I thought I would combine my reviews of the next two Hunger Games books in too one long hyper review. Otherwise I fear I would be at risk of repeating myself for what I have to say on these two!
Overall I felt that they were a pretty good extension of the first book in the series. A number of the questions which I had stemming from the first in the trilogy were answered and this can only be a good thing.
Catching Fire was a good bridging novel between the other two. I enjoyed the expanding vision and understanding that Katniss gained of her world, and the reader developed their understanding of this world along with her. As I’ve said before these novels are written in the first person so this means that by their very nature the reader is stymied by Katniss’ limitations as a character and I couldn’t help but feel that I waned to know more. More about the political system. More about the history of Panem. More, more, more. But perhaps I’m just greedy!
My problem with this series as a whole, one which was encapsulated in the third book, Mockingjay, was that it seems to have been set up as some sort of tragic love triangle a la Twilight, between Katniss, Peetra and Gale. Through out the entire series, however, I have felt that Gale was criminally underdeveloped and used as a character. By the time the novel was trying to create some romantic tension I thought that it was almost obvious that Katniss wouldn’t end up with him, as Gale’s relationship with Katniss, and Gale as a fully rounded character with complex motives just hadn’t been developed enough to make it a viable prospect.
I read these books quickly and the story gripped me. I wanted to know what happened to these characters and where their lives would lead. On that level I would heartily recommend them as casual reading. But for books which deal which such a difficult subject area as their main concept (children being forcibly taken to kill each other for other citizens enjoyment) I just didn’t feel that this issue was addressed comprehensively on a moral level at any point. In fact the books seem to purposefully avoid any sort of moral discussion, which is a pity as I feel that this would have really added to the depth of the novels. A characteristic which I felt was sorely lacking here.