I don’t care if this book got a zillion volts of buzz. I loved it anyway.
What I thought before reading The Hunger Games, upon hearing the premise (dystopic society sends lottery-selected teenagers to horrific danger dome where they must battle to the death on compulsory national television): Really? Sounds sick, twisted, so grim, so brutal…and it’s YA? Really??
What I thought after reading The Hunger Games: BRILLIANT. Compelling, sensitive, deeply thought-provoking, not gratuitiously violent—necessarily violent, filled with believable, complex, imperfect characters, and totally, totally relevant.
What I thought after reading Catching Fire: this series is going to turn out to be one of the most important (and again, relevant) of the decade. And I don’t mean YA series: I mean one of the most important book series, period. Because on top of being incredibly gripping, chew-your-nails-off storytelling about characters you will never, ever forget (Haymitch!), these books explore the dangerous possibilities of a government that manipulates the media and erases civil liberties. And the power of reality television to alter people’s actions—and to influence public opinion. And the power of public opinion to alter people’s actions. And the compromises people will make in the name of security. And the paralytic effect of loss of privacy. Suzanne Collins has tackled (is tackling: the story is far from over) some of the thorniest issues we are facing here in the early days of the 21st century.
I’m not going to say anything about the plot of Catching Fire. Better to experience it as it unfolds, page by breath-stealing page.
Read it? Let’s talk in the comments.
Haven’t read it? Do! (Read Hunger Games first.) (And beware— spoilers are inevitable in any discussion of this book. I have been sitting on my fingers for months—thank goodness for Scott and Jane to talk it over with in person.)
Booknotes: Byatt’s The Children’s Book
Betsy-Tacy Digital Books
Before the Internet