Author: Suzanne Collins
Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Description (Taken from Amazon)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge!
A little turmoil makes for fantastic storytelling and the Girl on Fire is definitely thrown back into the flames in this one. I don’t want to give anything away because it is an absolutely incredible read, but Catching Fire certainly expands upon what was established in The Hunger Games. We pick up with Katniss a few weeks after returning from the Hunger Games and what should be a happy event turns into more confusion for Katniss. Winning the games and beating the Capitol has only caused more trouble for her and I love the way that trouble is handled. After winning the games, Katniss and Peeta journey on their victory tour through the 12 districts and the Capitol. Their pseudo-relationship is tested and Katniss is faced with making some real decisions in regard to her relationship with Peeta.
The story itself is expanded upon a great deal in Catching Fire. We get a little more information on the ever-elusive District 13, as well as more reasons to dislike the Capitol. The Hunger Games gave us the Capitol to hate, but this time we get a single person to just direct our anger on and he’s definitely worthy of all the hate we can give him. There is also a lot more exploration into the ethical issues that have abounded from Katniss’ actions at the end of The Hunger Games and as she acclimates to her new life as a victor, she has to deal with those consequences and come to terms with an uprising that she is the cause for.
The characters are developed more in Catching Fire and the second half of the book really focuses on the repercussions of Katniss’ actions with the berries. Gale gets a bit more action in this one, but still not enough for me to actually like him. I’m still Team Peeta all the way and I can happily say that there is one scene on a beach where I feel quite rewarded for being on his team. I can also say that Haymitch grew on me more in this one and Katniss’ team from the Capitol isn’t so bad either. This book also made me love Cinna even more than the first one. There are so many characters that it amazes me that they can so unique. A number of new characters in the story also brings about some interesting conflicts.
The twists and turns that abound in Catching Fire may seem like too much, but I felt like the novel flowed very well, even with the consistent action. The plot advanced at a good pace and all the action didn’t take away from any of the emotional aspects. If anything, I felt like Catching Fire was more of an emotional novel than The Hunger Games. Katniss’ feelings are explored more this time around and we really get into her head. There is a scene with some jabberjays that literally broke my heart. Suzanne Collins developed her characters so well and made them feel completely genuine in The Hunger Games that I found myself very attached to them. Catching Fire only strengthened my investment in the characters.
Catching Fire will leave the reader salivating for more. The plot was interesting, fast-paced, and intelligent. I can easily say that I did not see the ending coming at all. There was one tiny aspect to it that I had a feeling would come up, but I didn’t think anything would happen like it did in the end. Katniss is a character with flaws and I love seeing those flaws because that makes her real. The love story that’s buried within all of the action is so different than most YA novels because it doesn’t control the plot. The main story isn’t some love triangle, it is more about the ethical issues that come from having a game where children are forced to kill one another. The love story is an essential aspect because it is a huge part of the characters, but Suzanne Collins found a perfect balance between that romance and action.
Overall, Catching Fire was just as good (if not better) than The Hunger Games and I highly recommend both. I read this through very quickly because I loved the story. The reader can become quite invested in the characters and I find myself dying to know what happens next. The ending is a huge cliffhanger, so hold on tight while reading and stay tuned for the third and final installment in The Hunger Games Trilogy.
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.