Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Televised Death, Zombies and Cat Saving

by Sariah S. Wilson

I get these spurts of reading time - it isn't as often as I would like, but I'm so busy these days that I try to accomplish as much as I can in a short period of time and then just have to wait for the next schedule opening to come along.

Just finished:

As I mentioned in this post here - I thought "The Hunger Games" was one of the best books I'd read in a very long time. Simply could not put it down. So you know I was stoked when I found out that my local Barnes & Noble had the sequel, "Catching Fire," in stock. Down I drove to the store whilst still in my PJs, wearing glasses, hair in a bun.

Got home by 9:30. Book was done by 1:00. Paid for it dearly the next day.

Was it worth it? Heck yeah!

I was every bit as engrossed in "Catching Fire" as I had been in "The Hunger Games." I will say the only difference is that in the first book everything felt new - it was a world I was visiting for the first time and knew nothing about. Now I know a lot about this world, so it felt more familiar, but Suzanne Collins definitely managed to make this one every bit as readable and compelling as the first one. Here's the back cover copy:

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Here's what Publisher Weekly had to say about it:

Fresh from their improbable victory in the annual Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta get to enjoy the spoils only briefly before they must partake in a Capitol-sponsored victory tour. But trouble is brewing—President Snow tells Katniss directly he won’t stand for being outsmarted, and she overhears rumbles of uprisings in Panem’s districts. Before long it’s time for the next round of games, and because it’s the 75th anniversary of the competition, something out of the ordinary is in order. If this second installment spends too much time recapping events from book one, it doesn’t disappoint when it segues into the pulse-pounding action readers have come to expect. Characters from the previous volume reappear to good effect: Katniss’s stylist, Cinna, proves he’s about more than fashion; Haymitch becomes more dimensional. But the star remains Katniss, whose bravery, honesty and wry cynicism carry the narrative. (About her staff of beauticians she quips: “They never get up before noon unless there’s some sort of national emergency, like my leg hair.”) Collins has also created an exquisitely tense romantic triangle for her heroine. Forget Edward and Jacob: by book’s end (and it’s a cliffhanger), readers will be picking sides—Peeta or Gale?

(As far as the triangle goes, I'd have to say I'll be happy either way. Both guys are rootable.)

I would say this book skews a little older than the last one. Some references to what girls might have to sell in order to survive, the heroine shares a bed with a boy, etc. I'm loving the way she's developing the characters - I wasn't suprised by the twist at the end (the hinting/foreshadowing is put on pretty thick), but I was surprised by the people involved with it.

In the middle of reading:

What can I say? I'm not a purist. I like Jane Austen adaptations. I don't mind the many "sequels" out there. I loved both the LDS version of "Pride and Prejudice" and the Bollywood one. (As a side note, I got into an interesting discussion on a Regency Yahoo group about the LDS version of "P&P" as many felt it was inappropriate to set the story among those cultures. I couldn't figure out why - if you're okay with adaptations in the first place, it seems to me that if you're going to set it in modern day that there's few cultures you could still do the story in. Part of what makes the story so romantic (to me, anyway) is the restraint exercised on both sides. I can imagine that for a contemporary audience, a retelling of the story would be quite different; the characters would have to be very, very different because of the modern world. They didn't agree with me; but then they hated the Keira Knightley version as well, and I liked it for various reasons (an actual pretty Jane, the youth of the actors, the passion in the first confrontation scene between Darcy and Elizabeth, etc.) Like I said, I'm pretty open to different adaptations.)

Back to the the zombie version - the zombies and fighting of said zombies is a wee bit gross, but it's fun reading this classic book with zombies thrown in. I'm not too far into it yet - Elizabeth's just arrived at Netherfield. I do think it's hilarious though that there's a collector's edition coming out in October!

Also coming out in October is a graphic novel version of "P&P." I'm pretty sure I'll be picking that one up as well.

To be read:

My to be read list is is a very long, long, long list, but I am determined that the next thing I will read will be "Save the Cat!" by Blake Snyder. He wrote an article in a writing magazine that I subscribe to, and the things he said made a lot of sense. Plus, I'm fairly impressed by someone who manages to sell just ideas that don't even get turned into movies and still make a lot of money.

While searching for an image of the cover, I discovered that Blake Snyder passed away unexpectedly a month ago. He had plans to adapt his "Save the Cat!" structure to romance novels, and I'm disappointed that I won't ever get to read that now.

I've read recommendations from several writers who can't say enough good things about this book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

What are you reading/have you just read/will read soon?


At 9/06/2009 12:22 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

I have plans to read Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but I've flipped through the zombies one and can't get myself to read it. Adaptations I can handle (heck I've written one myself of a Shakespeare play), but this one is more than I can take! I'm sure others out there will enjoy it, but I couldn't even find any glimmer of Jane Austen in the few passages I read besides character names. The blood would probably be too much for me too, if I'm being honest.

At 9/06/2009 2:17 PM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

I read the ARC of Catching Fire and was not as impressed with it as I was with Hunger Games. It felt too much like a "bridge" book designed to span books 1 and 3. Lots of nothing happening followed by some done this before. I can live with the love triangle, but it felt like way too much of the book was nothing but "I love him." "No, I love him." "Wait, I love him, for good this time. Unless . . ." She is still an amzing writer, and I read it in less than 24 hours. But I didn't come away as satisfied as I had with book one. We knew where it was going, why not get to it?

At 9/06/2009 8:11 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Dear Jeff: I am now going to close my eyes and whistle a jaunty tune and pretend that you never said that you READ/HAD IN YOUR POSSESSION AN ARC OF CATCHING FIRE. Had I known this information previously, I would have flown to your house and made you read various badly written prologues until you surrendered it.

Annette - like I said, some of the gore is a little over the top, but I don't see it as just the same characters - the story is the same (only with zombies thrown in). Things like - besides admiring Elizabeth's fine eyes, Mr. Darcy is uber-impressed by her ninja fighting skills too. ;)

At 9/07/2009 12:48 AM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I loved Catching Fire and Hunger Games. I'm interested in that Save the Cat one. Thanks for the great reviews.

At 9/11/2009 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

P&P& Zombies is on my list- awaiting only all 78 people in from of me on the hold list at the library to read it.

A copy of Catching Fire has my name on it, too! I am also hoping to get my hands of a copy of Graceling and the 4th Vampire Academy novel. (My New Year's resolution was not to buy any more books- and to use re-useable shopping bags)

I am also excited about the next one from Shannon Hale, Forest Born. While her Bayern books aren't my favorite books of hers (with the exception of Goose Girl) I still love all her stuff.

Just finished Wings by Aprillynne Pike and enjoyed that.


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