With the first cinematic installment of ‘The Hunger Games’ long since gone from theaters and the second movie still more than a year away (it’s set for theatrical release in time for Thanksgiving…2013), you might be jonesing for a fix of the Suzanne Collins saga that has taken the nation by storm. Often compared to such popular franchises as ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Twilight’, the gripping story of reluctant hero Katniss Everdeen and her trials in the titular Hunger Games (a haunting competition that pits children and teens against each other in a bloody fight to the death) left us all wanting more. And although the books from the trilogy are all available for your reading pleasure, you might be on the lookout for a new way to enjoy these instant classics while you twiddle your thumbs in anticipation of the next incredible film. So why not sit back, relax, and let the dulcet tones of a narrator transport you to the post-apocalyptic world of Panem? Thanks to the ‘Catching Fire’ audio book you can now relive the second-installment hands-free while you drive, work, or catch some sun.
In truth, narrator Carolyn McCormick (whom you might recognize from her recurring role as Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on ‘Law & Order’, amongst a plethora of other television gigs), is anything but soothing in her telling of the story. Her clipped, precise reading and uneven cadence are almost off-putting. She sounds like the sort of computerized voice you might hear when dealing with an automated phone system. But listeners can only assume that this was the plan, and if so it was rather ingenious. After all, we’re being asked to enter a world in which the government controls the population through fear and lies (a world not at all like our own…ahem). And the terse narrative style adopted by McCormick puts listeners just enough on edge to fully immerse themselves in the uncertain future presented by Collins. In short, it is a master stroke that ices the cake of this compelling novel.
So what can listeners expect? When we last left Katniss and Peeta, they had survived the Hunger Game and were headed home. They had unwittingly sparked a revolution of sorts and gotten on the bad side of the Capitol in the process. But if you thought the first book took these two teens to the limit, wait until you hear what’s in store for them next. The second audio book finds the duo and their surviving family and friends living in the Victor’s Village and preparing for the dreaded Victory Tour, by which the survivors from District 12 will be paraded across Panem for the glory of the Capital. Through the course of the trip, Katniss strives to play the willing puppet for President Snow, doing her part to quiet the unrest in the districts. But it seems that the people of Panem have other plans, and each side wants to use Katniss for their own purposes. Will she ever be free of political intrigue? Will she have the opportunity to make a choice between Peeta and Gale? Can she ever hope to live a normal life after the Hunger Games?
Although the film studio has already brought you the first film in this series for home viewing, you’re going to have to wait several months to see the second movie on the big screen. And while you may have read the books when they first came out a few years ago, now is a great time to get your fix of ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise by picking up the audio book of ‘Catching Fire’ so you can catch up with Katniss and her crew. It’s sure to help tide you over until you can see the next installment in all its cinematic glory.