Oct 7, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins follows up where The Hunger Games (Click here for my review) left off.

In this novel, Katniss discovers that her final act in the arena had unintended consequences and she must now decide whether to run and hide with her loved ones or face a new reality--rebellion.  However, readers may find that the final act in the hunger games is not necessarily the catalyst for the rebellion so much as the Capitol's unwitting acceptance of her defiance for the rules.

"The smell of roses and blood has grown stronger now that only a desk separates us.  There's a rose in President Snow's lapel, which at least suggests a source of the flower perfume, but it must be genetically enhanced, because no real rose reeks like that."  (Page 20-1)

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games), like The Hunger Games, is an excellent book club selection for adults given the regime that makes up Panem and the inner workings of the Capitol itself.  From democracy run amok in the Capitol to a dictatorship or totalitarian regime in control of Panem and its districts.  While the totalitarian/dictatorship of the Capitol may not be precise in that President Snow's manipulative actions run contrary to traditional totalitarian/dictatorship reactions of crushing the enemy and rebellion with an iron fist, readers will have a number of issues to discuss.  However, Collins may not be intentionally shedding light on these political structures, but simply writing dystopian fiction.

"Desperate, yet no longer alone after that day, because we'd found each other.  I think of a hundred moments in the woods, lazy afternoons fishing, the day I taught him to swim, that time I twisted my knee and he carried me home.  Mutually counting on each other, watching each other's backs, forcing each other to be brave."  (Page 117)

Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, and Gale find more action and intrigue in the sequel and must deftly navigate the twisted rules and procedures of their nation to find themselves and freedom.  Katniss, Peeta, and Gale are still in the midst of a young-love romantic triangle, but again the struggles they face against the government take precedence.  More is revealed about Haymitch in this book, which readers will find helpful given his past behavior, but still too little is known about the how the current government came to be and who President Snow really is and how he came to power.

If readers think the mockingjay on the cover is a nice touch, they may soon get sick of the symbol as Collins uses it repeatedly in her narration.  However, its use is not overly bothersome, just a bit overdone. 

Meanwhile, readers will be introduced to new characters, like suave Finnick, unintelligible Mags, and Nuts and Volts, rounding out the cast for some additional suspense, drama, and amusement.  The final scene in the book will leave many in shock, but anxious for the next installment.  Overall, Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) is a strong middle book to the trilogy.

***As an aside, there's a quote from the book that should spark some recognition about current environmental concerns in readers, as we struggle to modify our behavior to preserve our resources***

"Where the sand ends, woods begin to rise sharply.  No, not really woods.  At least not the kind I know.  Jungle.  The foreign, almost obsolete word comes to mind.  Something I heard from another Hunger Games or learned from my father."  (Page 274-5)

Also Reviewed By:
Lou's Pages 
Dreadlock Girl 

17 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

I do do want this book, I really need to read it :D I am glad it holds up

Sandy Nawrot said...

Alright guys, I am starting to feel left out! The last time I checked, my library did not carry the audio yet, which is what I need to read this book in order for the kids and I to enjoy it together. (We've not been doing well with the "sit down and read aloud" thing!). We are in the car alot, so audios are the way to go. I think the takeaway is that it isn't the first book, but is a good transition to whatever is coming. Great review!

Veens said...

I so want to read this series! Everyone just raves about these books! I need to get to these!

bermudaonion said...

Since everyone, including Carl, loves these books, I'm anxious to read them!

Tricia said...

I agree. This book is a strong middle book which is rare! Glad you loved it too!

Anna said...

I thought we had a great book club discussion! Can't wait for the next book.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Patti said...

My husband and teenage son both keep telling me I need to read this series - okay, okay, I'm sold!!

Patti said...

My husband and teenage son both keep telling me I need to read this series - okay, okay, I'm sold!!

Lula O said...

Ooo, will I have nightmares about the ending??
Crap! I'm not going to end up with this one from the library until the third one comes out! Glad you liked it. Some have been disappointed.

softdrink said...

I was one of the disappointed ones. Katniss didn't seem fully engaged in this one. She needed a little more oomph.

Louise said...

I am one of those who got caught up in this series, and I really liked this sequel also, although as has been pointed out other places, it lacks the novelty of book one. But I am still more than eagerly awaiting book three.

Louise said...

Oh, and I reviewed it here:

http://louspages.blogspot.com/2009/09/catching-fire-hunger-games-2-by-suzanne.html

Ti said...

I've not read this one or Hunger Games but to be honest, my need to do so is sort of petering out. It's a trilogy, right? I may wait for all of the books to come out and then read them at once.

Kailana said...

I liked this book, but I didn't love it. I am looking forward to the third book.

Melody said...

Great review! I'd just finished this book yesterday! ;)

Literary Feline said...

I think I'm glad now I haven't yet read these books. Perhaps waiting until the author is done with the series will be a good idea. No waiting in between books. :-) This does sound like a fun series.

Eric said...

I love the Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I can not wait for book 3 and the movie. :D

Themockingjay.vndv.com