Tag Archives: Katniss Everdeen

The Book Character Quarantine Tag #Brainfluffbookblog #TheBookCharacterQuarantineTag


I saw this tag on Maddalena’s blog Space and Sorcery last week – and absolutely loved it, so decided to take up her generous general invitation to join in the fun…

Winne the Pooh by A.A. Milne
So… I know exactly what would happen to Pooh Bear if he found himself in a lockdown situation, as it happens several times in his adventures. He would retire to a suitably comfy spot with as many jars of honey as he could manage and emerge some time later, rather plumper and very sticky. I tried to replicate this behaviour with salt and vinegar crisps for the first few weeks of lockdown – and while I, too, became noticeably plumper, I also ended up with a rather sore tongue…

Pooh Bear would definitely be tubbier by the end of lockdown…

Captain Vimes from the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
Assuming COVID-19 was brave enough to try and gain a foothold in Ankh-Morpok – I’m sure there are viruses and bacteria there far older and more terrible that could swallow it whole – our brave Captain Vimes of the City Watch might well harness Lady Sibyl’s little dragons and use them to sterilise the streets with FLAMES. After all, you wouldn’t want to use water from the River Ankh to wash anything – apart from anything else, it’s something of a hassle to cut through the crust of filth and pollution to actually get to the liquid below.

Sam Vimes wouldn’t let a little COVID-19 mess with his City…

Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
I think finding himself in lockdown might well be the making of Kvothe. After all, he’s got a memoir to complete. He’s made a great start – The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear are highly readable and gripping accounts of his adventures. He just needs to stop wandering through the forest, counting leaves on the trees, or chopping down a small plantation for firewood, or visiting every alehouse in the kingdom – and knuckle down to finish the tale. Maybe being quarantined will be the nudge he’s looking for. Quick – ink and parchment for Master Kvothe!

Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Hm. Well no one will go hungry if they are sharing lockdown with Katniss – and you won’t need to queue at Tesco’s or sit up half the night waiting for a spot to open up for online shopping, either. Not while she’s here with her trusty bow and arrow. Just be prepared for a few less squirrels visiting your bird table…

Mark Watney of The Martian by Andy Weir
Highly trained and extraordinarily resourceful, I’m thinking that you won’t have a dull moment if you’re sharing lockdown with Mark. For starters, there’ll be a steady stream of jokes – some funnier than others. And he’ll be growing produce in no time flat, as well as organising everyone on a strict rota so that your household – no make that the street – will all be self sufficient within the first month. Which is probably the time it will take him to invent a vaccine for COVID-19, though be prepared for that to include quantities of poo and potatoes…

Be prepared to be VERY organised…

Review of Mockingjay – Book 3 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


This is the third book in this Y.A. dystopian series that was such a runaway success. Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games. Twice. But she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – everyone except Katniss. And yet she must play the most vital part in the final battle. Katniss must become their Mockingjay – the symbol of rebellion – no matter what the personal cost.

mockingjayHonourable mention must go to the unsung hero who did the blurb. This series is all about plot, despite the very strong protagonist at the heart of the action – and yet no one has seen fit to give away any major plot points on the back cover, which would have been all too easy. Well done, Scholastic – you certainly get a gold star from me over this. Would that other publishers were so careful of their authors’ content.

So… the first two books created plenty of tension, full-on action and a painful ongoing love triangle. As well as making harsh, pertinent comments about the exploitative nature of our current celebrity culture. Has Collins managed to sustain the energy and strong plotlines through to this final book in the trilogy? Does she manage to produce a sufficiently strong ending after the climactic moments her readers experienced throughout The Hunger Games?

It would have been so easy to fluff this book. Decide to go for a safe option – give us the Hunger Games, again, for instance. Ease up on her poor put-upon heroine. Lapse into the odd treacly moment, or turn her into a Mary-Sue construct who – somehow – manages to have the fate of Panem hinging on her personal agenda…

Fortunately for her readership, Collins is far too adept a writer to commit those sins and for my money, Mockingjay is the best of the series. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of imagination to visualise how quickly minor celebrities get trapped by their ‘image’ in much the same way that Katniss finds herself boxed in by becoming the poster child for the rebellion against the brutal regime running Panem.

Collins also continues to pull off those jaw-dropping moments which I certainly didn’t see coming – particularly the shocking climax. I sat down intending to give myself a small slice of Hunger Games magic – and was still reading hours later when I had a stack of other chores calling for my attention.

I find it particularly impressive the way that Collins manages to immerse her readers in the adrenaline-fuelled action, without making that the sole purpose of the books. There is passion and action without resorting to the eroticism of Twilight. And a sharp commentary that shines an unforgiving light on our Western culture. Collins certainly intends her readers to compare current middle-class American concerns with those sweet natured make-up artists from the Capital that work on Katniss. It is also refreshing to encounter all-action heroes, such as the Hunger Games’ survivors, who have been significantly damaged by their experiences. While Collins doesn’t flinch from depicting violent fights and deaths, she also shows there is always a price to pay for those left standing. And often that price is too much.

As for the romantic interest that wound through all three books – does Collins manage to conclude this satisfactorily? Absolutely. Along with the heartbreaking reason behind her choice…

If you want a masterclass in how to construct a classic plot, with the necessary action interspersed by introspection and exposition setting up the next scene – and a sudden unexpected twist thrown into the mix at intervals, then have a good, hard look at The Hunger Games series. Particularly this final book. It is provides a fitting conclusion to an exceptional series.

Review of Catching Fire – Book 2 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.
I read The Hunger Games on a train journey and couldn’t get the book out of my head – despite the fact that it wasn’t aimed at my age group. The tense page-turning action and unexpected twists had haunted me, as well as Collins’ spiky, conflicted heroine, Katniss. So – was Catching Fire going to be able to sustain the excellent story-telling skills Collins’ demonstrated in The Hunger Games?

If readers are expecting Katniss to be remotely upbeat about their survival after The Hunger Games, they are quickly put straight in the opening section. The whole experience has left Katniss traumatised. And once the ‘victory tour’ gets under way, that trauma becomes something else. For there are clearly signs in some of the Districts that the inhabitants are becoming restive under Capitol’s brutal control – and when President Snow has a private word with Katniss and makes it clear that he holds her liable for keeping any sort of rebellion in check, she realises that her responsibilities haven’t ended with keeping her family safe and Peeta alive… Hundreds of lives may depend on how she acts and what she says during their tour.

As for her relationship with Peeta and Gale… Snow points out, she now has to take a certain course in that direction, as well. I was gratified to see a complete lack of the self satisfied wriggling that occasionally accompanies a three-cornered relationship in some urban fantasies. Anyone who has been in that situation will know that it is generally a miserably painful business.

It is a lot harder to pull off a successful middle book in any trilogy than Collins makes it look. There has to be plenty of progression and action, sustaining the strong start that a best-selling first book has achieved, with sufficient exposition so that anyone reading the books out of sequence isn’t completely flailing around, yet without exasperating the reader who has the sense to read them in the proper order (something I rarely manage to do…). And the ending is particularly tricky. There has to be a complete story arc within the trilogy, yet with a couple of trailing plot points to ensure your loyal readership cannot resist rushing out and getting hold of the third book at the earliest opportunity. Collins gives a masterclass in getting this balance right. The concept of the whole series is neatly apt; her characterisation of Katniss is very strong with a compelling narrative voice – yet, I still think that Collins major talent lies in her ability to craft a classic story structure that pulls her audience into her tale.

I had resisted the pull of Chasing Fire by reading a couple of other books between The Hunger Games and its sequel on the grounds that often by reading a series of books by the same author, I become sensitive to the writer’s foibles which inhibits my enjoyment of his/her work. But as soon as I completed Chasing Fire, I reached for Mockingjay – I had to know what happens next. So if you’ve decided to avoid The Hunger Games series because you generally find books with a lot of hype surrounding them are often a disappointment – yet enjoy character-led near future, dystopian science fiction, then I strongly recommend you seek out this series. It’s worth it.

Review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


I’d heard a lot about this book, so when I saw the trilogy on the book shelves, I decided to get it and see what all the fuss was about…

Post-apocalyptic America, now named Panem, is divided into Districts and ruled by the authoritarian Capitol who keep the downtrodden, hungry populace under control by working them extremely hard. To emphasise who’s in charge, once a year all teenagers between 13 and 18 have their names put forward for the Hunger Games. When her younger sister’s name comes up, tough huntress Katniss Everdeen volunteers to replace her, knowing it is probably a death sentence. There can only be one survivor. But Katniss has been surviving for most of her life…

hungergamesThe neat premise is based on the Greek habit of selecting young men and women as sacrificial tributes – and like these tributes, before the ultimate ceremony, the Hunger Games players are treated like celebrities. Given a team to dress them and offered food they could only dream of, they are trained and interviewed and every move and reaction they make is commented upon. Collins certainly points up the carnivorous aspect of modern-day fame as Katniss stumbles through this particular minefield. But it is all a preliminary to the Games themselves…

I took this book to read on a long train journey – an excellent choice, as it turned out. Because it has to be one of most compelling page-turners I’ve read this year. In first person viewpoint, Katniss’s experiences grabbed my attention from the start and pulled me into the book. It isn’t a demanding or difficult read – but then that isn’t what Collins set out to write.

Katniss is marked by having to become the provider for her family after her father’s sudden death, and Collins’ depiction of a character constantly driven by need was utterly convincing. She is wary, automatically suspicious and determined to do whatever it takes to be the one to survive. Even if it means learning to walk in high heels and clinging dresses. Even if it means appearing to be in love with the other District 12 candidate…

However, Katniss discovers it isn’t that easy. There are the other contestants – and the hard truth remains that in order to survive, they all have to die. Once the Games started, I had a strong idea how the story would go – after all I’ve been reading Fantasy for one or three years, now. This, after all, is a book designed for a less jaded readership than yours truly. But Collins confounded my expectations – and while the overall ending was, inevitably, not a stunning surprise, many of the events along the way were unexpected. This book is a masterclass in how to handle full-on action, by producing a range of different challenges for the protagonist – and give her some time to assimilate them, before moving on again.

No one has claimed this is Great Literature – but it is certainly beautifully judged as a piece of writing entertainment. And in amongst the adventure and drama, there are some telling comments about our celebrity culture targeted right at the audience who should be seriously considering what the media is offering them. For my money, again, Collins’ has the got the mix right. The message of the book is stark – if celebrity shows continue to pander to an audience’s basest instincts, then something like the Hunger Games is the result – right back to the Roman mob’s raw blood lust while watching gladiators kill each other. And when considering the likes of The Jeremy Kyle Show, the only difference between the Hunger Games and our present day attitude is our decision not to actually kill participants – we certainly have no compunction in watching other people emotionally eviscerated for our entertainment.

I thoroughly enjoyed this vividly written book and look forward to reading the sequel.