Damn, has this book left me confused and frustrated–both on behalf of poor Katniss.
I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games. However, it doesn’t quite compete with this one for the emotional turmoil inflicted upon the MC. Emotional turmoil the reader can’t help but experience right alongside her. For some reason, I felt a much stronger connection with Katniss in this one. I don’t know if that’s because I’d already had a full novel with her prior to this, or if I simply related more to what she was going through. But whereas Hunger Games was a thrill-fest to ‘watch’, and the anticipation of what would/could happen next and how the fudge they’d get out of it, and what would happen to Peeta because Katniss being MC pretty much dictated that she had to win all had me turning page after page … it didn’t quite instil me with the OMG moments and tears that Catching Fire did.
The first undoing was when the guy from the other district got shot in the head for his support of Katniss. Another–and one of the biggest–was when Katniss stumbled upon poor Gal being whipped. Then her[mini-meltdown–which she was more than entitled to–when she found out she’d be going back into the Games. And let’s not forget that horrid moment when Peeta ceased to be alive. Plus, plenty more–which meant I was up and down and fidgeting in my seat like a had a bad case of worms.
On top of this, the poor girl (and reader) had to deal with her ‘love life’, and her duelling feelings for Peeta and Gale. Whilst her feelings are evidently stronger/the connection stronger for/with Gale, the bond between herself and Peeta is visibly shifting to one that doesn’t only involve winning a crowd over. To me, this would be an impossible decision if she’s ever forced to make it (I’d imagine it’s coming). Because both guys are totally adorable and courageous in their own way, and totally smitten with Katniss. Even in Hunger Games, despite the majority of the airtime being handed over to Peeta, I still kept thinking ‘but what about poor Gale’, because the author had done such a good job of planting him in my mind. Whilst at exactly the same time, I kept urging Katniss to feel something for Peeta. I’m fickle I know. But in Catching Fire, it pretty much happened all over again. Except this time, I rooted for Gale when he got some of her time–then I switched to Peeta whenever Gale wasn’t around. From a spectator’s position, the choice is not easy.
Oh yes, and one mustn’t forget that cliffhanger of an ending. Because anyone who gets this far in the trilogy is, without doubt, now left with no choice but to read on. And I cannot wait.