**spoiler alert** Update: Originally I gave this book a 4, but I recently changed it to a 5 because even months later I couldn't stop thinking about h...more**spoiler alert** Update: Originally I gave this book a 4, but I recently changed it to a 5 because even months later I couldn't stop thinking about how completely unforgiving it is in the best way possible. The the pace of the book still wasn't ideal in my opinion, but that is so easily overlooked. I know a lot of people disliked the way that Mockingjay ended the trilogy, but to be honest I don't think it could have gone any other way. Collins proved time and time again that she didn't pull her punches and that she was willing to make these books as realistic as possible, no matter how much it hurt to read. This book is about war and the lengths people will go to in order to win. I love that about this book.
Original review Two things you need to be warned of going in: the characters are all broken by the end of the book and no character is safe. One great thing that comes into play in these books is the effect relationships have on people. Katniss is not the strong character of the previous books; the simple knowledge that Peeta is being held by the Capital because of her is slowly making her lose her mind. Finnick is not the shameless flirt anymore because the girl he loves, poor, insane Annie, is also in the Capital and he's complete off his rocker as a result. Even Haymitch isn't the same. He blames Katniss just as much as she blames him for losing Peeta. The great thing about the new relationship between Katniss and Haymitch is seeing how similar they are and how much they both relied on Peeta, the strong, normal, good one of the trio. And emo, angry Gale loses the emo and just becomes angry, he becomes a product of the war because he's determined to no longer let the Capital ruin the lives of people in the districts. He's determined to win at any cost and it ends up breaking him.
I absolutely love how much Collins broke Peeta. As my favorite character I love him to death, but seeing him when he comes back from the Capital just made me love the character even more. Everything good about him, his trust, his love for Katniss, his good nature, have been turned and twisted and made into a weapon.
And the ending is absolutely brutal. You see Peeta fall apart to the point that he's begging people to kill him because he can't live with the way he is now and you see Katniss get addicted to a drug, lose her mind, and pretty much lose the will to live. This doesn't sound like what the protagonists of a YA novel should be acting like, but then Collins' Hunger Games trilogy so much more and so much better.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book was actually incredibly disappointing but it was so unique in the concept that I gave it 2 stars instead of 1. I just thou...more**spoiler alert** This book was actually incredibly disappointing but it was so unique in the concept that I gave it 2 stars instead of 1. I just thought that the story was executed poorly. I know some people complained about the actual climax of the story and I have to agree that if you blinked you might miss it. There was so much build up to the fact that King Leck was this dastardly evil villian and then after listening to him talk forever (which normally I would have hated just because it's such a cliche, but it made sense since it was his Grace), the actual fight was done in less than a paragraph. There was no fight. It was a non-fight in the style of Twilight. All that potential build up to a potentially good showdown and then it added up to nothing.
And the character of Katsa, who could have been a really been an awesome, strong female character was angry, bitchy and inconsistent. By the second half of the book Katsa, oddly, becomes teary at the drop of a hat. And one thing I have to say that I'm becoming sick of in novels is a strong female character swearing off marriage, love and children before they even reach a reasonable age and experience love at all. And Katsa was that new stereotype of the badass female. It's become overused as a way of saying that "hey, she's a serious character and totally cool."
This book was stronger for me in the first half and then halfway through I reached a point where I began to read faster not because I was so interested in the story, but because I wanted to finish and just get to the end so I could move on to a better book.
Maybe my problem with this book is that Katsa was a poor man's Katniss from The Hunger Games, maybe it was because I had just come off of reading two really good books (The Book Thief and The Passage), or maybe I never would have really been a fan of this book because of how it was written.(less)
I first started reading this book as just a sample I had downloaded off Amazon. I was a little skeptical going in because it is technically YA and it'...moreI first started reading this book as just a sample I had downloaded off Amazon. I was a little skeptical going in because it is technically YA and it's written in first person (which always used to annoy me, but now I've come to accept partly because of this book). As soon as I finished the sample, I bought this book and the sequels.
This book is marked as YA, but there are a lot of heavy themes that are probably better suited to adults. For those who have read the Japanese novel Battle Royale, this book has a similar premise, teenagers fighting to the death in an arena where only one can survive. The Hunger Games, though, is better. And you can see in this book where the next two are going to take you, because it's clear that the government is shady and the citizens are getting restless.
One of the truly great things about this book is Katniss, the main character and our narrator. She is, quite simply put, awesome. She is a no-nonsense, independent girl and she is completely oblivious to anything remotely regarding romance, which is good considering the fact that this book sets up an epic love triangle with the boy who is her best friend and who she trusts implicitly and the boy who she's been thrust into the arena with and who she feels she owes because he's saved her on more than one occasion. The best part about this love triangle is that in this first book it's all in the background. The story and action doesn't get sacrificed for the sake of the love triangle. This is not Twilight, where everything gets put on hold for the characters to have deep, long conversations about how infatuated the two boys are with the girl.
I honestly don't think there was a single thing about this book that I disliked and I wish there were more books out there like the Hunger Games trilogy.(less)
I really want to give this story 4.5 stars because it was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but I felt a little like it got repetitive from the...moreI really want to give this story 4.5 stars because it was a great book and I absolutely loved it, but I felt a little like it got repetitive from the first book. After all, the premise of this book is similar, Katniss is going back into the Hunger Games. Still, it was a great book because the arena has changed and is way more interesting and imaginative.
Catching Fire is an apt title for this book because throughout it you can really feel that the idea of rebellion is slowly spreading throughout the districts and Katniss is the catalyst whether she likes it or not. This book introduces a whole host of new characters that I immediately loved. It would be so easy to not like the other victors of the games, but they're almost all amazing, from flirtatious Finnick to bitchy Johanna (my new favorite characters) to the drugged out morphlings and bloodthirsty Enobaria. The former victors are all incredibly unique and it's fascinating to see what winning the Hunger Games does to you a few years out.
The best thing about this book is the suspense of waiting for full-blown rebellion to start. There were so many hints of it, things Katniss didn't catch on to but the reader does, that I was losing hope as tributes started dropping like flies in the arena.
This book was still incredibly interesting, and it is clearly the stepping stone to something much bigger and greater in the next book. And the end of this one, what Katniss learns at the end, is a killer.
EDIT: I'm actually downgrading my 4.5 to a 4. Thinking about it again, the love triangle in this book became a little much for me and although Katniss is totally a badass and she's totally not a girly girl, it's like Collins forgot that because Katniss enjoys being made up and describing the clothes and the makeup a little too much. The whole time she's being transformed you get the feeling that Katniss not-so-secretly loves it even though it doesn't fit with her character as established before.(less)
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book. It's actually a little embarrassing. I deliberately waited until after the first season ended to...moreI can't believe it took me so long to read this book. It's actually a little embarrassing. I deliberately waited until after the first season ended to read the book, and one of the things that I love about books like this (and Lord of the Rings) is the world building that you just don't get on screen. AGoT does a wonderful job of balancing a huge (and I mean HUGE) cast of characters and still managing to make it clear where most people's (not counting sneaky weasels like Varys or Littlefinger) loyalties lie.
However, having watched the show, I think it took away some of the suspense for me. I knew how things were going to turn out and because of that I skimmed through sections. And the many little tricks and turns and betrayals didn't affect me as much (view spoiler)[Ned's death wasn't as shocking. It's like going into Final Fantasy VII already knowing that (view spoiler)[Aeris is killed by Sephiroth (hide spoiler)](hide spoiler)].["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, so I was a little hesitant because I didn't know what sort of things she liked to read. Norma...moreThis book was recommended to me by a friend of a friend, so I was a little hesitant because I didn't know what sort of things she liked to read. Normally, I'm a fantasy/sci-fi gal. That being said, this book was possibly my favorite book of the year.
When Daniel finds the rare book by Julian Carax he probably never would have imagined he would become get drawn into a decades old mystery and come face-to-face with a man who wants nothing more than to destroy everything Carax has written. Daniel finds himself obsessed with learning about who Julian was and why someone has burned almost all but a few copies of the author's books.
There are so many twists in this book and Zafon does a wonderful job of pulling in the readers so that we, too, want to understand the mystery of Julian and the girl he loves Penelope. Fairly quickly we learn that Penelope and Julian did not get their happily ever after and it's unraveling what happened to them that makes this book so engrossing. And it's not just the story of the past that is intriguing, because Daniel is having some interesting adventures of his own: his sidekick has clearly run into trouble in the past and may not be who he say he is, there is a man who is not-so-subtly threatening Daniel to leave it alone, and also he's falling in love with his best friend's sister and it's mirroring Julian's own story.
I absolutely loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who is at all interested in intriguing plot.(less)
Still one of my favorites even though the ending was more hectic than I remember (view spoiler)[ when they're chasing Lord Asriel and the witches show...moreStill one of my favorites even though the ending was more hectic than I remember (view spoiler)[ when they're chasing Lord Asriel and the witches show up, then the Tartars, then Mrs. Coulter. And the whole scene between Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel when the window opens between the universes was rather annoying, but then I don't particularly like either of them. (hide spoiler)]
Also, the explanation of Dust didn't make a whole lot of sense when I actually stopped to think about it. (view spoiler)[The theory was that Dust was basically original sin. That by severing the children from their daemons and thus preventing Dust from settling on them, they are saving children from original sin. Only, according to the Church, isn't original sin something we're born with because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit? When we're born, we're born with original sin and baptism takes care of that. But then, I never did pay much attention in Catholic school. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>(less)
What's so great about this novel as compared to the first is how many different storylines The Subtle Knife follows. In The Golden Compass, we mostly...moreWhat's so great about this novel as compared to the first is how many different storylines The Subtle Knife follows. In The Golden Compass, we mostly follow Lyra with small tangents. However, in The Subtle Knife we follow Lyra and Will separately, as well as Lee Scoresby (view spoiler)[(the way he and Hester die gets me every time I read it!) (hide spoiler)], various witches and Mary Malone. I think this was a good decision because it's in this book that the trilogy really opens up to the bigger picture and the storytelling expanded accordingly.(less)
This book leaves me very torn. On the one hand it's epic and it's wonderful storytelling. On the other hand I kept wanting to go back to Lyra and Will...moreThis book leaves me very torn. On the one hand it's epic and it's wonderful storytelling. On the other hand I kept wanting to go back to Lyra and Will and every time the story focused on Mrs. Coulter or Lord Asriel I was impatient to get back to Lyra and Will. Of course, I think it was also because this was a reread and I really wanted to get to the parts of the book I remembered loving so much. Although I remember I had never been a very big fan of the world of the dead part.
Also, the ending is so heartbreaking, but I suppose it's perfect because of that.(less)