Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Review: Catching Fire

I am pretty sure I've been reading Njal's Saga for months now. So, I decided to take a break and read one of the books on my list that I knew I'd finish quickly: Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire. This is the second installment to the trilogy of the Hunger Games and I got through the first one so fast that I figured it would be the same here. I was not wrong.

Written in (logically) the same style, the narration was done in first person perspective in the present; Katniss is not telling a story but rather, experiencing the events. Hence, we are experiencing them simultaneously. I said before, that this is perhaps the most effective way to bring in a reader by getting us to feel and think like Katniss. This the the type of story though, that can be difficult to capture on screen.

I watched the movie the minute I finished the book and that was the thing... I noticed that if I had not read the book, I probably would have been somewhat confused and not gotten the amount of insight into Katniss' motives for doing things. However, the movie was done reasonably well in terms of the cinematography, costumes, sets and casting; it also provided a visual basis for me when I read. But, I felt that the characters were one-dimensional, after having read the book.

The book does a much better job at pacing the story along with a build-up of what's happened since Katniss and Peeta won the games. You experience the lives they live/d and get an appreciation for life of the Seam and even the Victory Tour. I think it was nearly half the book that was spent on life in the Seam and the thoughts and events between the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. I liked this because I got way more in-depth with what's happened and how much has changed. The reader also gets a much better appreciation for the time that has passed. There is much more build up of the characters and the turn of events. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't portray this well and I felt like we were quickly pushed into the games. There was a lot that was missing from the book, that the movie just either skimmed over, or all together skipped. It was kind of disappointing because I felt that the things they did skip really added to the plot and characters.

Because they skipped so much, I felt that they didn't have the opportunity to really develop Peeta's character. I'd say of all the characters so far, he has developed the most and you really see more depth of his character and motives in the book, than you do on-screen. On-screen, it's as if they just put a lot of Gale shots in there to remind us that he's the more quintessential manly man that every girl pines over, in the Seam. Then, to pull us back on #teampeeta, they alter the story about how Gale gets those lashings in the square. They force #teampeeta on you instead of letting his actions do the talking. I love Peeta not because Josh Hutcherson is a cutie but because when I read about his character in the book, I am so moved with who he is becoming.

I can't wait to read the next one but they've split the last book into TWO movies!! One comes out this fall and then the second one finishes in the fall of 2015. Since I like to read the book just before seeing the movie, this is going to be a long time to wait...!

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