Saturday, May 28, 2011

Catching Fire

"I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading. The story kept me up for several nights in a row, because even after I was finished, I just lay in bed wide awake thinking about it ... The Hunger Games is amazing"
- Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second book in a trilogy about a very dystopian world of Katniss Everdeen, the winner of the 74th Hunger Games, along with fellow winner and star-crossed lover Peeta Meelark. At the beginning of the novel we pick up right where we left off, only a couple months later. Prim and Katniss’ mother have moved into the new housing in Victory Village where all the families move to who win the Hunger Games, alongside Peeta and Haymitch the only other two winners of the Hunger Games from District 12. Although the reader quickly realises not everything is as it should be with Katniss, her long time friend Gale has been avoiding her, she no longer hunts as often as she would like and she is not as happy as she thought she would be with her new found popularity; as well as the ever looming annoyance of trying to keep up the star-crossed lovers act when the cameras are on her and Peeta. As the book progresses so does trouble for Katniss, unexpected visits and threats from the President about rebellions that are rising in some of the districts and how Katniss is to blame from how she acted and disobeyed the Capitol with her stunt to win the Hunger Games. She not only has to convince the rest of the districts she is still madly in love with Peeta and they are going to get married, she must convince President snow, also while dealing with mixed emotions about Gale and then as fate would have it the announcement for the 75th Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, is announced it seems that President Snow isn’t quite done with Katniss yet. I will not divulge any spoilers for those individuals not yet that far but let’s just say it’s a doosey of a twist.

As a second book in a triliogy I had a very hard time getting into it. I found that a lot of the beginning of the novel was recap, and filler, up until about half way through when things get really interesting with the start of the Quarter Quell and the introduction of new characters. Although after the rough patch in the beginning of the book it was one hell of a read! I could not believe how many twists this book took with Katniss, and Peeta but also with Haymitch and the new characters. I felt there was a lot more emotional growth with Katniss as she decided who she loved, who she could with stand to lose, and who she would eventually have to say good bye too. Katniss as a character in Catching Fire grew substantially, and I found I enjoyed reading it more as the reader grew with the character.

I do have some objections though. As from my previous review about the Hunger Games everyone who has read it knows I am a HUGE Peeta fan! Like no word of a doubt he is one of my favourite characters. Though in the second book I found that Katniss kept throwing her mind into these states where she thinks Gale is right for her but then she cannot stand to live without Peeta, in more ways than one. Peeta understands everything she went through in the Hunger Games (he was there). There were moments between the two of them that she could not describe. Moments when they kissed and she felt it wasn’t acting. But then there is a long standing relationship with Gale, where she could see herself running away with him. Gale and her both went through the loss of their fathers in the mining accident and they both have each other’s back either when hunting or not hunting. There is so much conflicting emotion that I found it very annoying because all I wanted as a reader was for her to choose Peeta in the end (which in this book that is not revealed who she chooses).

That is the only annoyance I found within the book the fact she was very confused and conflicted about who she would have to choose in the end but as an author I think Collins was onto something by doing that because I couldn’t put the book down. I couldn’t stop reading because so many things were happening all at once and you did not want to miss out on anything! Catching Fire was the perfect climatic novel for a fantastic trilogy, it had everything you could possibly want in a second book to a fantastic first one. Explosion of passion between Katniss and her two boys Peeta and Gale, a spark of rebellion within the district's and a cliffhanger that will blow you out of the water! I have said it once and I am going to say it again, this series is a MUST read for anyone. It is absolutely amazing!

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