Thursday, April 14, 2011

Catching Fire

Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins

Peeta and Katniss have made it out of the Hunger Games, but they are in even more danger from The Capitol.  Their behavior in the arena has made them the match point in the beginnings of an uprising against the Capitol, and President Snow can't have that.  It's the 75th Anniversary of the Hunger Games, and an example needs to be made so that people know that even the strongest among them are subject to the capitol's rules.  As such, Katniss and Peeta are selected to enter the arena again, and surely they can't survive twice.

I don't think I can explain the draw here.  It's a dark and twisted premise.  Teenagers pitted against each other in combat to the death.  This time, they aren't teenagers, it's two teenagers against 22 adults, but the to the death part remains the same.

We still have love triangle crap to deal with, as in the early chapters Gale professes his love for Katniss, and Peeta is forced to propose marriage or risk the Capitol killing their families.

I'm totally on team Peeta, by the way, Gale is great but he isn't Peeta.

Katniss, great character that she is, is not very likeable.  And she's even less likeable in this book.  She wants to run away, she wants to let the Capitol win, she is all about planning to kill people that she's become friends with ... not very likeable at all.  She's comes round, as she did in the last book.

This story is compelling and awesome.  I already bought and started the third one.  Can not wait to see how this whole thing ends.  So glad I don't have to wait for it to be released like those that read these when they first came out.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

I'm late to the party on this one.  Hunger Games takes place in North America, in a strange dystopian world were The Capitol is in control and the people of the 12 districts live in constant fear of violance from their leaders.  We are introduced to Katniss Everdeen on the morning of The Reaping, when the capitol holds a draft in each district for one girl and one boy to be enlisted to participate in The Hunger Games.  The tributes, as they are called, are age 12 - 18, and are drawn at random.  Slips of paper with the kids name on them are added for each birthday between 12 and 18, and then kids can "get" more slips dropped in the bucket for things like, oh food for their families.

Now the games themselves?  Brutal.  The winner is the last surviver.  The remaining 23 tributes are either dead based on the horrific elements that the gamemakers subject them to, or at the hands of one of the other tributes.

And this is young adult fiction.  I would not let anyone under the age of 16 read this book, and it's recommended for 7th graders.  Not my 7th grader.  Death is very real and the book is brutal and bloody and vicious.  I don't know how the movie (which is coming out in 2012) is going to get a PG-13 rating with some of the subject matter.

That being said ... I loved this book.  It's fascinating in it's brutality.  Though one of the commentors on Amazon nailed it on the head ... this situation would not happen.  As no parent would ever send their child to die so willingly, without a fight.    I know I wouldn't.  And our lead, Katniss, has a salient point in that she will not have children because she will not subject them to the games.

I am positive that other people would have the same thought, and thus the population would quickly dwindle.

But it's fiction, you suspend reality a bit.  And it's YA fiction (sort of) and kids always think they know more than their parents, so it feeds into that.

Katniss is a great character.  She's smart and caring but she's hardened by the life she's been forced to live and her callousness feels very real to me.  I understand it.  She does not give Peeta (the other lead, the male tribute from her district) enough credit for intelligence and that bugs me, and her treatment of him bothered me a lot.  I could not understand why she wouldn't admit that she cared about him as a person, even if she didn't care about him romantically.

It felt immature to me (it's supposed to, I know) that she couldn't figure out how she felt about her hunting partner back home (Gale) and how that related to Peeta.  To me they were two different people that held different roles in her life.  But, we all know how all YA books have to have a love triangle.

Wait ... why is this again?

For once I would like to read just ONE YA book that didn't involve a girl lead who is blindly adored by two boys.  Seriously.  Please?

Also - for those of you that are wondering.  I read so much YA because 1 - I like to know what the kids are reading and 2 - I live in an area that is very kid friendly, and as such our public library gets all the latest teen fiction, but not all the new adult fiction.  Who knew.  And most of what's available on the digital collection (my favorite thing ever) that is current, is young adult.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Spells, Aprilynne Pike

The sequal to Wings starts 6 months after we left Laurel and David and Tam.  Laurel has been summoned to Avalon for faerie training for the summer, and she goes.  She sees Tam a lot during this time, and David not at all.

Insert appropriate love triangle conversations / events here.

After her summer in Avalon, Laurel goes home and starts her normal school year with David.  She has been given new warnings about staying away from trolls, who are out for revenge after they were out manuevered for the property in the last book.  She ignores this, of course, gets in trouble, has to be saved, and then gets in trouble again, and is saved again.

All leaving room for the final installment that's due out in the fall.

This was as good as Wings.  The relationships are better than in some other YA.  But again, I grow tired of love triangles and young girl characters that everyone just seems to fall all over because they are oh so beautiful.  The foundation, I think, has been laid for Laurel to end up with Tam and David to end up with their friend who's name escapes me.  But, who knows.

If the third one is at the library I'll read it.  There is more sexuality in this book.  So not for tweens, in my mind.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Wings, Aprilynne Pike

Laurel has moved to Crescent City with her parents and has started her first year of main stream school.  She has been homeschooled the first fifteen years of her life.  At school she meets David, a very nice young boy who is very nice to her.  Midway through the fall, Laurel has some strange stuff happen and ends up discovering she's a faerie, and not human at all, but a plant.  And that there are trolls out there that want to own the land her old house is on, and trolls are bad and kill faeries.  She meets Tamani, a faerie sentry that protects her old house, and who is also very attractive and who is also in love with her.

This was a quick read.  Took no time at all, and it was pleasant.  Laurel is cute and David and Tam are fun.  Faerie background bores the living daylights out of me.  Faeries hold very little interest to me.  But, this was easy to get through so it must not have been that bad.  I also picked up the second one (like I've said before - all YA is a triology now) from the library so ... if you're looking for a quick fun, YA ... Wings is a good bet.

I'm always up to looking at what the kids are reading.