Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Review: Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is a great second novel in the Hunger Game Series. It grabs you from the first page and never lets you go. You would think, after the end of The Hunger Games that Peeta and Katniss would get to relax and enjoy their fame and fortune, but that is not to be the case (and what a boring book that would make!)

President Snow visits Katniss and threatens her with the death of Gale if she doesn’t work to convince the country that she and Peeta are in love and all is happy, so that unrest in the districts can be contained. But, as they tour the twelve districts, they realize that all is not well in their country. As Katniss is deciding what to do – whether to become a rebel or flee to the country, her fate is determined for her. Through a quirk of fate, instead of being mentors in the upcoming Games, Peeta and Katniss are again tributes.

These games are just as intense, dangerous, and compelling as in the first book. Collins is so creative in her “arena building” and her creation of character, situations, dangers and battles that I think I could read her writing forever. I also enjoy the strategies that are described – the complexities of figuring out who is REALLY your enemy or your friend. It all gets very complicated, and we see the tributes all thinking through these strategies in their own way. There is also the complication for Katniss that she knows the government intends for her to die in these Games.

This is a great story. It’s about being smart and keeping your cool under pressure, and about using not only your physical strengths, but your mental capacity. That’s what makes this series different than other dystopians—the complex strategies that are employed to prevail. The descriptions of the games and the arenas, the complexities of the characters’ personalities, and the tension building just add to the whole. Catching Fire ends on more of an uncertain note than the first book, making the desire for that third and final installment more intense.

These books are recommended to teens (and adults) who enjoy a great adventure or thriller, and enjoy rooting for the underdog.

Published by Scholastic, 2009
Copy obtained from the library
391 pages (qualifies for my 350 Page Book Challenge!)

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. This was my favorite of the 3 books. I love how the author managed to have another Hunger Games but make it interesting enough that we didn't get bored at all. And this book made me Team Peeta.

  2. The second part was better than the first! Catching Fire, like you said, was a thrilling read. Great review!


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