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How do you spark a revolution? Often, the greatest figures in history are the most reluctant. Such is the case of Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games series. We have to admit, we’re a late comer to the series, though we’d heard rumblings from avid fan-dom as early as last year’s NecronomiCon. Once we saw the film, we were hooked. I love it when something new and original breaks through. Fans of this space will remember our review of the first Hunger Games book, and we’re actively burning through (pun intended) the final (?) book in the series, Mockingjay.
In Book 2, the districts of Panem under the heel of the Capitol are on the verge of revolution. Ms. Everdeen, fresh from her inspiring (to the rebels) win in the Hunger Games arena finds herself as a pawn between her celebrated fame in the Games and an unwanted decent towards martyrdom. Think of Katniss as a Joan of Arc-meets-Anne Frank in this future world on the brink of destruction. I’ve also heard predictable references of her role as similar to that of a certain western religious messiah. The author lays out the theme as more along the lines of Theseus (he of the Minotaur fame) from Greek mythology. Like a gritty Harry Potter, Catching Fire continues the themes of coming of age in a period of war and uncertainty.
I love how the series lays out a straight forward, no gimmicks plot. In order to stave off the rebellion, a Quarter Quell is held, and Katniss finds herself back in the arena for a sort of “Hunger Games All-Stars.” OK, we know that’s a bit of a spoiler, but the series revolves around the Games, so you can kinda see it heading there…. But believe me, it’s the only thing that’s predictable about the book! Naturally, President Snow seeks to kill off Katniss and restore order, but she once again finds a way to take control of her hopeless situation once more. There’s a great message of “steering your own ship” and enabling the powerless that runs through the series. As of this writing, the second book of the series is due its film adaptation to be released on November 22nd, 2013. (Wow, that AND on a Trek year!)
We won’t put to many other spoilers out there; I encourage fans of the first film to read the second book before the film comes out. I’d put The Hunger Games series right up there with some of the greatest Sci-Fi dystopian futures of all time. This one is also a sly nod to the original dystopia, Lord of the Flies in the layout of the new arena. The Prez really goofs by letting Katniss get her hands on a bow again! The Hunger Games, Brave, Arrow, Hawkeye in the Avengers… 2012 could be said to be the “Year of Archery…” Be sure to “catch the fire…” we’ll be camped out in line opening day for Act II!