Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Book Details:
Catching Fire
By Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2009, Scholastic Inc.
Paperback, 391 pages
ISBN: 9780439023535

          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.
In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn.
Despite the fact that both Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games and returned home, the feel of the book is similar to how it felt when they were still entrenched in the drama of the Hunger Games, like they still have to be aware that everything they do and say is being watched and judged by the Capital. There is no feeling of gratitude or relief, only a pervading sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. The suspense alone kept me from putting the book down much at all until I had finished it.
I really feel for Gale in this book, more so than the first book, both because he has made his feelings known and because "the odds" are never in his favor. He has absolutely no control in his relationship with Katniss simply because the Capitol keeps taking her away from him.
Before I read this book, I was careful not to read too many spoilers, and I wondered if there would be another Hunger Games event in the second book. With the 75th anniversary, this is taken to a whole new level, and of course abused by the Capitol for its own nefarious means. Still, I was curious as to how Suzanne Collins would make it more macabre than the previous one, and she did not disappoint.
I do have to wonder how Katniss completely missed so many clues about the organization of the rebellion against the Capitol. Even though she had moments of suspicion, she was so focused on the survival of Peeta and herself, she could not take the time to ask a few questions, which was frustrating.
There were also a few moments of humor interspersed throughout the book, which helped to give me a bit of relief from the suspense and tragedy. Many of the new characters introduced in this book were quite interesting in their own way, and I especially liked the oldest ones because of their surprising ability to survive in ways other than brute strength.
Overall, this book is as engrossing as the first, and I look forward to completing the series with Mockingjay.

The Cover: The simplicity of the cover is striking and give prominence to the symbol of the Mockingjay.

First Line: "I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air."
I can feel the cold when reading this, and I am instantly reminded of the kind of conditions that the people of District 12 deal with everyday.

Favorite Quote: “I really can't think about kissing when I've got a rebellion to incite.”

Read For: Young Adult Challenge, Dystopia Challenge, Finishing the Series Challenge


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