Suzanne Collin' 'Catching Fire': A Review

Rating: ****

Pages: 391

'The Hunger Games' left such an impression that I hadn't even read the final page before I went out and bought the rest of the series. I was eager to go on the exciting and emotional roller coaster ride that I felt from 'The Hunger Games'. Sadly, 'Catching Fire' wasn't at all what I had hoped for. While my appetite had been whet for something wildly original and imaginative as 'The Hunger Games', I wound up chewing on a recycled storyline. Still intriguing all on it's own, and still a pretty good story that keeps the pages turning quickly, I fear that perhaps I hyped myself up too much for the sequel. . .

After returning from the torturous blood soaked arena of the capitol, Katniss and Peeta settle back into their district twelve homes hoping for a somewhat normal life. Mansions set aside for the winners, monthly salaries and food rations are great, but nothing sweetens the deal more than exemption from all future Hunger Games reapings. Slowly, Katniss is trying to readjust back to a normal life. Hunting, shopping the black market, spending some time with Gale and being 'just friends' with Peeta. However, horrible nightmares, the guilt over killing Glimmer, Marvel and Cato and the shame for not being able to save Rue plague her conscience. Katniss soon becomes suspicious when electricity begins flowing through the district fences, a new head peacekeeper comes to town and an unofficial visit from President Snow sets her guts on fire. Through actions taken place during the Hunger Games, Katniss is charged with instigating riots and conspiring against the Capitol. Her only choice is to convince the other districts that she is truly in love with Peeta. Despite her best attempts, she fails and the President is infuriated. The Capitol then calls for a special Hunger Games in which two previous winners from each district must reenter the arena one more time. Since Katniss is the only female victor from district twelve, she's destined to go back into the ring. Will she be lucky enough to survive a second time?

I finally get a better idea of what the characters look like with 'Catching Fire'. The elusive details from the first novel make long overdue appearance. If you read my review for 'The Hunger Games' then you'll remember that I was displeased with some lack of details. Although, I worry that they might have come at the expense of the story as a whole. I still enjoyed the book and knocked it out in a little less than three days, I guess my expectations were a little too high. I was anticipating a little more savagery from a Games full of victors. In all honesty, majority of the other tributes seem sluggish and uninterested. Katniss is still enjoyable and believable as a protagonist, but her desperation to survive just isn't as prominent. Her best qualities surfaced when she acted on her own, but this time, surrounded by allies, the magic just kind of fizzles. For me, the most exciting aspect comes from the intricacies of the new arena. It was also interesting to see Katniss delve into her feelings for Peeta and her disgust for having to keep displaying false feelings to a camera crew. If Collins wanted to recapture the magic of the original 'Hunger Games' she should have switched things up a little more. Prim and Katniss in the arena together would have been an extremely dramatic example. I shouldn't count Collins out, at least not unitll I see what book three has in store. For still leaving me hungry for more, 'Catching Fire' still pulls four stars from the ashes.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games)

The second installment of the Hunger Games series.

 
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Book 1)

The novel that's sweeping the nation.

 
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games)

The conclusion of the series.

 

I thought 'Catching Fire' used a recycled plot line. What do you think?

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