Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes"Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In ”The Hunger Games”, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive.
In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. The inner turmoil Katniss faces is incredibly palpable--every person she ever cares about is put in danger, and she has to live with that, decide what sacrifices she is willing to make, and how to ensure their safety.
”Catching Fire” is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Actually, I think the title accurately reflects what this novel is all about--things in Katniss's world begin to catch fire. They don't actually “catch fire”--it just begins; it's "catching," so to speak.
The biggest problem with ”Catching Fire” is its pacing. The first third of the novel is really told in summary--Katniss explains what happened when she and Peeta came home, what happened on their tour of the Districts, what happened when she talked to Gale, etc. By telling it all in long paragraphs of summary, Collins removes the reader from the immediacy of the action--and it's both disappointing and disengaging. I wanted to experience Katniss's first meeting with Gale after she returned from the Games. I wanted be part of her trying to get her life together after her horrific experiences. But that's not the way this story is told. Then, about midway through the novel, things start to feel very much like ”The Hunger Games” revisited.
Additionally, Gale plays such a peripheral role in this novel that it's hard to really know him. Peeta is present in almost every chapter--the sweet, loving, doting boyfriend who will be eternally true to Katniss. Gale, however, appears in only a few brief scenes, and never says more than a few words. ”Mockingjay” may give us a better picture of what these two young men really meant to Katniss; ”Catching Fire” does not.
Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader.
In terms of sheer adventure and thrills, Collins really knows how to step it up, especially once Katniss re-enters the arena. The author comes up with some really messed up perils for the tributes, plus there's the added nuance of the contestants all being past champions. This time, Katniss isn't contending with inexperienced children.
I do have a problem with the way the book ends. There were signposts along the way, so it's not like it came out of left field, but still I feel that the plot switcheroo comes along too abruptly and feels rushed, and so there's a jarring whiplash effect.
In the meantime, I'll need to try to find something to keep myself occupied until I can finally read the conclusion to this compelling, disturbing, and deeply layered tale. Collins has crafted a really impressive work of literature and it is one I will definitely be recommending to friends.
I wasn't expecting to like it, although was a tad curious to read Burnett's other works. Memorable parts of the story was the friendship between Mr. HI wasn't expecting to like it, although was a tad curious to read Burnett's other works. Memorable parts of the story was the friendship between Mr. Hobbs ("i'll be jiggered!") and Cedric. You will undoubtedly fall in-love with the little lord and his Mom, whom he fondly calls "Dearest," since in his 7 y/o mind, she should rightfully be called as his father did before he died.
Quite insightful was the time when Fauntleroy was writing a letter that his Grandfather, the Earl, has asked him to do. Fauntleroy (child that he was, made a lot of spelling mistakes) and so he remarked, "...You see that's the way with words of more than one syllable; you have to look in the dictionary. It's always the safest. I'll write it over again."
I laughed out loud at this bit: Fauntleroy has successfully secured his post as a lord and was showing his grocer friend around the castle's picture gallery and the former thinking that he's in a museum of some sort: "N--no!" said Fauntleroy, rather doubfully. "I don't think it's a museum. My grandfather says these are my ancestors." "Your aunts' sisters!" ejaculated Mr. Hobbs. "All of 'em? Your great-uncle, he must have had a family! Did he raise 'em all?"
Title Little Lord Fauntleroy Author Frances Hodgson Burnett Reviewed By Purplycookie...more
This book was a favorite of mine in my childhood, and, when I returned as an adult to re-read it, I found myself mesmerized once more by the story ofThis book was a favorite of mine in my childhood, and, when I returned as an adult to re-read it, I found myself mesmerized once more by the story of Sara Crewe. The charm is still there. "A Little Princess" is one of the most wonderful, most magical books ever to be found in the world of literature--and you don't have to be a little kid to enjoy it.
Sara herself is a lover of books; at one time she found herself fully immersed reading but needed to intervene in the playroom crisis. "People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is one not easy to manage."
This is a story about a different kind of princess than one might imagine; a princess that is an orphan--lonely, cold, hungry and abused. Sara Crewe begins life as the beloved, pampered daughter of a rich man. When he dies a pauper, she is thrown on the non-existent mercy of her small-minded, mercenary boarding school mistress. Stripped of all her belongings but for one set of clothes and a doll, Sara becomes a servant of the household. Hated by the schoolmistress for her independent spirit, Sara becomes a pariah in the household, with only a few secretly loyal friends. But through her inner integrity and strength of will, Sara Crewe maintains the deportment, inner nobility and generous spirit of a "real" princess.
"Whatever comes cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."
Being a princess is not about the fame and fortune, but about how you act in the situation into which you have been placed. You can be kind, or you can be mean; you can be content, or you can be greedy; you can be upset, or you can be optimistic. The book really relates to people who are going through tough times in their lives and need reassurance and confidence.
The magic in this book is unsurpassed in children's literature. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Sara comes home, hungry, wet and cold and neglected, to find that a magician has transformed her world, you can't help but be enchanted. "I don't know who it is, but somebody cares for me a little. I have a friend."
This story is a real classic, and needs no re-writing to be as enjoyable and readable today as it ever was. Be sure to get an unabridged edition: this book is beautifully written and should not be simplified.
Title A Little Princess Author Frances Hodgson Burnett Reviewed By Purplycookie...more