Title: Catching Fire
Series: The Hunger Games Series
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Rating: * * * * *
After barely escaping the 74th Hunger Games with their lives, Peeta and Katniss return to District 12. Instead of resuming life as normal, both must now occupy their homes in the Victor’s Village. With the recent strain on Katniss and Peeta’s relationship and Gale working non-stop in the mines, Katniss struggles with her new life. Unable to find a release by means of hunting, she begins to question everything.
By rule, Katniss and Peeta are forced to go on a “Victory Tour” where they will visit every district in Panem, as well as the Capitol. The unintentionally sparked uprisings that were caused after their victory in the games drew great attention from President Snow. The two must prove their love for each other in order to prevent a revolution and maintain Snow’s command. Will Katniss and Peeta be able to persuade Panem that their final act in the games was one of true love? Will President Snow be satisfied with their performance? And what will happen when a sudden twist is revealed for the Quarter Quell of the 75th Hunger Games?
Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games Series, held its own in comparison with its predecessor, The Hunger Games. The pace of the story was initially a shock from the cliffhangers and action that concluded the previous book, but the unfolding of events allowed for a natural, engaging continuation. The story kicked off with a psychological approach that examined the effects that overtook Katniss during her journey in the Capitol. It was very insightful to revisit the games as Katniss returned to life in District 12 with her new home in the Victor’s Village.
Throughout the book, the plot progresses very quickly and there are multiple instances where some events are merely skimmed over. I enjoy this aspect of Collins’ writing because it maintains the flow and rapid pace, but I also feel some of these opportunities could have been used to develop characters or build more on existing relationships.
One of my favorite parts of the story was the reveal of Haymitch’s past. The details of his experience during the Quarter Quell Hunger Games were divulged, as well as an expanded history of all that he has been through. I appreciated that Collins explored the aspect of this character and it helped me as a reader gain a better understanding of Haymitch.
Several new characters were introduced, but little development was allowed due to the quick pace of the story. My favorite new addition was Finnick, a quirky, handsome fellow from District 4. He added a humorous element to the story and I wish there would have been more time to expand on some of these new identities.
I liked seeing more of Peeta’s character. His intelligence and charisma were highlighted, as well as the true depth and dedication to his love for Katniss. The true friendship of Peeta and Katniss continued to develop and was solidified in Catching Fire. I still feel there is a lot to be to be discovered about Peeta and his past. The same can be said for Gale. The interaction between Gale and Katniss has been very minimal up to this point. I don’t have anything against Gale, but it is almost impossible to form an opinion on their relationship when there has been such minimal exploration of it in two books.
I would definitely recommend this book to my friends. It was a great story with some reinvention and unexpected plot twists. I am hopeful that the trilogy is appropriately concluded in the next novel, Mockingjay, and that Katiniss is able to make a decision regarding the two men in her life.
Get your copy of Catching Fire (The Hunger Game Series) by Suzanne Collins, on Amazon.com.