Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Copyright 2009, Scholastic Press
391 pages, YA sci-fi
[Spoiler Alert: I highly recommend you skip the first paragraph of this review (the synopsis/teaser) if you haven’t read Book One in this series, The Hunger Games. It contains a severe spoiler for the first book and would ruin your reading experience entirely.]
Having won the vicious Hunger Games along with her fellow tribute from District 12 Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen is expecting a life of leisure. However, Katniss was the perpetrator of several rebellious acts in the Hunger Games arena, and therefore the government of Panem is keeping a close eye on her. Now Katniss must choose whether to try to settle down an uprising country or join the rebellion herself.
I was quite lucky that I read the Hunger Games well after it came out, because if I had had to wait for this one, Book Two, to come out, I think I would have died (used as a figure of speech, of course) of the suspense! What a cliffhanger Suzanne Collins left us at! For that matter, Catching Fire ends with a cliffhanger as well, but I won’t detail on that for fear of spoiling the book! I eagerly read this book, but I wish I had slowed down and savored it over a week or two, because this was an excellent novel.
The cruelty of the Capital and it’s fear of rebellion was much more pronounced in this book than the first. It urges the reader to join Katniss’s side more definitely. However, at some points in the book, I was genuinely torn. I feel a bit guilty about that, wanting to take the easy way out, wanting to join the Capital. That really shows how powerful Collins’s writing is, to make me feel like that, even once I put down the book and rejoin the real world. Having thought it over, though, I’m actually on Katniss’s side.
Once again with the Hunger Games series, the amount of doom and gloom, murder and mayhem bothers me. As I’ve said many times before, I prefer to have plenty of lighter scenes. Katniss’s agony and indecision dragged down the reader as well. Those are the only negatives I can think of, and balancing them out with the overall goodness of the book–it has nearly all of the elements I look for in a good story–this is one of my favorite newly discovered series.
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars.