(Hungered is an ongoing series.)
Interesting. The Hunger Games trilogy is getting good. Very good, in fact. I’m so very suspicious.
Without a doubt Catching Fire (2009) is an improvement on its predecessor. It was more involved and complex, quickly heading in a direction I didn’t expect, namely: this is only going to get a hell of a lot worse.
But I don’t mind that. I’ve never minded dark. So I forged ahead. At first I wasn’t surprised by the first turn of events. Katniss Everdeen is unhappy. I thought, “Well, you’ve just survived something that has scarred you for life.” Of course, having to fake an engagement and losing your best friend is no picnic either.
But that becomes the least of Katniss’s problems. It turns out that being famous is what will do her in and (probably) kill everyone that she loves. Once that threat is introduced it’s obvious that Suzanne Collins is playing for keeps. She is more Rowling than Meyer. Every action Katniss takes from here on out has serious consequences, some of them devastating. Other decisions are made without her knowledge and their outcomes are just as bad.
In short, by the end of the book I’ve read about a bunch of people getting threatened, tortured, beaten, mutilated and- of course- murdered. Near the end Katniss is forced to participate in the Games again, so even more killings take place for the Capitol’s entertainment. Then the Games get blown up. Also, District 12 gets blown up… then the book is over.
Well, before getting into Mockingjay (2010) I’m going to step back for a moment. Here’s what I got from Fire:
1) For one thing, I’m getting to know Katniss Everdeen better. Do I like her yet? I still don’t know. She seems to be an intelligent, resourceful and decent human being. She thinks outside of herself and tries to do the right thing. Does she mess up? Well, yeah. But considering the circumstances she’s in I can’t blame her for it.
What’s interesting is that the love triangle between her, Gale and Peeta should make me want to drown her in a puddle. Girls in the middle of love triangles always make me want to drown them in puddles. Somehow Katniss hasn’t driven me to that point. I don’t know how Collins is managing to pull that off. When I finished Fire I didn’t think of Katniss as self-serving or manipulative or needy. She came across as someone who is just really, really confused.
And lucky. Somehow she has managed to get two of the most patient teenage boys on Earth to fall in love with her.
2) Which brings me to Peeta. That poor, poor bastard. I’m pretty sure Peeta is dead meat. It’s hard not to like Peeta even though he has such a stupid name. Whenever I thought of him and Katniss having children I wondered if they would name their kid Hummus.
Anyway, Peeta is one of those characters that I lament because they simply don’t exist. They only come to life in the female imagination. They are boys who always say the right things and chastely hold you while you sleep, making your nightmares go away. That is to say: imaginary. If anyone knows a boy who falls in love with you when they’re five, pines after you for eleven years then decides they’re going to die for you- please point him out.
And I’m pretty sure that Peeta will die for now. He’s too good to be true.
3) Speaking of which, will Cinna be dead the next time we hear of him? If he did die, then I think it was after the most intense Project Runway moment ever.
I will miss his eyeliner.
4) Also: Finnick. I can’t wait to find out who they cast for this guy. He’s a douchebag with a heart of gold and I loved the way his little subplot played out.
Finnick: Hey, Katniss. I’m an insufferable dick.
Katniss: Ugh, I hate insufferable dicks!
Peeta: Who is that guy? He seems like an insufferable dick.
Katniss: He’s totally an insufferable dick!
Finnick: Just kidding! I’m actually in love with someone who’s mentally damaged and I have feelings.
Katniss: Ugh! Now I have to like you!
Me: Damn it! Now I have to get emotionally invested in you before you die!
5) Lastly, I’ve officially forgiven Collins for including Rue in the first book. I was pretty convinced that she was written into Games just to make people cry. I now understand that she is a trauma Katniss returns to again and again, prompting her to take action. People may look to Katniss as a face for the revolution. However, Katniss looks to Rue as what drove her to start it.
As of tonight I’m about to open Mockingjay with absolutely no idea how it ends. All I know is that this third book pissed a bunch of people off. Nevertheless some of the plot points seem inevitable to me.
Will a revolution take place? Probably. Will District 13 strike back at the Capitol? That goes without saying. Will a bunch of characters die during the process? Hell yeah- break out the histrionics.
And of course, who will Katniss choose- Peeta or Gale? Although it isn’t likely I’m enjoying this possibility more and more. In fact, I think it’s a straight-up winner:
God, that would be refreshing for once.
Until then, I’m going to sate my hunger with some hummus and Cinna Toast Crunch. Might be a good product tie-in for Lenny Kravitz. Just sayin’.