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I love reading like a Koala loves eating eucalyptus


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Catching Fire

Cover of "Catching Fire (The Second Book ...

 

So I’m pretty sure everyone knows that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire just recently came out in theaters.  I went the day it came out to a double feature of Hunger Games and Catching Fire in IMAX.  It was great.  Now I’ll admit that Catching Fire is my least favorite book in the series.  I just really dislike books that cannot stand on their own as a story.  It is one thing to need some of the background information from an earlier book, but it really bugs me when a book has no conclusion to its story.  Suzanne Collins ends this book with a huge cliffhanger.  It actually seems like it is the beginning of something rather than the end.  However, I feel like the movie does a great job of bringing the story to life.  It stays very true to the book.  Obviously there are some things that are left out because they don’t want to movie to go on forever, but overall this was pretty good in terms of an adaptation and much better than the first movies in that regard.

 

I was disappointed by some of the things that were left out.  The story of Haymitch’s experience in the Games is one of those things.  This story gives us a look at Haymitch as well as finishes the explanation of where Katniss‘s mockingjay pin comes from.  I enjoyed knowing that Haymitch also showed up the Capitol in his Games by using the force field around the arena to help him win.  I do realize that the story of the mockingjay pin in the movies is completely different from that in the books, but the story in the books is so great that this is a real disappointment.  The pin comes from Madge (the one friend Katniss has other than Gale).  She tells Katniss that it belong to her aunt, Maysilee.  Maysilee was close friends with Katniss’s mother and was reaped to compete in the 50th Hunger Games (the year that Haymitch wins).  Haymitch and Maysilee had an alliance for part of the Games.  There is so much more meaning to the importance of the pin when this background is known.

 

The movie also leaves out a lot of what happens in District 12 prior to the 75th Hunger Games.  The wedding dresses, Katniss getting trapped outside the fence, plotting with Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch, the cheese buns, Gale’s mom working for Haymitch. So many important things for setting up the story and the motivations that these people have for doing what they do.  Also, the three victors training for the Games.  The movie also gives a different reason for Gale being whipped making him seem more heroic rather than just a guy with some turkeys.  Plus, it still makes me mad that they don’t have Peeta lose his leg.

 

What is included in the movie is done very well.  I also saw the movie before I reread the books.  I think this helped me to appreciate the movie more because I wasn’t nitpicking it right away.  All I know is now I’m super excited for Mockingjay and can’t wait for part I to come out next year!

 

 

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Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable is the first book in the Legion series.  Kami Garcia co-authored the Beautiful Creatures series, and this is her first book on her own.  I really enjoyed this book.  It was easy to read, and it stayed interesting the whole time.  It did have some of the characteristics that are kind of common in YA lit (new/confusing situation, love triangley, etc.), but the story itself was one that I have not really seen before.  The story follows Kennedy just as her world is falling apart.  She discovers that her mother has died.  As she is spending her last night in their house, she wakes up with her cat on her and unable to breathe.  Two young men come in and destroy the vengeance spirit that is using the cat to steal Kennedy’s breath (basically the spirit is trying to kill her).  The next day, Lukas and Jared (the two young men) are waiting for Kennedy outside her house.  They all are in her kitchen as the boys try to explain what is going on when a poltergeist starts attacking them.  It throws knives at them, locks them in the house, and pretty much destroys the place.  All three are able to escape, and Kennedy starts to believe Lukas and Jared and some of the craziness they are telling her.

They are part of a secret society called the Legion that was created to fight an evil demon that they ancestors accidentally summoned.  There are always five members of the Legion with membership being passed through family members.  Lukas and Jared believe that Kennedy is the fifth member.  They take Kennedy to meet up with the other two members of the Legion.  The current members are all teenagers because the previous members were all found dead in the same way on the same night.  It was the same way that Kennedy’s mother died, adding to their belief that Kennedy is also a member.  Kennedy is skeptical because her mother never mentioned anything about the group or its history.  She also never had any of the training that the others have had and had no idea that this responsibility was being passed to her.

The basic plot involves the group trying to find the pieces of a weapon that they believe will allow them to destroy the demon.  This involves them battling different types of spirits that are protecting the pieces.  The spirit protecting the final piece causes Kennedy to question whether they are doing the right thing because he tells her it will allow the demon to fully come out in the world.  The others do not believe the spirit, so Kennedy finishes putting the weapon together.  It seems the spirit was telling the truth as the building they are in crumbles and basically all hell breaks loose.  Kennedy is found by the police (it has been believed through the story that she was kidnapped) while the rest of the group gets away.  Kennedy still feels like she is not truly a member of the Legion.

I’m excited to continue this series, and hope that I don’t forget about it when the next book comes out.  I think a good premise has been started and that the rest of the series could be pretty great.