Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

(The Hunger Games trilogy, book 2)
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

The story of heroine Katniss Everdeen continues in Catching Fire, and the second book in this trilogy is just as good as the first. Katniss and Peeta defied the Capitol during the Hunger Games when, as the only two tributes left and the rule of both tributes from the same district being declared winners revoked only moments before, they attempt to eat poisonous nightlock berries knowing they won’t allow both tributes to die and leave them without a victor. This clever trick gets them both out of the arena and back to District 12 as they are both crowned the victors of The 74th Hunger Games. However, in order to avoid dire consequences, they must make everyone…including President Snow…believe it was an act of love that compelled them to act the way they did.

President Snow doesn’t buy it. Not for one second. While Katniss and Peeta are travelling to each district on the Victory Tour, rumors of a rebellion begin to surface and Katniss and Peeta’s act of defiance in the arena is being known as the initial act of rebellion. In an attempt to thwart any and all future problems, Katniss and Peeta are desperate to make everyone believe they were in no way trying to rebel; they are just two teenagers who are crazy in love. This of course means that Katniss will never be able to live the life of her choosing; she knows that she will have to continue a relationship with Peeta with no end in sight. With this being the 75th year of the Hunger Games, we are introduced to the Quarter Quell; on the anniversary every 25 years, the gamemakers make a change in the rules. The 25th anniversary every district had to hold an election and vote on the tributes who would represent it; the 50th anniversary each district was required to send twice as many tributes. What will the change be on the 75th anniversary? It’s pretty dang shocking!

This book didn’t disappoint at all! I still think the first book was slightly better, but not by much. In Catching Fire, you are introduced to more victors from previous Hunger Games; my favorite by far was Finnick. He’s charming, gorgeous, and adds some comedic relief. The Head Gamemaker from the first book is no longer around and you are introduced to the new Head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee. I had a weird feeling about him from the moment he met Katniss during the Victory Tour while they were being thrown a dinner party in the Capitol. My questions and/or suspicions were luckily answered at the end of this book, but the cliffhanger at the end was particularly surprising. I have such a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers!

You also get to see Katniss’s feelings towards Peeta blossom and you realize that there just might be real emotion behind their fa├žade. The relationship between Katniss and her best friend Gale goes more in depth, and starts to somewhat present the potential for a triangle romance between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. I’ve been Team Peeta since the very beginning, and after this book my opinion didn’t waver too much. The writing is just as superb as the first book, and I almost shed some tears during one particular incident involving Katniss and Peeta.

I finished this book in one day and immediately starting reading the final book of the trilogy. Catching Fire was really almost as good as The Hunger Games; it was just as action packed, and set the tone for what to expect with the final book, Mockingjay. It’s just so dang good! It’s also nice to read a book about a girl who is a heroine, and not some lovesick human who is completely dependent on her relationship with a sparkling vampire. (I’m looking at you, Twilight!)

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