Thursday, 17 September 2009

GoodRead - "Catching Fire" & "Shiver" Book Reviews

I’ve never done a book review before so this is a FIRST! And not only that, am doing two books! Am going to do Catching Fire (Book 2 in the Hunger Games Trilogy) By Suzanne Collins and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Let's start with Catching Fire, shall we? Taking place several weeks (if not, months) after the nightmare-ish events of “The Hunger Games”, Katniss returns to District 12, knowing that she can no longer lead the life she once had. And it will never return to normal, seeing as she made a fool of the Capitol after she saved both her and Peeta’s lives, and that the Capitol (and its president, President Snow) wants revenge.

And revenge it will get. In any way shape or form.

But that’s not Katniss’s only problem. She and Peeta have to travel all 12 Districts and the Capitol, and in some Districts, both Peeta and herself have become figureheads to a resistance and if that continues, there will be uprisings and who knows what the death toll will be…

Now, I have several more pages to go (I started the book a week later than everyone else and decided to take my time. Plus, I don’t have a week off work to read it, unlike when I read the Hunger Games), but this is possible more gripping than its prequel. And that’s surprising because, in a trilogy, the middle book is usually the let-down of the series.

But not Catching Fire. It’s almost like being on a rollercoaster. After the first few pages (a huge improvement compared to Hunger Games opening pages – very hard to like or relate to Katniss), you dive into the thrill of the book. All the twists and turns and the breathlessness of it all. And it still has that moral effect to it as it did with the Hunger Games where you question if you would watch such a thing and you reminding yourself that the characters in both the Hunger Games & Catching Fire are children who have to kill to live, all in the name of entertainment.

I “hunger” for the third and final book in this trilogy. (Am so sorry for that awful pun!)

(And, as I promised my lovely friend Sasha, here is a photo of my mockingjay pin that she sent me [and two others – James and Andy] from the USA. [Hint Hint, Scholastic UK, this is what you should do when book 3 comes out, hint hint!])

Now, while I’m on a roll, I might as well do a quick review of Shiver by Maggie Stiefavter. This book is out in the USA and will be out, in the UK, sometime in late October so this is, maybe, an Advance review (oh no, the pressure!)

Since Grace was attacked by wolves when she was young, she has had a fascination with them (I won’t say obsession, but take it as you will). Especially one wolf in particular. A wolf with gold eyes.

Sam has always been in love with Grace. Ever since his gold eyes first laid eyes on her. But he has a secret that makes it almost impossible for him to be with her.

So when they meet under near tragic events, the two realise that they can’t live without each other and must fight to stay together. Fight against Sam’s secret and fight to keep Sam human. But how can you fight something when the coldness of winter is the enemy?

In America, some bookshops have used the promo “Stephenie Meyer Who?” and I can kinda see why. Apart from the supernatural element (am not going to tell you if she uses vampires or werewolves. Maybe she used the kraken for all you know), the language used is very poetic. There are some beautifully written lines that you get swept along with the story and the characters. Here’s one of my favourite lines from chapter 5:

"They were silent, beautiful ghosts in the woods." (Page 15 in US Edition of Shiver. Copyright owned by the author, Maggie Stiefvater.)

If I have any fault with this book, it’s the ending. I’m not dissing the ending as a whole, but there’s one thing in the final few chapters that I found a bit disturbing and I think, because of that, all the work of wanting Grace and Sam to be together (so, the first 3 quarters of the book) felt a bit tainted by the time you closed the book (once you’ve read the book, you’ll know what creeped me out.)

But I would recommend both of these books, but with a warning that both books have scenes that sensitive readers might find disturbing.

(Wow! I really enjoyed myself writing this! I will do a few more over the next few months on books am going to read and books I’ve read in the past. Anyway, I hope you’re all well and you all are reading gripping reads!)

EDIT: Just twitted Maggie Stiefvater ( and she has confirmed that Shiver is the first book in a trilogy. I believe the next book is called Linger (not 100% sure on that so...) But am very happy about that!

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