Seeds of Resistance; ‘Catching Fire’ by Suzanne Collins

When any of the following situations happen I will be screwed: zombie apocalypse, Blade Runner, mutant humans, Ragnarok. I enjoy permanent housing, electricity, working toilets and soft bedding. I do not cope well outside of these rules to the detriment of others. Moaning appears to be my super power, a rather unattractive trait as no one enjoys a pessimist. We can be funny at first, but it soon tires and while I am not entirely depressing I have had my moments. I would fail in any life or death situation; I would be sucking up to those evil zombie robots before you could scream traitor.

Many dystopian nightmares push humans back to pre-industrial conditions; cities are ruined and surviving humans retreat into the safe solitude of the countryside. I do not dislike nature; it is pretty and provides me with Oxygen, food and water; all vital. However, when actually in nature I begin to flounder. Walking through a field of flying insects is not an experience I relish and the thought of an overnight visit brings me out in a pre-emptive rash. I was not meant for sturdy exploration; I will only wilt in natural light.

The odds of me winning a Hunger Game are slim, and if by some miracle I did (hiding while the rest killed each other, then sneakily poisoning the winner) I would definitely die in the Quarter Quell. Nobody likes a sneaky person.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. Synopsis from GoodReads

Disappointment inappropriately reflects my feelings for Catching Fire. I enjoyed the idea of rebellion, Katniss needing to chose between love and lust, however, Collins failed to execute this effectively. The Quarter Quell (Hunger Games 2.0) felt contrived; an excuse to avoid explaining or depicting the District rebellions. Keeping Katniss uninformed was patronising, a figure of hope or not, keeping her separate from the action or intellectual process of the uprising belittled her authority as a symbol of resistance. The seeds of resistance from a selection of the capitol citizens and other districts were interesting but underdeveloped. A slower paced novel leading to a full blow renegade would have been more enjoyable; the reuse of Hunger Game’s major plot point was tiresome.

Katniss evolved from likeable, where the weight on her shoulders seemed heroic, to indignant and clueless with self-imposed burdens. She did not give anyone a chance to prove they were as smart or as capable; idiosyncrasies which did damage to the other characters. Peeta and Gale felt like lovelorn puppies chasing affection, Prim a shell of feminine perfection where Katniss perceives she fails. Collins has dissembled any prospect of the other characters being well rounded or autonomous; they are mere shadows facilitating Katniss’s self-loathing.

Teenagers are often, if not always, self centred. Katniss is meant to be old before her time, however, as a character she is constantly conflicted. Collins seems to struggle balancing Katniss as a wise adult, providing for her family, with her being a confused dysfunctional teen. I do not feel Katniss can believably be both a wise adult and a naive child; considering her upbringing and near death experience, it is too simplistic to cast a character as such.

I do not hold out much hope for Mockingjay, the last instalment of the trilogy. However, the benefit of little expectation is that it assists in avoiding any serious disappointment.

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4 Comments on "Seeds of Resistance; ‘Catching Fire’ by Suzanne Collins"

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Sophie
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I’d offer to help you out when the zombie apocalypse comes, but I’m afraid I’d inevitably end up using you as bait, for which I’d like to apologise for in advance. No hard feelings? To be honest, not much stands out from Catching Fire anymore, other than Mags and Finnick. In a way, Catching Fire Katniss reminds me of Order of the Phoenix Harry: both are not informed of the ‘big picture’ and both whine about it constantly. I wish I could reassure you on Mockingjay, but I can’t. Katniss is even more ‘out of the loop’, mostly because she… Read more »
Colette
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Like you I loved the first book of the series. Heck, I read all three of the books in less than a month! But as I hoped for the story to get better it just got worse and worse. The only good impression left was of Peta, Mags and Finnick. Katniss proved to be a big deception. I feel like Suzanne Collins rushed through the story and left all the suspense and the excitement behind when she was done writing “Day of Reaping”.

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[…] you are a regular reader you will remember that disappointment inappropriately reflecting my feelings for Catching Fire; the characters felt rudimentary and hungers games 2.0, contrived. I held out little hope for […]

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[…] The Hunger Games trilogy) was that is just felt like half a story of teenage angst and half a story mimicking the first novel; Insurgent was a completely different experience. There was far more development to the story, some […]

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