Monday, April 2, 2012

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire
By Suzanne Collins
Series: Hunger Games #2

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.(synopsis from Goodreads)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  Last month I read the Hunger Games, and despite rave reviews I wondered if Catching Fire could live up to the greatness that book one delivered. Often book two in a trilogy isn't as strong as book one and three. I am absolutely tickled pink to state that despite a slow beginning it was amazing. 

We pick up about six months after the last games. Katniss and her family are living in a posh townhouse, near Haymitch and Peeta.  She still goes hunting but only on Sundays and sadly she doesn’t see Gale nearly enough.  As a winner of the Hunger Games, she now has obligations to the capitol, and one is to make appearances. Before one such event, she heads home for a make-over from Cianna and the troops, only to find President Coriolanus Snow sitting in the parlor. He gives her a warning about her impact on the districts and makes a threat. Katniss is terrified by it, but will protect her family and Gale at all costs to herself. As she and Peeta tour the districts, the discontent of the people is evident. Despite her intentions to heed Snow's warning she is unable to change things.  After their return to District Twelve, there is a mandatory announcement. This year to celebrate the Quell or the seventy-five anniversary of the Hunger Games the reaping will be different. The tale that unfolds is riveting and the ending left me screaming for more.

We see some growth in the characters, and meet new players. Hints are dropped, and key elements are set into place for the final novel Mockingjay. Katniss begins to question things, and looks beyond her family and personal dilemmas to see the bigger picture. The events in the game had me glued to the pages, as one thing after the other happens at a maddening pace. The secondary characters were fascinating and had depth. We begin to see characters both in the capitol and the districts seek an end to the reaping and the suppression of the districts.

Collins world-building is amazing, and I loved the glimpses into the districts, the bearing down of the government and the glaring contrast between the districts and the capitol. Whether intentional or not Collins presents food for thought. The similarity between this dystopian and ours, causes the reader to take pause, and think about the wastefulness of the wealthy. Individuals and nations waste without thought as some go hungry or do without.  The capitol represents greed, and its people love everything in excess. The districts are little more than slaves. She reveals the human spirit in all its glory, its will to survive and the power of hope. I love the depth she brings to her characters whether they are exorbitant and flashy or quite and thoughtful. Every character is fleshed out and it makes the tale powerful.  

Catching Fire was delightful, fast paced and kept me spell-bound. If you haven’t yet read this series I recommend you pick them up.  While this is a young-adult dystopian it is timeless and a wonderful read for anyone and any age.  Suzanne Collins is forever on my must read list. Look for my review of Mockingjay the conclusion to the trilogy next month. All of the books in this series are available in paper, eBook and audio formats.

I gave this novel 5 coffee cups out of 5.

Suzanne Collins

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Have you read Catching Fire?
 Who was your favorite character? 

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At April 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM , Blogger Heather (ShoeGirl) said...

I'm going to TRY and give this book a 2nd chance, sometime. Took awhile for me to get into the Hunger Games, but I ended up loving it. Started Catching Fire, and stopped about half way through. It could NOT hold my attention, at all. I'm thinking maybe after Catching Fire (the movie), I'll read the book, but we'll see. :/


At April 2, 2012 at 10:28 AM , Blogger Danie said...

Yay, I'm so glad you liked it! Mockingjay isn't as good as the previous two in the series in my opinion, but it's still decent. Can't wait to see what you think!

At April 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM , Blogger Tribute Books said...

Excellent review, Kimba. I have to admit "Catching Fire" is my favorite out of the three :)

At April 2, 2012 at 11:29 AM , Blogger Missie, The Unread Reader said...

YES! I agree. Collins is an expert world-builder. I love what she did with this series. It was daring and gripping.

At April 2, 2012 at 11:40 AM , Blogger Debbie Haupt said...

I just can't talk myself into this series yet, too many un read books now, but I'm open to being talked into it.

At April 2, 2012 at 2:55 PM , Blogger Blodeuedd said...

I so need to watch the movie 1 too :D And perhaps re-read book1 and 2 ;)

At April 2, 2012 at 4:19 PM , Blogger Kristin said...

Yay!!! You liked it!!!! Some people didn't really like it but I liked it tons. I agree with you, Collins succeeded with her sophomore outing. I have no clue why people weren't crazy about this one, especially her district's world building and shocking ending!!

I'm still all for Peeta. He's the moral compass, the pure soul in this whole mess.
-Kristin @myparahangover

At April 2, 2012 at 9:41 PM , Blogger Fall Into Books said...

Awesome review! I love character development and world building. Yay!

At April 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM , Blogger Raine said...

I still haven't finished reading the first book but I went watching the movie. I like the movie except for the scene where the district representatives killed off by other kids. I was a little wary how graphic they would get that on screen. I was also afraid that my friend (a mom) would leave me inside the cinemas fortunately, she hasn't and was entertained by my movie choice. About the second book, I'm curious Peeta why turned his back from her, ok granted she has Gale in the first place that was already an obstacle. This is quite a predicament any girl would find herself in unintentionally. Katniss will have to be truthful to one of these guys soon. :D

At April 2, 2012 at 11:05 PM , Blogger roro said...

awesome review
ishould start boo to soon

At April 3, 2012 at 11:25 PM , Blogger Celine said...

Suzanne Collins is definitely one of the best dystopian authors out there! I absolutely loved the whole trilogy! The first one is probably my favourite but I did enjoy Catching Fire too!

I hope you can read Catching Fire soon, Kimba! Awesome review and glad you enjoyed it! ♥

Celine @ Forget-Me-Not

At April 5, 2012 at 5:07 AM , Blogger Rebecca (Kindle Fever) said...

Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I sadly didn't enjoy it as much as the first one, although the ending was definitely crazy. ;o I still need to pick up Mockingjay! Although I admit I'm quite scared to after reading some reviews...

At April 7, 2012 at 2:34 PM , Blogger Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info said...

I look forward to your review of Mockingjay. I've read all three, and my favorite still has to be the first book. This one would be second. Mockingjay frustrated me some, so I am anxious to see what you think of it. I still need to go see the HG movie, I am beginning to feel like the only one who hasn't seen it yet! :)


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