The Hunger Games (2): Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)

When I finished reading The hunger games, I was torn. On the one hand, I wanted to know how the story went on. On the other, though, I was sad that it did go on. I wished that Suzanne Collins had wrapped up the story in one book, kind of like 1984, as one cog in the system that in the end tried to change something but didn’t succeed. Luckily, when reading the second book, it quickly became apparent that Collins did indeed have a few more tricks up her sleeve. And now I have to say that I’m relieved at her markable capability to round this massive beast up in three volumes: the second part alone was so confined that it could have easily been written into two or three books alone.

After Katniss and Peeta came out of the Hunger Games alive, they found their world to have changed. Not only did the Capitol hate their guts and wanted to make their lives into a living hell, they found they had become the symbol of a boiling revolution. The second book is all about setting up these two plot points: pestering on the one hand, the big explosion that is due on the other.

There’s just so much that’s going on in this world, and every character in it could easily have a book written about them, showing their point of view. Haymiss, trying to keep his two prodigies alive; Cinna, knowing that the end is nigh; Gale, leading a miner’s revolution in full-blown Guevara style… everyone is important. That’s the strength of the series: it doesn’t try to overexplain things, it just stays close to Katniss, telling everything from her perspective, so we find out things as she learns about them.

It took a while for me to get it, though – about half a book’s worth. It’s only as the second half commences that I thought I knew where it was heading. It’s nice to get enough puzzle pieces to piece it together, but still get drawn into wrong conclusions. The story twists and turns, anything can happen, but most things you expect to happen, don’t.

I’m eager to find out where Collins is headed with the last part. A war has now officially started, with friends in the hands of enemies. How will this go on? Obviously, District 13 will factor in what’s up next, but as it has been proven time and again: my predictions are usually wrong.

I can’t wait!