We continue our unit on dystopian society as we explore “the community” where Jonas turns 12 and his world is turned upside down when he becomes the Receiver of Memory. As we read through Jonas’ eyes we find out how disgustingly “same” his community is and how much of life has been taken away from the denizens. The writing and approach to narrative is quite different from our recent books, and as usual Charles and Asia debate if it’s a spoiler if you have a gut feeling about a plot point in a book that you read a decade ago but cannot now remember.
Next week we will be reading chapters 13-23 of book 1 in the series, The Giver.
Wrapping up The Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we see Coriolanus Snow’s final and complete descent into evil. After being caught cheating to win the 10th Hunger Games, Snow becomes a peacekeeper and much more drama occurs, which Charles was most definitely not expecting. We get into Snow’s mental state and his tendency to justify his cruel and bad behavior. His final descent ends up being quite perverse, but Snow lands on top. In this episode, we frequently commend Collins’ writing and all the ways she ties the prequel so neatly to the original trilogy.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-12 of The Giver, book 1 in our new series, The Giver Quartet.
Charles and Asia dive into The Hunger Games prequel novel this week, and they follow a young Coriolanus Snow on his journey as a mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games. We get to know Coriolanus as the only surviving male in a once wealthy high-class family, trying desperately to maintain his social status in the Capitol while not letting anyone else know of his troubles. The prequel serves to provide even more world building and explanations of Panem and furthers our conversations on how the Hunger Games were not designed that well, which we see on full blast in these earlier iterations of the games. We’re already seeing Coriolanus’ cruel side, and we’re expecting to see that blossom even more in the second half.
Next week we will be reading chapters 17-30 of the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
This week, we wrap up the Katniss Everdeen story, as she, Gale, and Peeta fight through the Capitol. We discuss the conflict between Katniss and Coin, and the resolution of the love triangle between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. We lose many major characters, and Asia and Charles get into how those deaths compare as first time readers, second time readers, and watchers of the movies. As expected we spend a fair bit of time on the love triangle and the essential differences in Gale and Katniss’ natures. Also, apparently Katniss spends months without showering, so we have to talk about that too.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-16 of the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
We enter the final book of the trilogy this week, Mockingjay. This episode we get to explore the Gale and Katniss dynamic as we haven’t actually gotten too much in writing yet. We also take inventory of the things that we didn’t notice on our first time reading like Coin’s red flags and Prim’s wisdom. We are able to label the conflict between the Capitol and District 13 as a metaphor for the cold war between capitalism and communism, and get into how Katniss responds to these approaches of governance. Of course, we have to hate on Gale for his Jacob Black qualities, and we continue to be a Team Peeta podcast.
Next week we will be reading chapters 15-21 of book 3 in the series, Mockingjay.
This episode wraps up Catching Fire, so we follow the plot from the prep time in the Capitol, through the arena, and into the final explosion. Charles and Asia dive into Katniss’ new strategy in the games of saving Peeta rather than herself, and the strange alliance that never made any sense. We get to meet some of the other victors as Katniss meets them, and like her, we generally like them. Asia thinks we could have figured out the clock sooner, but we do concede the horror of some of the more evil segments. As we’ve mentioned this podcast is officially Pro-Peeta, and we really enjoy getting to see Peeta and Katniss together in this section, both trying to die to protect the other.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-14 of book 3 in the series, Mockingjay.
We start the best of the books in the The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire. In this episode, we unpack the six months from Katniss and Peeta’s victory tour to their return to the capital as tributes in the Quell. It’s finally time for some love triangle in this story, and we are both heavily on Team Peeta, even bringing back some of our hatred for Jacob Black from Twilight. We admire how Katniss is handling the trauma and drama in her life, and we have a great time exploring this section of the plot which is pretty much skipped over in the movie. Of course, we’re preparing for the arena and the Quell as Katniss plans to save Peeta this time rather than herself.
Next week we will be reading chapters 15-27 of book 2 in the series, Catching Fire.
In this section, we get the second half of the Hunger Games including Katniss’ alliance with Rue and her final alliance with Peeta. We discuss the final few tributes, the darkness of the books, and the ending of the games. Charles and Asia unpack the complications of Katniss and Peeta’s relationship, and while we support Peeta’s love, we’re not happy with his reaction to Katniss’ confusion. We discuss the quality of the writing which does not disappoint and how this book sets up the remainder of the series so nicely. We also take some time to appreciate the gravity of the content, the loss of 22 teenagers’ lives, and we especially appreciate that Collins respects the severity of the content.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-14 of book 2 in the series, Catching Fire.
For this next series, Asia and Charles are going to Panem and returning home to a series that they both have read and love dearly. We get to follow Katniss around, and we revel in some eighth grade dystopian angst. Katniss and Peeta enter The Hunger Games, and we follow their journey from District 12, through training, all the way into the arena. We compliment Suzanne Collins’ writing because she simply does an excellent job worldbuilding while keeping the plot moving along. This section was definitely a page turner.
Next week we will be reading chapters 15-27 of book 1 in the series, The Hunger Games.
Note: This episode was recorded around 4th of July, so please excuse some fireworks in the background.
We finish His Dark Materials with our final showdown between good and evil, sense and confusion. Will and Lyra take us on an insane journey through the land of the dead, and Coulter and Asriel have the best arcs we could consider for them. The mulefa are still crazy, and there are a fair number of moments that we think lack the payoff that they truly deserve. We disagree on the ending which Charles finds tragically beautiful and Asia just finds tragic, and as promised, the anti-organized religion sentiments are further explored as the series wraps up.
Next week we will be reading chapters 1-14 of The Hunger Games, book 1 in our new series, The Hunger Games.