Half of The Hunger Games Trilogy

So I’ve been obsessing a bit over The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, both by Suzanne Collins. Alright, I held off for a long time. Jerome talked about it from time to time, until I finally caved and bought the audiobook of the first book. After all, he caved and tried one of my favorite escapist YA books (Sabriel, by Garth Nix), so I figure I should give this a try.

Well, I stayed up all night before my flight back home to the Philippines to finish The Hunger Games audiobook; and then yesterday I was finally able to buy a copy of Catching Fire from Kinokuniya and I curled up to read it at around seven. I finished it at midnight. And I even attempted to draw them. (Operative word: attempted. I haven’t drawn in ages!)

Peeta, Katniss and Gale (quick sketch)

Peeta, Katniss and Gale (quick sketch)

I’ve read all the snarls about how it’s just basically Battle Royale, how it was a “ripoff”, and all that. Maybe it was; I haven’t read the former and I can’t recall any book I’ve read so far which follow basically the same plotline (of at least the first book). Maybe so, but that doesn’t detract from the sheer enjoyment of this book. From the overwhelming urge to keep listening, to keep turning the page, to find out what happens. The direct, no-nonsense writing fits well with the book; and the audiobook, read by Carolyn McCormick, is also commendable.

Who am I kidding, I just want to know what happens to Gale! :D Unlike some other heroines I can name (*cough* Makino Tsukushi *cough*) who I hated for a while because of all the shuffling, I actually understand, and aren’t annoyed with her confusion between Peeta and Gale. I like Peeta very much, he “got there first” with the bread, and I worry for him; but well, I’d take Gale any day ;)

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

I do wonder what’s going to happen to Peeta. Katniss is a figurehead, that’s true; but Katniss was right when she said that Peeta can sway people with his words. He’s emotionally strong, has commendable principles, has that charisma and wit that ignites feelings in people; he would shape up to be a fine leader after the revolution, for sure. I don’t want him to die, even though I know is death will also anger and fuel the people in Panem because of his sheer goodness. But if he doesn’t die, what happens to Katniss and Gale?

See, I think Gale is the right man for Katniss. He’s from the same background, and they know each other infinitely more than Peeta and Katniss know each other. They work very well together, and are evenly matched. It’s not to say that I think Peeta’s a “wimp” next to Gale, because he’s not; in a way, he also works well with Katniss because he complements her, he’s strong where she’s weak and vice versa. And really, there is just nothing to not like and admire in Peeta.

But this is Katniss we’re talking about. A girl who’s like Makino Tsukushi, like Alanna of Trebond. Let’s say Peeta lives, and is catapulted into leading the new world, or being groomed for it: a life in the spotlight, of placating other people, of politics, is not for Katniss. She would be powerless to go out and about, be active, hunt. That isn’t a life that’s altogether suited for her character. She would hate it.

It’s all conjecture, of course; I don’t even know if Peeta lives, and if he will be a leader if he does. If he didn’t die with the force field malfunction, President Snow would keep him alive to undermine Katniss. And Katiss would still endeavor to rescue him, which is only right. And then what? She’s right that she needs him; he’s her Hanazawa Rui. But I don’t want Peeta to endure Katniss getting married to Gale; and I don’t think Peeta’s like Jonathan of Conte who’ll fall in love with someone else.

August can not arrive soon enough.