Tag Archives: suzanne collins

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook read by Paul Boehmer; 6.5 hrs on 6 discs): When cockroaches abscond with his baby sister, Gregor once again finds himself in the Underland, once again risking life and limb to fulfill a prophecy. Mostly this book was just okay. While I can see my younger self enjoying this, as an adult I found the prophecy angle far less interesting than it tried to be. Yes, the prophecy will come true but not in the way you expect it to. That’s just how it always go. And I’d be more forgiving except that that’s exactly what happened in the previous book in this series. I guess if you adored the first book and want that all over again, then you’ll like this one. As for me, I think I’ll be giving the rest of the series a miss.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Gregor The Overlander by Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook read by Paul Boehmer; 6.5 hrs on 6 discs): This is sort of Alice in Wonderland for urban kids. When Gregor and his baby sister Boots fall through a grate in the laundry room, they find themselves in an amazing world of pale-skinned but normal-sized humans who live among enormous bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders. Gregor soon learns that this is where his father went when he went missing more than two years prior, and immediately sets off on a quest to find him. Coincidentally, this all matches up with an old prophecy, the fulfillment of which drives much of the story. It was a decent adventure story and I plan on reading the next book in the series, but the world itself didn’t grab me as much as I’d expected it to. I had a lot of trouble picturing the surroundings for some reason. I did, however, appreciate the way a bunch of relatively overused story elements (underground cities, prophecies, rescues) came together in surprising ways. I liked how you could never be quite sure who to believe. Hopefully the next one is similarly unpredictable.

A note on the audio: Boehmer read the “geographic voices” quotes in Don’t Know Much about Geography by Kenneth C. Davis, which I wouldn’t have even noticed except that I just listened to it. Just a strange coincidence.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick; 11 hours on 10 discs): The war with the Capitol has begun! Katniss is front and center as usual, this time as a sort of mascot for the rebellion. As she reunites with her prep team and frets over Peeta’s safety, the lines between the Capitol and District 13 start to blur. Though there are no Hunger Games this time around, this unflinching and horrifying war story more than makes up for it in terms of violence. The awkwardly forced romance that bored and exasperated me when reading Catching Fire is all but gone here, overshadowed by far more pressing issues. In fact, were it not for Gale’s constant harping on whom Katniss will choose, the whole thing may have been moot. And though there were plenty of shocking and heart-breaking moments, the ending was one of hope.

My favorite character is probably Haymitch, bastard that he is, though I’ve always had a soft spot for Buttercup that only strengthened through this last installment of the series. This is definitely a trilogy I’ll be rereading at some point. I love the characters, but I’m also fascinated by how uncertain Katniss (and thus the reader) is about whom to trust. This is part of what draws me to dystopia stories in general, actually: how else but through misinformation does an entire population become so well-controlled?

A note on the audio: McCormick was once again excellent in her treatment of this book, with both the humor and the horror.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick; 11 hrs 37 min on 10 discs): Katniss is back home in District 12, richer than ever but still not safe from the Capitol’s reach. I enjoyed the story, even if it was clearly just a bridge between the first and third books in the trilogy. The love triangle was completely forced, reminding me eerily (and embarrassingly) of something I wrote when I was about 14. I like both guys and can understand Katniss’s dilemma, but it was still pretty unbelievable. All the same, it was fun to dive back into this weird world of specialized Districts, and I look forward to reading the third installment that has garnered such strong reactions.

A note on the audio: McCormick continues to shine. I wonder if seeing the movie will be weird after getting so used to her voices for all the characters.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook read by Carolyn McCormick; 11 hours 11 minutes on 9 discs): In a kind of Battle Royale-meets-The Running Man-type setting, each of the twelve districts in what used to be the United States must submit two randomly-selected teenage tributes – one boy and one girl – to the annual Hunger Games, where they fight to the death until only one remains. The story starts on Reaping Day (the day the tributes’ names are drawn) and ends when the victor returns home. Our narrator, Katniss, volunteers to be a tribute for District 12 (somewhere in the West Virginia area, I think) when the name of her younger sister is chosen. Since she’s the one telling the story you can be reasonably sure she won’t die, but it’s still quite gripping as you follow her fight for survival. There was a good balance between the drama of the games and Katniss’s confused emotions as a sort-of love triangle emerges. Never a dull moment. Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

A note on the audio: McCormick was great, using subtle but distinct voices for each character. I especially enjoyed her version of Haymitch, and I look forward to her interpretation of the other books in the trilogy. And for some reason, even though I knew she was supposed to be an olive-skinned brunette, I kept picturing Katniss as Atlanta Silverstone. I don’t know if this is because of the character or the narrator, but that’s how it is.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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