I just finished the second book in the Hunger Games series. I've really enjoyed the series so far, and I am excited for the third to come out in August. Suzanne Collins is a pretty great writer and she has introduced me to a few characters that I really love, especially our main lady, Katniss. She's strong, powerful, and doesn't need a man to save her. She can save herself. It's a breath of fresh air from the Mary-Sue phase young girl readers have entered into since Twilight has gotten so huge. However, Katniss is a very human character, too. She's still very young and so doesn't know how to deal with some of her emotions, or sometimes she doesn't truly understand all of her emotions, even. She's killer, in more ways than one. This nice little rendering is a fanart that I found after reading both novels, and I think it looks very much like I pictured Katniss. FIERCE!
First, I'll address the first book, The Hunger Games. I went into this novel not knowing what to expect. It's different from the stuff I'm used to reading because futuristic plot-lines usually leave me feeling unsatisfied and so I usually am not interested in them to begin with. However, this book was written in such a way that it didn't seem too far-out there to me. The author wrote in and explained the back story through Katniss' narration as a matter of fact instead of through a prologue or some other way, so I was introduced into this story in a very organic way. It didn't feel like it was a world or time far, far away, but something that was happening around me as I read. Also, Katniss as a character is tough as nails, but somehow vulnerable enough, that the reader can still connect with her. I thought it was a very interesting challenge for the author to write a character who was so strong and tough without alienating the audience and finding a way to make her relatable and have the reader connect. I think she did a great job. I cared about Katniss and about what happened to her, and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen in the next part.
Next I read Catching Fire. I didn't know what to expect from this book. The Hunger Games is set up to where you know for sure the entire plot, climax, and resolution are going to have to do with the games and rules within it. But life after the games were a complete mystery to me. I went into this book with a lot of expectations because I was told how good it was, and it mostly lived up to what I was told. It was very well written and still very engaging and interesting like the first one, however, it didn't live up to my expectations until it got close to the end of the book. With that being said, I still really enjoyed watching Katniss in her emotional growth and self-discovery. I thought a lot of the events that lead up to the ending, where we are poised on the edge of a full-fledged rebellion, went very smoothly. For a while I was wondering how Collins was going to bring us from the berries at the end of the last book to a rebellion at the end of this one with just this one girl. Yet she was able to do it, despite my doubts, in a reasonable and believable way. I think that most books that are the bridge between two parts of the story are usually an audience's least favorite, over all, just because it is only a chunk of the story, but this one still does well on its own. Again, I can't wait for the next part of the story.
So we've just got to wait for the last part in the story. How will they get Peeta back? How will the rebellion overthrow the Capitol? What will we find when we arrive in District 13? Collins has a long journey to take us on to the end of Mockingjay, but I know she'll do a great job with it!