The Hunger Games Strike Back

I don’t care what everybody else is reading.

Well…let me clarify that. It’s not that I don’t appreciate some good suggestions and I really am interested in hearing other people’s opinions about good books and authors. But if I’m not reading the newest releases that everyone is talking about, I’m okay with that. So I don’t care a bit if I’m a few years behind in picking up The Hunger Games trilogy.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book in the trilogy, is the latest Young Adult novel that I’ve chosen to pull out and give a try.  I don’t know if I’m really hooked on the genre yet, but I’m a reader and I can enjoy a good story.  And they don’t all have to take as long as War and Peace to be worth reading.

The second of three acts in anything is the ‘downer’ act.  It’s the confrontation following the setup of the first act and preceeds the resolution of the third.   Our brains seem hard wired for that format.  Heck, people even argue that Shakespeare’s five act plays actually match the three act format simply with a couple of extra breaks thrown in for wardrobe changes.   But let’s not get into that.  Instead, I think the perfect correlation here is to the Star Wars movies (only the original three – any with characters created only to entertain children and with alien races who speak in English but with goofy accents don’t count.  Sorry, but it’s true…).

I’ve only ever met one person who thought that The Empire Strikes Back was the best movie of the trilogy.  Sure, it gave us Boba Fett, and a tough old muppet telling us ‘there is no try, only do’, but it’s the one movie out of the three where everything is going wrong.  Whether it’s freezing in the middle of a white-out, getting body parts chopped off during an overdue family reunion, or being trapped in an awkward, uncomfortable position to be used as a wall decoration all the way until the next movie was released, it’s the stretch where everything is completely falling apart.  Of course it’s an integral part of the overall story, but it’s just the setup to the resolution that takes place in the final act.

Catching Fire fits this story arc perfectly.  Katniss is back in the hunger games arena, people want her even more dead than dying in the arena would provide, she’s seperated from Peeta, and she’s not sure if she wants to be with either guy who thinks he’s in love with her.  Sheesh, what have I been missing by not reading Young Adult all this time…?  Okay, so there are no cool bounty hunters as in Empire, but it’s the tear down before the hero (or heroine in this case) fights her way through it all to save the day/her family/her world/her universe. Granted, I haven’t read the third book yet but I assume I would have heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth from fans leaving the theatre after seeing the final installment if she didn’t accomplish all of that by the end.  So I think I can safely assume…

It’s an interesting story, something entertaining to read before bed, and a 7.75 out of 10 on my completely arbitrary scale.  And I’m not concerned about that influencing you to read it or not because I’m pretty sure that I’m the last person around to finally read it.

I guess I’ll have to make sure read a brand new release next.  That way I’m keeping up with the rest of the reading world.  Well…once I finish this trilogy anyway…

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