CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins
The saga just keeps getting better and better. Hot on the heels of 'The Hunger Games' - book and movie, and with the 'Catching Fire' movie in its last days in my neck of the woods, I threw myself body and soul into reading prior to viewing.
Marvellous, marvellous, marvellous. There is considerably more depth to all the characters, to the terrible predicament they find themselves in, and a lot more at stake in their personal lives as well. The three lead characters, Katniss, Peeta and Gale are no longer just teenagers. They may be a few months older in a physical sense but they have matured well beyond their years with the stuff they are confronted with.
The story begins with Katniss as she and Peeta begin a victory tour of all the Districts. Unwittingly the two of them find they are the symbols contributing to unrest and possible rebellion against the Capitol. To keep a cap on it all, President Snow forces them to the arena to once again fight for their lives.
This is very dark stuff, and I can't help compare this series to that of Harry Potter. Both deal with very dark issues and themes and the world being saved by very young adults. But always at the back of my mind with Harry Potter is that is about magic, and so far more fantastical than this series. Even though there is no magic here, the forces of good against evil, might versus meek, authoritarian government versus the people, are the same themes as in Harry Potter. As a parent, however the idea of children fighting each other to the death is way more repellent than anything Voldermort threw at Harry and his crew.
To be honest, I didn't find 'Catching Fire' as compelling a read as 'The Hunger Games', but the movie more than made up for that. For me, a rare case of the film being better than the book. 'Mockingjay', the third book in 'The Hunger Games' series is, as I write, climbing perilously to the top of my book reading pile.