Since we've basically got past all the impressions of important people and such, and this is such a huge chunk, let's just go chapter by chapter, shall we?
Katniss, you stupid, get the bow later. Seriously, run the other way. You'll get it later when you encounter the idiot who actually did run into the middle of a bloodbath for a weapon they can't use.
I've been talking to Katniss that way a lot.
Oh good, yes, violence! Nice. Suzy's good at writing action sequences--her style of matter-of-fact dramaticism is especially effective in the Cornucopia scene.
I wish that Suzy would feed me information by which I can identify/separate the different Districts more steadily. I know that District 12 is coal and District 11 is agriculture I think? And that's it. Which makes the paragraph listing the tributes dead at the Cornucopia less a dramatic reflection on the senseless slaughter of eleven teenagers and more me just being overwhelmed by numbers ("Which one was district 5? Was it that cripple kid? Probably since I like the cripple kid--he's probably dead. Is he dead?").
I feel like even if I wasn't smart enough to figure out Peeta's probably playing some sort of unneccesarily complicated double-agent game, I still wouldn't be that blown away by his partnership with the Careers. Honestly, right now I really don't care about Peeta. I'm not sure why. Possibly because I don't have any impressions of him.
But even if I wasn't smart enough to figure out Peeta's game on my own, the fact that Katniss is like, "Oh wow, Peeta's joined with the Careers" tells me that he has, in fact, not, but is rather being clever.
There's an impression: Peeta can be clever. Good for him.
Oh, he's also good at camouflage because he decorated cakes. This is probably the least sense-making contrivance of the book so far, but that was way back in chapter like 8 so we won't talk about that right now. Gold star, Peeta.
Sometimes Katniss can be really smart. I'm really enjoying the first person narrative now because it's interesting to hear her think about logic and survival and strategizing about killing people (as opposed to feelings and Gale and food) (okay, that last one was a lie I always like hearing about food).
And sometimes she can be so dumb.
"This is an okay place to die, I think." [p. 170]Of dehydration. As she lays there in the mud. Mud. "I shall die here, of thirst, here in this soft wet, wet mud. Because there's no water for miles. Miles."
I really can't blame her, being that she's dying and whatever. But I giggled. I giggle sometimes at inappropriate and dramatic moments.
This chapter was pretty boring--it was all about Katniss dying, and not in the fun way. I feel like she didn't need to have an entire chapter dedicated to this.
I'm wondering why there aren't any guns as weapons here. Don't try to tell me that the Gamemakers don't think it would be interesting enough: guns can be pretty effective for bloody, gruesome slaughter too--anyone who's seen Battle Royale or a Quentin Tarantino movie knows that. The short answer is probably that if there were guns Katniss probably would've just gotten shot out of that tree just now when the Careers found her. But I need to think of a better reason.
Oh my gosh, it's Rue. Hi, Rue!
That was intense. Seriously, intense, that part where Katniss is running around all insane and stuff. Probably my favorite chapter so far just for the level of emotional reaction it got out of me.
It's really too bad the creatures that are responsible for such horror and extreme suspense are called tracker jackers.
If you want someone to take you seriously, never rhyme.
Why are you thinking about Gale right now, Katniss? You almost just died, stop thinking about feelings. You should be more worried about brain damage, or emotional trauma, or that you're still insane and might start eating people.
(That would be an interesting twist.)
"So I focus on the one really good thing that's happened since I landed in the arena. I have a bow and arrows!" [p. 197]I think this is how this scene will go in the movie:
"DUN-DU-DU-DAAAA! Katniss got the bow and arrows! This sturdy weapon was forged by the craftsmen of the Capitol and can be used to shoot distant enemies or targets. Set them to c and use + to aim."Katniss, you get dehydrated so much. This would never happen if you weren't a woman. It's clearly because of all your hysterics.
Ah, it's Rue again! And I finally get to like, meet her. Oh, I'm so excited! And nervous! And excited!
New favorite part(s): the interactions between Rue and Katniss in this chapter. I feel like their relationship develops better and deeper that any interactions thus far. I like seeing this human side of Katniss in a way that doesn't involve her being hysterically wrong about something or confused by a boy. And I really wanna keep Rue in my pocket or carry her around on my shoulders and we'll have adventures and she can teach me to be a spider monkey like her.
Question: is Rue really as cute as I think she is?
She's definitely going to die. Dangit.
"Rue has decided to trust me wholeheartedly. I know this because as soon as the anthem finishes she snuggles up against me and falls asleep." [p.208]Aw.
That's freaking adorable.
"'Wait, and the boy from Ten, the one with the bad leg.'" [p. 209]Yes! He's still alive! Can I meet him?
I forgot to mention that Madge is also one of my favorite characters. I feel she showed a lot of depth in a short amount of time. I'm reminded of this because Katniss tries to give Rue her special pin in this chapter. Dirty regifter.
"Unexpectedly, Rue throws her arms around me. I only hesitate a moment before I hug her back." [p. 213]Aw.
"There are four tributes. The boy from District 1, Cato and the girl from District 2, and a scrawny, ashen-skinned boy who must be from District 3." [p. 215]Suzy, if you're not going to name them, like you did with Cato, you need to give them some defining characteristics by which we can identify them, like you did with ashy-boy. It serves multiple purposed that are all good:
- It helps the reader instantly identify/differentiate the characters (example: "Big Nose" is easier to remember than "Boy from District 1"). It also saves you as the writer from the tedious task of having to write "the boy from District 1" every time you're talking about him to ensure you're being clear.
- Often it will cause the reader to emotionally connect better with the character; the more a reader knows about a character, the more humanized that character becomes in the reader's eyes. Which can only be to your advantage. I mean, even if you're going to kill them off instantly, it would be nice if the reader was like "Oh you have glasses I have glasses we're kindaHOLY CARP DID YOU JUST LOB A HARPOON THROUGH THAT GUY?!" Skipping ahead to give an example, my reaction to Cato breaking the neck of the kid from District 3 was a lot stronger than it would have been had he just be "the kid from District 3" because you gave him identifying characteristics.
- It removes that giant sign that says "EXPENDABLE CHARACTER" from the character's back. Which is nice even if they are an expendable character. Don't you like the element of surprise, Suzy? I do, too.
Do you think Katniss is going to have permanent hearing loss? That would be kind of neat, actually. I have this soft spot for maimed heroes. I think because it makes them more human. There would be a lot of respect for Suzy if she permenantly maimed her heroine before even the climax of the book.
I get the feeling there are going to be actual interactions with the Fox-Faced girl and that I'm not going to like her. My instinct speaks to me against her.
Katniss is sure Rue is fine. This probably means that Rue is going to die soon. Katniss, I wish you'd shut your big fat head-mouth.
Another point in Suzy's favor: for the most part, her narration of Katniss just foofling around and eating stuff and thinking about survival don't get boring (the exception being that entire chapter where she was dying of thirst, but nobody's perfect). That takes some talent, I'd say.
KATNISS, DANGIT, I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT."Whatever happened, I'm almost certain she's stuck out there, somewhere between the second fir and the unlit one at my feet. Something is keeping her up a tree." [p. 231]
"...there it is again. Rue's four-note tune coming out of a mockingjay's mouth. The one that means she's all right." [p. 233]
LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE.
LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE.
@%$&@^#&*! #*$(&$^!@#^!!! Katniss. I hope you're pleased with your evil, I'm-Always-Wrong superpower. For those of you keeping track that's five. Five times Katniss has asserted something with surety and been completely wrong. And those are just the major ones (I'm not counting the trivial ones, like "I'm going to die here in this mud").
I would've cried, probably really hard, except I was at work and my co-worker probably would've thought it was weird if I started sobbing in the middle of nap-time whilst surrounded by a plethora of sleeping toddlers. It was all manly, the way I sucked my tears back in and hid my tiny sniffles. But it was especially hard when District 11 sent Katniss the bread. That was a very poignant gesture there, Suzy.
But dangit, this is so upsetting. I don't care that Cinna's not even in the Hunger Games, he's totally going to die somehow too and none of my very favorite characters are going to survive this and I mean I like Katniss well enough but I am irate right now.
"I really think I stand a chance of doing it now. Winning." [p. 242]My God. I think Katniss just created a paradox within the Theorem of the Wrongness of Katniss' Assertions.What can this mean? I can only deduce that the fabric of the Hunger Games universe will degenerate into utter chaos. Slowly at first, discrepancies will begin to become apparent to the unknowing characters and readers alike--Cato will suddenly have a tragic backstory, causing our protagonist to empathize and offer to join forces with him at the last moment against the Capitol; fragmented sentences will reappear, with greater frequency and dwindling dramatic effectiveness; Katniss will begin reminiscing that settling down and having a lot of babies would be a nice way to spend her time if she survives the Games. But as the universe continues to spiral into oblivion the rate of chaos will accelerate--entire characters will be completely forgotten, such as the Everdeens never being mentioned again; Katniss and Peeta will be suddenly transported into the future where they will witness their future selves in a horrible, loveless marriage that ends in them killing each other; the twist at the end of the book will be that everything is orchestrated by the disembodied head of the first animal mutation experiment, the brainy bear.
Or the statements will just cancel each other out and fate will be able to carry out its whim as before, without any indelible laws such as the Theorem of the Wrongness of Katniss' Assertions getting in its way.
"Under the new rule, both tributes from the same district will be declared winners if they are the last two alive." [p. 244]Okay, I'm trying to be generous here because there may well be a reasonable, logical explanation for this plot twist that naturally Katniss isn't going to find out until later...but right now this strikes me a giant, aggressive contrivance. I was hoping at least that Katniss and Peeta would think of something clever that would get them out of having to kill each other. Like just refusing to do it, or faking a death, or somehow escaping the arena. Or something that didn't involve changing a tradition of nearly a century for no reason other than that the spectators really like Peeta's and Katniss' fake romance. The whole basis of the Games is actually to entertain people, but to remind the Districts that the Capitol has absolute control. I don't see how this reinforces that.
But I'll give Suzy a chance to cover for that one. It just has to be good.