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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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The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

 

So I have fallen behind a little bit with my posts.  Recently, I ran out of books from the library, so I decided to start rereading the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I also decided to do this so that when I watched the movie again, I would have a better base for comparison having read the books recently.  Anyways, I love The Hunger Games.  It is probably my favorite book currently.  Although I do not really hold the rest of the series in that regard.  I think as a whole series it really is a bit of a let down in the end.  Suzanne Collins sets a really high standard with the first book and the others seem to fall a little flat.

The Hunger Games is set in a dystopia where the people in the Capitol want for nothing while most of the people in the Districts are sick, starving, and struggling to get by.  The Capitol also acts in ways to continue to show their dominance over the Districts and to attempt to stem off rebellion like one that took place around 75 years earlier.  One main tool that they use in this regard is the Hunger Games.  This is an event that happens every year.  Each District is required to send two tributes, one male and one female, to the Capitol in order to battle against the other tributes in hopes of being the last person standing.  This person is then set for life and their District receives gifts until the next victor is crowned.

Obviously Katniss Everdeen ends up going to the Hunger Games after she volunteers in place of her sister.  Being from District 12 she is automatically a huge underdog.  However, her hunting prowess and the charisma of her fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, results in them being the last two tributes standing.  Believing a rule change would save them both, Peeta and Katniss teamed up, but in the end it was two good to be true and the Capitol wants them to battle it out so there is only one victor.  Katniss pulls out poisonous nightlock berries that they intend to eat at the same time resulting in no victor.  Immediately they are stopped and both declared victors.  This is considered a small act of rebellion by some Capitol officials and Katniss needs to watch her step to protect both herself and Peeta from their wrath.

Catching Fire picks up when they are preparing for the victors tour where Katniss and Peeta will travel to each of the Districts for celebrations.  President Snow visits Katniss and informs her that she better convince everyone that she acted out of love with the nightlock berries and stem any uprisings that may be in the works.  He is mostly unsatisfied with her attempts and several uprisings begin in the Districts.

This year of the Hunger Games is the 75th which makes it a Quarter Quell which were determined when the games were established.  Quarter Quells happen every 25 years and have a special twist.  The first twist was that each District had to vote in their tributes rather than the typical reaping.  The second was that twice as many tributes would go.  This was the games that Haymitch Abernathy (Peeta and Katniss’ mentor in the games) competed in and won.  For the third Quarter Quell, the reaping uses only the pool of victors from each District.  This results in Katniss and Peeta going back into the arena.

In the end, there is a plot involving tributes, mentors, and game makers to begin a rebellion.  Ultimately, several of the tributes are able to break out of the arena.  Some are taken to safety by the rebels (Katniss and Finnick Odair) while others (Peeta and Johanna Mason) are captured by the Capitol.  This sets the scene for Mockingjay where the actual war takes place.