Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Review: Catching Fire

Catching Fire
By Suzanne Collins
Scholastic Press September 2009
391 pages
From the library

Katniss and Peeta have survived the Hunger Games, the first pair to make it out of the arena alive. They head home to District 12 where they will live in security until they mentor the next round of tributes. But their actions in the games have fanned the flames of rebellion and President Snow cannot allow it to continue. For this special anniversary of the games, new rules are enacted. Instead of picking a random tribute, each district must send a male and female victor from previous games. Katniss and Peeta are sent back into the arena – can they survive a second time?

I enjoyed Catching Fire, but found myself wanting more. Katniss seemed…sort of oblivious in this book. She acts much more like an emotional teen in Catching Fire than she did in The Hunger Games. She is determined that she will protect Peeta in the game, but actually does very little to protect either Peeta or herself. They are mostly protected by other people. And the ending? I find it very hard to believe that someone as intelligent and observant as Katniss didn’t figure out what was going on.

I did like the way Collins built up some of the minor characters in this book, like Cinna and Haymitch. I also enjoyed the way the games were a bit more involved this time. In the previous game, it was mostly the other contestants that they had to defeat. In this version, they have to defeat the game itself. But because of the game’s dangers, the plot between the tributes was less interesting since they worked together. This led to a lot of time where the characters are sitting around and not too much is happening.

The writing in both this book and its predecessor seem sloppy in places – inconsistent characters and choices by the author that don’t seem to make sense. I found myself thinking that the publishers were so excited that they had found an amazing story that they rushed it to publication. It shows in some places. But this is a compelling story. I haven’t heard of a person who found this series easy to put down. I am myself very guilty of the 1 a.m. finish. So I am excited to read the third book and see how this all ends. Catching Fire is a strong follow-up to The Hunger Games with an awesome cliffhanger ending. 

You can see my review of The Hunger Games here. 

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