Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games and it picks up with Katniss and Peeta having won the games and living in a different situation than before. Richer, busier, touring with each other as victors of the games are expected to, Katniss begins to realize the enormity of her actions in defying the Capitol.
The book is 391 pages and split into two parts: "The Spark" and "The Quell".
The first part focuses mainly on Katniss accepting the future she will have and attempting to find a way to escape the long arm of the Capitol. We are introduced to the concept of Quarter Quell, which is a special production of the games occurring every twenty-five years. It quickly becomes obvious that Katniss is the face of a new revolution that is exploding, catching fire and spreading through out Panem. President Snow struggles to regain control and Katniss becomes aware that her life is inexplicably changed.
In the second part the President announces a shocking twist which involves the Quarter Quell. As Katniss and Peeta are reintroduced to another life-and-death situation, we meet many new characters.
The strongest point of the book is the new characters; I found most of them lovable and interesting. The plot gains momentum in the second part and carries right on to the shocking climax. Because the first book had a smaller cast of characters, it was good to see Collins expanding the novel to familiarize us with new technology and the history of Panem.
What I would suggest being the weakest part of the book is the constant exploring of Katniss's thoughts and ruminations. The love triangle between Peeta and Gale. The meandering decisions and swinging back and forth that Katniss experiences. Constantly alternating between being angry, feeling self pitying and wanting revenge, Katniss almost comes close to resembling Bella Swan from the wonderful *insert sarcasm here* series "Twilight".
Collins is clearly attempting to make us understand the emotions that Katniss is experiencing and one has to be lenient when considering the often angsty moods teenagers can endure, but the book which claims to be action dangerously wanders on the border of romance-drama. The reader will quickly become frustrated being faced with the back-and-forth of teenage drama.
However, all in all, it is an interesting read and it is easy to get through. I gave it four stars because I would definitely read it again and I think it was a solid contribution to the series.
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