I love it when I reread a book and enjoy as much as or more than the first time I read it. Such was the case with Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, which I first read back in 2012, when the first movie came out. Back then, a bookseller at a Barnes & Noble pushed the book in my hands and told me to read it. I did as soon as I bought it and couldn’t stop. I was so hooked.
This time, it was the movie that made me nostalgic and drove me to read it. I saw the movie while on vacation in Mexico – I think it was in Spanish – and when I got home, I grabbed the book and started to read it. Again, I was hooked and couldn’t part with the book for long. My dad saw me reading it and I learned a fun fact about him: The Hunger Games is one of his favorite movies. 🙂
The second in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire is just as riveting and exciting as the Hunger Games. Though I find the Hunger Games to be a better read.
Catching Fire picks up where Hunger Games left off. We are back in District 12 with Katniss who no longer lives in poverty at the edge of the community; instead, she now resides in the middle of town in the Victor’s Village, the place where all winners of the Hunger Games dwell in beautiful houses. She now has all that her family has ever needed and then some but she is not happy. She is plagued with nightmares of what happened in the arena, she is somewhat estranged from her best friend, Gale, and she now has President Snow hounding her since she defied his orders to kill or be killed. Furthermore, she unintentionally incited hope in the people of the Districts thus causing revolts to pop up, which threatens the dominating hold that the Capitol has on the Districts.
Yes, the Districts are now in uprising against the Capitol and Katniss is their mockingjay that gives wings to their cause, strengthening their hope to make them push towards a better future. Because of this, President Snow uses the Quarter Quell as an underhand way of ridding the world of Katniss. Again, only one victor is allowed but instead of fresh tributes, the previous victors are recycled. Only one male and one female is allowed, as before, thus both Peeta and Katniss are back in the arena (Katniss by default and Peeta because he refuses to let Katniss enter the arena without him). Along the way (through the usual preparations for the Games), Katniss realizes that not all who live in the Capitol are ignorant of reality, of what occurs in the Districts, and that some are down for the rebelling cause. Also, the relationship between Peeta and Katniss grows stronger, while her feelings towards Gale becomes more muddled.
I refused to read this book at first. Everyone was excited about it, and hyping the story, and saying how great it is to read about children killing each other (my ignorant assumption) that I was turned off from it. My sentiments towards this book back then was similar to how I felt about The Game of Thrones last year, when each person on the metro was glued to a copy of it.
Books that are too hyped and too talked-about turns me off. It makes me see them more as a trend than a really good story that has spell-bounded everyone who glimpses at it. But for some reason, I am always drawn to read them; though it is not of my own volition that this occurs. It is some force outside my being that draws me to Barnes & Noble and makes me pick up the talked-about book, buy it, and read it. Such was the case with The Hunger Games.
One fine Wednesday, I took it upon myself to venture into my favorite Barnes & Noble store and torture myself with indecision before dragging myself home. While perusing the shelves trying to find a novel that will grab-me-and-not-let-go-until-done, I was ambushed by a bookseller who raved about The Hunger Games fanaticism before dragging me over to the “best sellers” section where she pulled a copy of the novel, shove it into my unwilling hands, and commanded me, “Read!”