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Spoiler Alert

This question is part of the GRAB(ook) Club, an online book club open to anyone and everyone.  It contains more than a few spoilers for Catching Fire, so read at your own peril.  No, really, stop reading this post if you plan on reading the Hunger Games trilogy.

So, Catching Fire managed to shock the shit out of me at the end.  I’ll admit that I had Hunger Games ruined for me when the press people started sending me Catching Fire movie images while I was reading the first book.  I inadvertently saw who was still alive, and therefore knew who would be the winner, though not how.  Still, I was a little annoyed that it was inadvertently ruined even though the book was still enjoyable.

On the other hand, I went through Catching Fire wondering how the hell they’d get out a second time, and… wow… that ending.  Blew my little mind.  I don’t know why I didn’t consider it, but I didn’t.

I have a push-me-pull-you relationship with spoilers.  On one hand, I obviously dislike them since they ruin the author’s story telling effect.  Catching Fire wouldn’t have emotionally affected me if I knew what was going to happen at the end.  I was thrilled by the surprise.  And, for me, it was that surprise that made the book.  On the other hand, I have been known to sneak onto spoiler sites or read articles that I know will ruin a movie or book.  I also sometimes flip ahead a page or two in the middle of intense action to get a sense of where things are going.  I can’t help myself.  I’m like someone who breathes too heavily next to someone else’s birthday candles.  On one hand, I don’t want to blow them out, but on the other hand, I’m certainly saying a lot of words with drawn-out, heavily inflected “H”s.

You can’t have it both ways.

Do you like spoilers, or do you like to go into books knowing nothing?

And were you surprised by the ending?

After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for Catching Fire.  You can get your own copy of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins at bookstores including Amazon.

11 comments

1 a { 12.12.13 at 8:29 am }

I don’t know that I was shocked, because there was some foreshadowing. But it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to happen.

I don’t like to read ahead, but I don’t really mind spoilers. I’m not a huge fan of surprise.

2 Heather { 12.12.13 at 9:19 am }

For books? I hate spoilers. I want to anticipate, I want to be surprised, I want to be sitting in bed at 2am on a weekday trying to finish a chapter/section/book. That’s one of the main reasons I read books. Love it.

The ending to Catching Fire did surprise me but not in the drop my plate of dishes kind of way. I remember reading it and saying to Phil: C’mon… Really?! (he read them before me). I need to re-read them but I do remember liking the third one the best.

I will add on that I’m kind of done with the teenage series books. I read the twilight series and then this one. While I liked the books well enough, there was one thing I couldn’t get past: the annoying immaturity of the characters. It was at that point that a good friend pointed out: they are teenagers Heather. Yeah, I’m kind of over teenagers as the main character.

3 Katherine A { 12.12.13 at 9:52 am }

As far as the spoilers, it really depends. If I’m very invested in a book or series, then I don’t want to know the ending. I remember when the final Harry Potter book came out, I wasn’t sure which direction Rowling would go (although I had my predictions) and I didn’t want to know. Same with Hunger Games. By the time I’d finished the first book, I wanted to read the books whole without knowing what would happen before I got to the end.

On the other hand, when I’m somewhat “meh” about a series, I don’t really mind spoilers at all. I found out the end of Twilight before I finished the books and didn’t much care one way or the other.

The ending to Catching Fire? Even though there’s some foreshadowing going back and rereading, I definitely did not see that coming when I first read the book. I figured Katniss wasn’t going to die, but I wasn’t sure how Collins was going to manage it.

4 Sharon { 12.12.13 at 10:12 am }

The ending surprised me; I did not see it coming. Though, to be fair, I read the entire trilogy in my scarce spare time when I first returned to work after maternity leave (trying to recapture some normalcy in my life), so my very sleep-deprived brain was not firing on all cylinders at the time. ;-)

5 Liz Self { 12.12.13 at 11:29 am }

The “I also sometimes flip ahead a page or two in the middle of intense action to get a sense of where things are going. I can’t help myself” is definitely me too. I don’t like spoilers, but they don’t necessarily ruin the book for me either. I read this book (and the whole trilogy) a while ago but haven’t seen the new movie yet.

6 Ann Zawistoski { 12.12.13 at 1:45 pm }

I think for me it depends on when I’m going to get to the end. For tv shows, I seek out spoilers. For movies, if I’m not likely to see it soon, I’ll look for spoilers. For books, I need spoilers less often, though I’ve also been known to flip ahead and just scan for a character’s name to see if they survived. Being spoiled has never actually ruined my enjoyment of any story.

7 Ellen { 12.12.13 at 2:25 pm }

I read wiki pages *before* I start a book, so I am pretty clear what is going to happen from beginning to end. Clearly from the responses so far, this is not a popular way to go, but it works really well for me. I get impatient and frustrated when I don’t know what is going to happen, and I find I really enjoy the language of a book if the ‘story’ is not making me rush. I am also the sort of person who can re-read a book or series over and over again, for the sheer pleasure of the familiar.

8 Megan { 12.12.13 at 4:49 pm }

Oh, my husband and I get into heated discussions about this. I’ll read the first few chapters and then flip to the end and read the last page. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember, even as a child. I did restrain myself with the Harry Potter books though and it was a great test of my willpower.

9 Katie { 12.12.13 at 9:43 pm }

I am not good with suspense, so I have definitely been known to jump to the last page halfway through the book. Unfortunately, by the last page, the suspenseful ending is usually far over and they’re usually wrapping everything up, leaving me more confused than before. I remember doing this for all of Harry Potter books.

10 St. E { 12.17.13 at 12:29 am }

Do you like spoilers, or do you like to go into books knowing nothing?

Well, I am pathologically bound to read through them, even if I may not have wanted to read them in the first place.

Also, here’s the thing: If borrow the book from a library, I am okay with knowing nothing. But if I am about to buy the book, I need to have some idea of the book’s theme (not necessarily spoiler).

And were you surprised by the ending?

Waiting to get my hand on this book. Finished The Hunger Games, a while ago.

11 Kathy { 01.28.14 at 5:26 pm }

I have been waiting to read and comment on this until I read the entire Hunger Games series. Now that I am done…

I am not a big fan of spoilers and try to avoid them. I had a similar experience, in that I accidentally saw wording related to the movie, when I was just starting the book, that hinted that Katniss would be returning to the Hunger Games. I was surprised, but tried not to let it dominate my reading. And I didn’t see the ending coming, at all. I am in withdrawal now that I am done with Mockingjay. I know you have been reading it too and am interested to hear your thoughts. Here’s a link to a post I just wrote about reading the series: http://bereavedandblessed.com/2014/01/withdrawl/

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