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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (2009)

Book review: Hunger Games #2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, 2009)

catchingfirebookKATNISS EVERDEEN SURVIVED THE HUNGER GAMES.
NOW THE CAPITOL WANTS REVENGE.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.

THE SECOND BOOK IN THE HEART-STOPPING HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY

After finishing the first Hunger Games book, I went straight for the second and devoured it in about a day, because I couldn’t put it down. Now, a while later, I can’t really remember why.

Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 after both being declared winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games. President Snow isn’t happy with their little stunt, and basically tells Katniss that she better not rock the boat, or else. He’s fully aware that the whole star-crossed lover thing was 97% an act on Katniss’s part, but needs her to convince the nation that it’s true, as the nation is a cauldron about to bubble over.

Katniss (sort of) realises she has some sort of feelings for Gale, her friend back home, which complicates things when she and Peeta go on the “Victory Tour” around the districts and have to show everyone who deeply in wuv they really are. Their tour turns into more of a moral rally for the other districts, fuelling the flame that’s already sparked, and president Snow will have none of it.

Then the time comes for the 75th Hunger Games, and every 25th year, it’s a “Quarter Quell”, where the organisers do something even more wild and crazy than usual …

Poor Katniss. She only barely survived the Hunger Games, and now that she’s reunited with her family, she can’t enjoy them for long. Apparently, things are a little awkward when the guy who sort of imagined himself to be your boyfriend has watched you being lovey-dovey with another guy on TV, even if you didn’t really mean it.

Both Katniss and Peeta can see that things are not okay in the Districts, and they try to do what they can, but what ends up happening is even more chaos. They never really meant to start an uprising, but that’s what it appears they have done.

The book is a quick read (although that might just be because I couldn’t put it down) but it both slowed down and sped up when the Games came along. Sped up, because the tempo became a lot more urgent, and slowed down because it felt a lot like “been there, done that”.

As the series progresses, Katniss as a character frustrates me more and more. She still walks around all clueless about boys and people in general and keeps sulking over pretty much everything, although I suppose she does have plenty of reasons to do so.

The whole point is that just because they won the 74th Hunger Games doesn’t mean that the battle is won. There’s still a whole nauseating PR tour to deal with, and relatives to keep safe from president Snow and his underhanded threats. He’s such a nice man, not.

Can’t wait to see the film version of this, because I’m guessing the island is going to look spectacular. It’s not for the faint-hearted, though – some seriously dark things are going on. Life isn’t straightforward for the poor girl, and by the end of the book, it doesn’t appear as if it’s going to get any easier for her. After all, she helped (inadvertently) to spark a rebellion … but she’s not quite so eager to see it through.

In any case, Catching Fire is well-written and makes you hungry for more. True enough, as soon as I finished with this, I started reading the third and final novel, Mockingjay. The Hunger Games trilogy becomes an all-consuming passion while you read it; it gets inside your mind like the poison from a tracker jacker stinger, except nowhere near as painful. And that’s an impressive feat. Well done, Collins.

4 out of 5 clocks.

Traxy Thornfield

A Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel. Will get a novel out one of these days, if she doesn't get too distracted along the way.

2 thoughts on “Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (2009)

  1. Your remark about the forgettable _Hunger Games_ reminded me of a line from Bob Dylan’s interview for the box set “Biograph.” He was giving advice to aspiring songwriters:

    “…Disregard all the current stuff, forget it, you’re better off, read John Keats, Melville, listen to Robert Johnson and Woody Guthrie. Movies too. I’ve seen hundreds of them, how many of them stay with you? Shane, Red River, On The Waterfront, Freaks? Maybe a handful of others…I just saw one the other night, as soon as it was over, I couldn’t remember a thing about it. Seemed real important at the time, though.”

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