I’m doing another double-whammy of reviews for a few reasons: 1) These two books flew by. 2)It’s been fairly hectic at work lately and I don’t really have the time to write two full-on reviews. Yes, I still have time to read, but something’s gotta give, yes? 3)I don’t have a whole lot to add about either of these, so combining them just made sense.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins; page count 391
The second book in the Hunger Games trilogy was pretty much what you would expect from a second book. It develops characters a bit more, starts building toward a spectacular finale, but does not quite live up to its predecessor.
Yes, I enjoyed the book. Yes, I can barely wait to get the final installment, Mockingjay. But did I like it as much as I liked the hunger games? No. that being said, I did like the new characters and the developments in the second book. I also enjoyed the depth that was added to somewhat secondary characters. (I like reading about backstories. It’s odd; I know. Just imagine how much I enjoyed the appendixes in Lord of the Rings.)
Anywho, I’ll try and write a bit more when I obtain and finish the last book. Something slightly more worthy of the whole shebang. Once again, I would recommend this to just about anyone.
Scarecrow Returns by Matthew Reilly; page count 350
This was my first Matthew Reilly book. He seems to be getting more popular as an author. Although I think that has more to do with military/action books being on an upswing right now, and less to do with his writing style.
Scarecrow Returns follows Captain Shane “Scarecrow” Schofield, USMC, as he leads a small, unlikely group against an anarchist military from destroying the Northern hemisphere. Schofield, three other Marines, and four civilians are temporarily in the Artic testing out potential weapons/tools for the military. As fate would have it, an anarchist military/terrorist group (can one really call anarchists a military?) has taken over a top-secret Russian base several miles south of Schofield’s camp. When the Russians and Americans discover the plot afoot on top of the world, they are faced with a ticking clock and little hope beyond Schofield’s ragtag team.
You may be asking yourself, Why did Cornflower even bother reading it? Honestly, I was looking for an action movie, and didn’t find one that I hadn’t seen before. I decided instead to try out an action book. The book did succeed in satisfying my action craving, so that’s a point in its favor. That’s about it, though. The writing was less than stellar. If Reilly had not included pictorial diagrams of the setting, I don’t think I would have really had a sufficient mental image. That’s not good. Even with that, I am more disappointed in how unbelievable some of it was than anything else. If the general scenario isn’t bad enough, you should read some of the stunts. Wow!
All that being said, I might recommend this books to someone who wants to test out a military action novel wihtout devoting a lot og time or energy to the genre. As long as their expectations are not too high, I doubt they’d be very disappointed.