Sunday, August 22, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

4½ out of 5 stars

Note: This review assumes that you  have already read the first book in this series, The Hunger Games.  If you have not yet read The Hunger Games then you may not want to read this review, as it will reveal key points from the first book.  You can find my review of The Hunger Games here.

Katniss Everdeen’s life will never be the same again. She will always have enough to eat and money to spare. Everywhere she goes there will be cameras trained on her. On top of all that, the people she holds closest to her heart will always be in danger. This is because of the Hunger Games. In which Katniss astonishingly won with her partner, Peeta Mellark. For the first time in the history of the games, there were two victors. They survived, and made it out of the arena, only to end up being thrown into a new kind of game. When Katniss pulled out those poisonous berries, it wasn’t seen as an act of love or survival, but an act of rebellion. And guess who isn’t too happy about it, the Capitol. 

Katniss never meant for her actions to be seen this way. She just didn’t want to lose Peeta, and couldn’t face District 12 again if she had killed him. So, she did the only thing she could do, sacrifice herself. But, to the Capitol, her resolve meant much, much more. To them she was defying the Capitol. If Katniss and Peeta had both died as they intended, they would have made the Hunger Games a joke. There would have been no winner, and that was not acceptable. Now they must do all they can to convince the Capitol and President Snow that they are madly in love and meant no harm. Or else…

But this is not going to be easy for Katniss. She struggles with her emotions, and tries to decide what she really feels for Peeta… and Gale. What does Gale, Katniss’s “cousin,” think of all of this? Gale isn’t really Katniss’s cousin. They have been hunting partners and friends ever since they were kids. But has there been something more between Gale and Katniss? Katniss isn’t sure what she feels, and both Peeta and Gale aren’t making it any easier for her. Peeta has become isolated from Katniss, and Gale acts like he doesn’t even know her anymore. How is she supposed to figure this all out, while at the same time calming down a growing rebellion? And if she can’t, what will happen to everything she holds dear? All is revealed in Suzanne Collins engrossing sequel, Catching Fire!

This second installment in The Hunger Games Trilogy shows just how dire Katniss’s situation is. Catching Fire is a spectacular, and gripping tale. Katniss’s life has become even more complicated. She now must tread lightly on her feet, for fear of tilting the fine balance between peace and a full-out revolt. I was enthralled as Katniss was forced to do what was best for everyone, and not simply choose the easiest way out. This book will make you feel just as cautious as Katniss does, as every choice she makes could cause a resonating after-effect. Catching Fire will appeal to teens and adults alike, as it shows just how fragile the fine line between the Capitol and the Districts is.

First and foremost, I thought that this sequel to The Hunger Games truly portrayed everything at the perfect angle. It proved to me, and Katniss, just how much danger she was in. At the same time, it caused me to want to know how Katniss would handle each new situation. I have to admit, that many a time I felt just as scared or worried as Katniss did. Just like in The Hunger Games, I experienced all of the emotions and thoughts that were going through Katniss’s mind. This really made the story feel so much more personal.

The title, Catching Fire, fits the story to a “T”. Things are heating up in the Districts. Katniss still is that girl on fire, and she has sparked an uprising that might grow into an inferno that’s out of control. The title represents this, and verifies that things aren’t playing into the hands of the Capitol and President Snow.

However, this book left me wanting more, which is always a good thing. But, this also slightly annoyed me, as Suzanne Collins left the ending of Catching Fire a cliff-hanger. I wanted to know exactly what happened next, without the wait. My impatience will be resolved when Mockingjay comes out in next to no time. I was left craving for more of The Hunger Games Trilogy, but I wish that Suzanne Collins didn’t withhold so much information from the readers. It would have been nice to know a little bit more from the second book.

Catching Fire has all the drama, romance, gore, fighting, and suspense as The Hunger Games did, but it does seem to be more of a toned down version of the first book. Despite this, Catching Fire is not one to miss, as Katniss Everdeen must fight for what is right, and do all she can to make her cause come true. Join Katniss as she comes to terms with what she must do to save the people of Panem in this dynamic struggle, Catching Fire!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

Check out Suzanne Collin's website at
Check out the Scholastic Catching Fire website at
Catching Fire is available from Amazon here.

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