Something was missing from this book that made The Hunger Games so compelling. The action started much sooner, and things larger than Katniss kept happening. Things that Katniss, and thus the readers, are left in the dark about until the very end when we both get a very blatant info dump by Haymitch.
What I loved about the first book was how fiercely independent Katniss was. In Catching Fire, all the men in her life seem to think she needs to be protected. From everything. It’s quite sickening. What kind of message are we trying to send to young girls? That it’s okay to forge your own path until it comes to the big decisions, then step aside and let the men handle things? “You’ve been great starting the revolution, now get back into the woods and hunt me a squirrel for my sandwich.”
Luckily for Katniss, this gives her plenty of time to ponder life’s ultimate question: Gale or Peeta? The plot and revolution cannot continue, Katniss, until you’ve flip-flopped between them at least a dozen times.
The Games themselves were the clear high point, with some interesting new additions to the arena. However, I have to ask, with all this advanced technology, why are we still mining for coal? How is there even coal left to mine? And how did President Snow get to be so stupid? He’s trying to prevent an uprising, so he takes away the beloved victors. The people in the Capitol are the only ones guaranteed to be on his side, so he takes away their favorite toy.
I know what you’re thinking: Bubbles, if you disliked it so much, why the four stars? Because, quite frankly, Finnick and Johanna were just entertaining enough to make it enjoyable. In fact, the book should have been about them instead. At the moment, my hopes are not very high for MockingJay.
With the movies coming out, I couldn’t help but make a mental checklist of what would be cut from the film. Johanna’s near constant strip show? Gone. Finnick performing CPR on Peeta. Most likely gone since impressionable young teenagers might get the wrong idea. Horrifying effects of nerve gas? Gone, much like the Tracker Jacker hallucinations. Katniss’ romantic plot tumor? Maxed out. In fact, everything else will have to be shortchanged to make room for it.