Katniss will survive all the horrific events the Capitol faces her with in the first two installments otherwise there would be no Mockingjay, part three which will be released in August. And as soon as I can get my hands on a copy, nobody is allowed to bother me.

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