Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is the sequel to The Hunger Games, a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and the second part of the Hunger Games trilogy. After putting down the first book I jumped straight into this one, desperately wanting to know where the story went and what happened to the characters, and especially the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. The Hunger Games is a very hard book to follow, and while Catching Fire was good, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had of it.

catching-fireKatniss and Peeta are the only two people to survive the same Hunger Games. Both from district 12, Peeta’s confession of love towards Katniss and their relationship made the games a must-watch. The final scene of their Hunger Games becomes infamous: a young couple so in love they would rather kill themselves than survive without the other. But it is Katniss’ defiance that led to the two surviving, the Capitol backed into a corner and having to allow two victors to emerge from the games. Katniss and Peeta must now show the world how true their love is, for if they cannot quell the quiet rebellion that is stirring amongst the districts President Snow is going to cause plenty of trouble for Katniss.

With the victor’s tour over Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 in time for the reaping for the 75th annual Hunger Games. As a Quarter Quell there are special rules to them, only this time the tributes must be two previous victors from past games. As the only female victor from her district Katniss is once again thrown back into the arena, and joined again by Peeta. There is much more at stake than any normal games this time, and Katniss chooses to protect Peeta at all costs. But not everyone has the same idea…

As I’ve mentioned, I really enjoyed The Hunger Games and couldn’t wait to see what Catching Fire had in store after its conclusion. I didn’t really know what to expect, so following Katniss and Peeta as they put on a show for the cameras of their undying love wasn’t that surprising – it was expected. What was very enjoyable was the tour of the Districts, the way each was described and the way the citizens behave and are seen through Katniss’ eyes. Certain districts, like District 11 which was the home to Katniss’ ally in the games, Rue, are clearly rebellious against the Capitol, and the guards within the district won’t tolerate any step out of line, coming down forcefully on those that do. It’s actually very grim and one scene in District 11 is very emotional and shows just how high the stakes are for Katniss.

One of the most surprising things for me was the fact that there was going to be another Hunger Games set during Catching Fire with our main characters as contenders once again. I was a little torn on this matter, on the one hand it would bring some conflict and action to the book, but on the other I felt that it was another rehash of the first book. Yes, the arena was different, the contenders were all victors and it was a clear set up by President Snow to force Katniss into a corner and stop the rebellion in its tracks, but it still recreates the same atmosphere as the first book. Now, I enjoyed the first book more than enough to want to see something similar, but the fact that it’s there does detract a little from Catching Fire, especially with the build up given to the problems within the districts. As for the finale, it once again made me want to know what was happening next, and I picked up Mockingjay with barely a skipped heartbeat.

Catching Fire is going to be a book you’ll want to read if you enjoyed The Hunger Games, and while there is some similarities between the two books there should be enough new developments for it to be enjoyed in its own right. It isn’t as good as The Hunger Games, but that is a very hard act to follow.

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