It is Saturday at last! Hopefully, you are all having a wonderful weekend. Are you holiday shopping? Baking holiday treats? Going to a party? Seeing a movie? Or relaxing at home with a good book? Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a safe and happy weekend. Speaking of movies, the recent release of Catching Fire has everyone in a Hunger Games frenzy again. I cannot believe it has taken me this long to get around to reading the second book in this fantastic series that set in motion the current dystopian craze. I am a late comer to the Hunger Games Trilogy as I waited to pick it up until 2012. After reading this book, I can certainly see why everyone is hooked. If you are like me and you have put off reading this series, get it done before you see the movie. I haven't had a chance to see the movie, yet but I am itching to after this book. Have you seen the movie? Does it stay true to the book?
Here is my review:
Catching Fire(Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.
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 her 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.
In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.
Hardcover, First Edition, 391 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
Five Stars: An Outstanding sequel that will keep you riveted until the final page.
Katniss and Peeta have returned home to District 12. They are both haunted by horrible nightmares from their time in the Hunger Games Arena. At least they are well fed and housed and they have a lifetime of security to look forward to... or not.....Katniss while preparing for her victory tour through the districts, receives an unexpected guest. The diabolical President Snow shows up at her home and informs her that thanks to her rebellious act with the berries, she has sparked some unrest in the districts. He is also well aware that her romantic relationship with Peeta is one sided. Now Katniss must convince all the citizens of Panem that she is in love with Peeta and she must calm the rebellion or risk losing everyone and everything she holds dear. Unfortunately, the rebellion has far deeper roots and Snow is using her as a pawn. Can Katniss survive?
What I Liked:
- Wow! There is no second book syndrome with this installment. In fact, I think this book in many ways was more dangerous, suspenseful and thrilling than the first book. I can certainly see what all the fuss is about with this series, and I am sad that I haven't read it sooner. This book lives up to the hype. If you haven't read this book or series, don't wait any longer!
- I loved seeing how Katniss has transformed. She is far removed from the terrified yet courageous girl who volunteered in her sister's place. Now she is fierce and determined and a force to be reckoned with. Katniss doesn't suffer under any delusions regarding her new found fame and fortune. Instead she continues to do what she can to help the less fortunate in her area. When horrific circumstances land her once in again in the place she thought she would never enter again, she makes a brave, and unwavering decision. Katniss is a kick butt chick that we can all appreciate.
- I was not the biggest fan of Peeta in the first book. Aside from his touching declaration of love and his act of kindness toward Katniss, I wasn't impressed with him. I actually thought he was weak. This time around, I gained a new appreciation for him. I saw him for the genuine, kind hearted person that he truly is. Even though Katniss' broke his heart, he still does everything he can to ensure her safety and happiness. By the end of the book, I was in agreement with Haymitch in that Katniss doesn't deserve him. I am firmly in camp Peeta right now.
- This time around, the love triangle takes shape. In the first book, Katniss didn't seem to have romantic feelings for either boy. She views Gale as her closest friend and confidant while Peeta was the boy that saved her life with his simple act of kindness. Katniss isn't ready to enter in a relationship with either boy. The same holds true in this book. Katniss is not in the right state of mind or position to fall in love this time around either. However, it was more evident how she felt about each boy, and I could absolutely understand her indecision. I think this is a love triangle that works because it isn't all about romance. It is about friendship, sacrifice and so much more. I liked that much of the focus of this book was devoted to uncovering Katniss' feelings for each boy. Even though my heart is swayed by Peeta's goodness, I would be fine if Katniss chose Gale. Both men are admirable and it will be a touch decision for her no matter who she picks.
- I gained a new appreciation for many of the secondary characters. Katniss' mother shows her best side, and I admired her healing abilities. Katniss' prep team from the Capital actually display some genuine emotions and they move beyond the careless, simple minded and shallowness that is prevalent with the Capital citizens. Cinna is once again amazing and so brave. Finally, Haymitch won me over as I learned more about his past and how he won the Hunger Games. I liked seeing what made him tick. He is much more than the district drunkard.
And The Not So Much:
- I was a bit disappointed in the action. In the first book, the scenes from the arena are terrifying and had me gasping for breath and filled with dread. This time around, it felt hurried and often times pivotal events were glossed over, and the overall impact suffered. I wasn't on the edge of my seat worrying for their safety because the danger wasn't as frightening. For instance, there is a short paragraph that comes out of nowhere regarding a tidal wave that sweeps through. You would think that a big event like a tidal wave would earn more than a few lines. It is mentioned and the story moves on. I thought it would have been much better to expand out that scene and let us suffer through the frightening effects of a tidal wave. The action is still good, but it lacked a bit of something.
- The other tributes weren't really developed aside from a select few. There wasn't anyone, expect perhaps for Mags, that made an impression. There wasn't a heartbreak like in the first book. I guess it is a good and bad thing that there wasn't another Rue. I felt little emotion at the deaths. Furthermore, I didn't have a clear understanding what a morphling was. My guess is a drug addict of some type, but it wasn't explained.
- At the end there is a big, stunning revelation regarding Haymitch and the Games Maker. I wanted to know so much more about how they plotted everything out and when they started making their plans. The reader is totally in the dark as to the how, why and when things came about.
- This book ending moves at lighting fast speed and it ends on a cliffhanger. I felt like the ending moved way too quickly and I had so many unanswered questions at the end. The cliffhanger is horrible as well. Thankfully, I have the next book to dive into, so I am glad that I waited.
Catching Fire is a thrilling and entertaining sequel that in some ways excels over its predecessor. It is a fast and dangerous read that will keep you riveted. I love the growth and transformation of the characters and I most eager to see how they will stand and fight. These books are definitely must read books!
"My choices are simple. I can die like quarry in the woods or I can die here beside Gale. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm going to stay right here and cuase all kinds of trouble."
"You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him you know."
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.