by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Published by: Scholastic
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.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Last month I read the Hunger Games, and despite rave reviews I wondered if Catching Fire could live up to the greatness that book one delivered. Often book two in a trilogy isn’t as strong as book one and three. I am absolutely tickled pink to state that despite a slow beginning it was amazing.
We pick up about six months after the last games. Katniss and her family are living in a posh townhouse, near Haymitch and Peeta. She still goes hunting but only on Sundays and sadly she doesn’t see Gale nearly enough. As a winner of the Hunger Games, she now has obligations to the capitol, and one is to make appearances. Before one such event, she heads home for a make-over from Cianna and the troops, only to find President Coriolanus Snow sitting in the parlor. He gives her a warning about her impact on the districts and makes a threat. Katniss is terrified by it, but will protect her family and Gale at all costs to herself. As she and Peeta tour the districts, the discontent of the people is evident. Despite her intentions to heed Snow’s warning she is unable to change things. After their return to District Twelve, there is a mandatory announcement. This year to celebrate the Quell or the seventy-five anniversary of the Hunger Games the reaping will be different. The tale that unfolds is riveting and the ending left me screaming for more.
We see some growth in the characters, and meet new players. Hints are dropped, and key elements are set into place for the final novel Mockingjay. Katniss begins to question things, and looks beyond her family and personal dilemmas to see the bigger picture. The events in the game had me glued to the pages, as one thing after the other happens at a maddening pace. The secondary characters were fascinating and had depth. We begin to see characters both in the capitol and the districts seek an end to the reaping and the suppression of the districts.
Collins world-building is amazing, and I loved the glimpses into the districts, the bearing down of the government and the glaring contrast between the districts and the capitol. Whether intentional or not Collins presents food for thought. The similarity between this dystopian and ours, causes the reader to take pause, and think about the wastefulness of the wealthy. Individuals and nations waste without thought as some go hungry or do without. The capitol represents greed, and its people love everything in excess. The districts are little more than slaves. She reveals the human spirit in all its glory, its will to survive and the power of hope. I love the depth she brings to her characters whether they are exorbitant and flashy or quite and thoughtful. Every character is fleshed out and it makes the tale powerful.
Catching Fire was delightful, fast paced and kept me spell-bound. If you haven’t yet read this series I recommend you pick them up. While this is a young-adult dystopian it is timeless and a wonderful read for anyone and any age. Suzanne Collins is forever on my must read list.
Five cups of coffee out of five
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