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Catching Fire: A Book Review

Updated on November 6, 2015

Catching Fire

If you've read or seen the "Hunger Games" then it is almost natural to read "Catching Fire". What started out as a trilogy for teens has taken off as a trilogy for everyone (The Hunger Games was a New York Times bestseller).

The "Hunger Games" introduced us to the main characters, Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawethorne and Haymitch Abernathy. Yes, Katniss' mother and sister play important roles as do others but those four are the main characters. Katniss is the narrator of all three novels. She starts out at 16 in "Hunger Games" and is 17 in "Catching Fire."

Yes, "Catching Fire" starts off where "Hunger Games" stopped. If you haven't seen or read "Hunger Games" you might want to stop here as this is a spoiler for "Hunger Games". Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games and head back to District 12...this is the first time two tributes were allowed to win.

"Catching Fire" opens with Katniss at home waiting to meet the reporters at her new home in the Victor's Village. Winners in the Hunger Games, and their families live in the Victor's Village in their District as a reward for winning. They are rewarded with a beautiful house and lots of food. However, they don't just stay in their home, they have to go on a Victory Tour, appearing in each District including the Capitol. Katniss sits on a rock in her beloved woods, Gale is at work in the coal mines. When Katniss takes her 'catch of the day' to Gale's mother (Hazelle) she is embarrassed because of the Capitol making her play through a romance with Peeta.

She visits the Hob, where she's done trading for years...her pelts or animals for other food or needs of her family. There's no longer a need to trade for food for her family but she wants to see Greasy Sae and the others. This time she goes with money and is able to actually purchase things...from as many stalls as she can. She also buys liquor for Haymitch.

Catching Fire Movie

  • In pre-production.
  • Extras will be hired in Atlanta, GA, on the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Kauai, and possibly in North Carolina.
  • Harrelson said he was impressed with the finished product, given the short timetable the screenwriters had for penning it.
  • There was no question that Sam Claflin landing the role as Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was going to skyrocket his career, and get him a whole bunch of new fans across the world.( http://catchingfiremovienews.com/)
  • Main characters Katniss Everdeen is back and facing new challenges. The first is that she needs to proove that she’s in love with Peeta and that her defiance of the Gamekeepers in The Hunger Games was down to mindless love. ( http://catchingfiremovienews.com/hunger-games-finnick-and-annie-episode-04/)


There's a brief introduction to Cray, the District's Head Peacekeeper. When Katniss finally returns home there is an surprise waiting for her...President Snow. They exchange unpleasantries including what a revolution would do to the Districts and the Capitol, her relationship with Peeta and her 'cousin' Gale. Katniss realizes she has no privacy and there are cameras somewhere in the woods showing her and Gale when they hunt and talk. President Snow threatens her and tells her she has to convince him she is actually in love with Peeta, that way he knows others will be convinced. His veiled threats against Gale twist her heart and tighten her chest...fear is again with her.

Her prep team arrives to, what else, prepare her for her journey to the other Districts. When she sees Cinna she feels more hopeful. Every victor is supposed to have a talent, Cinna offers to help Katniss with a 'passion for designing clothes' (he'll do all the work). Effie Trinket arrives to oversee the 'journey' and keep everyone on schedule.

The first outdoor photo shoot is at Katniss' house. Peeta arrives and Katniss feigns absolute joy to see him (though she is somewhat happy). When she runs to him he almost loses his balance, he hasn't quite mastered his artificial leg yet. The shoot goes well and then its off to the train. On the train she's able to get Haymitch alone and tell him about President Snow's visit. Haymitch tells her she's in this for life. Her fake relationship with Peeta can never end. Even when the tour is over they will be mentors for the next Hunger Games and every year the Capitol will revisit their 'romance'. He knows the truth about Gale but also knows the consequences of not doing what the Capitol wants. He tells her, "You could do a lot worse, you know." (Referring to Peeta.)

Katniss and Peeta talk, alone, on the train and are able to bring their friendship a little closer.

Each District brings it's own horror. District 11 (Rue's District) is harsher than even Katniss imagined. Peeta offers one month of his winnings every year to the people of District 12...Katniss finally speaks through her fear and thanks the tributes from District 11 (Rue and Thresh).

"Every person in the crowd presses the three middle fingers of their left hand against their lips and extends them to me. It's our sign from District 12, the last good-bye I gave Rue in the arena." Katniss explains.

Things do not go well for the people of District 11 after this. People are shot on the spot. As the action continues outside, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch sneak into a secluded area to talk and as they do Peeta realizes Katniss and Haymitch were working together during the games and he wasn't privvy to it. Haymitch agrees to now keep Peeta in the loop but always protect Katniss.

When they go to dinner Effie is upset..a rare happening. She doesn't like the way they are being treated here in District 11...and so the tour continues.


President Snow

President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, is not happy there were two victors in the Hunger Games and he's especially unhappy with Katniss. Snow fights to paint Katniss in a poor light but she still stirs up trouble in Panem. (Murray Close/Lionsga
President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland, is not happy there were two victors in the Hunger Games and he's especially unhappy with Katniss. Snow fights to paint Katniss in a poor light but she still stirs up trouble in Panem. (Murray Close/Lionsga | Source

When they are back in the Capitol they are again interviewed by Caesar Flickerman (midnight blue suit, hair, eyelids and lips). President Snow shows up, surprisingly, at the interview and quietly, imperceptibly, lets Katniss know she has not succeeded in his eyes.

The food at the grand party following the interview is indescribable. Music, crowds, food...everywhere. During the course of the evening they meet Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamekeeper (the man who tripped backwards when Katniss shot the arrow into the apple in the pig's mouth during training). He intimates about a holograph type image on his watch and tells Katniss a little about a secret meeting.

The last stop on the tour is District 12 (a tribute's home district is always last). Katniss explains her friendship with Mayor Undersee's daughter Madge. Katniss also gets a glimpse of news about an uprising...something on the Mayor's TV no one but the Mayor was meant to see.

Katniss manages to get Gale to go to her father's old cabin by the lake where they discuss running away with their families but when she lets slip news of a possible uprising Gale says no, he will never go. He wants to be part of the uprising to help all families, not just his. Gale leaves and she runs into Peeta. She tries to convince Peeta to run away with his family...as they return to the village they find a large crowd. Peeta tells Katniss to go home but she wants to see what's happening...Gale has been flogged and a new Head Peacekeeper is in charge. Things have taken an ugly turn in District 12.

Catching Fire Movie Poster

I don't have to tell you things begin moving faster from this point. I don't want to turn this into a spoiler for Catching Fire! Signs of rebellion are all around Katniss but it doesn't sink in right away. Of course Katniss and Peeta's wedding isn't ignored and there's much talk about the wedding dresses. The most shocking news of all is the announced Quarter Quells..."On the twenty-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence,every district was made to hold an election and vote on the tributes who would represent it." "On the fiftieth anniversary, as a reminder that two rebels died for each Capitol citizen, every district was required to send twice as many tributes." "And now we honor our third Quarter Quell...on the seventy-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors." (All said by the president.)

This was totally unheard of! Victors were never made to fight again! District 12 had three living victors, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch....Katniss knew this was President Snow's way to get her back in the arena and probably make sure she is killed. Back to the arena! A worse scenario of a Hunger Game than the one they had already encountered. But, with the rebellion roiling and so much happening there is more to these Hunger Games. The location, the tributes....these are not children, some of these tributes (victors) are elderly. As the games play out there is intrigue and Katniss realizes these tributes are trying to protect her. The arena is fierce and as they progress Katniss realizes there is a force field...

If you read The Hunger Games, read Catching Fire to find out how these Hunger Games play out and what happens to Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and Haymitch!

Copyright Tillsontitan: All Rights Reserved

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    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 4 years ago

      Wow. That's quite the review.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      You covered it all.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Til...I didn't read Hunger games, but I didn't STOP reading your hub. Even if I ever find the time to read Hunger Games, it would be months before I could then read. Catching Fire......at which point, I would probably have forgotten this "spoiler,".......I read so many books, sometimes they all meld together!

      In any case, my friend, you do a book review like no other (including the so-called "critics") It is a special talent, indeed to be able to describe a story, it's basic context, leaving your readers with just enough to stir interest in your readers, to want to read the book, to discover what you did not share. Perfect!...........Up++

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      For whatever reason I could not read Hunger Games...just couldn't get through it; I did see the movie, however, on DVD, and actually liked it very much. Now you have me interested, Mary, as if I didn't have enough to do already. Thanks a lot, buddy!!!!

      Great review; I'll most likely read it because of you. :)

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent book review, Mary. I haven't watched the "Hunger Games" yet, but we were planning on it maybe this weekend. During the week, I am so short of time, as I work an hour away in the city, and then have that same hour back home in the evenings, of course. It is just a crazy schedule to try to even catch up here on HP. That is why I am either, a very early in the morning commenter or in the late evening commenter. I will comment, however, just bear with me. Your review makes one want to read the book, no doubt about it. Voted Up In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      I'm definitely going to read this before the next movie comes out. Great review - voted up and interesting!

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Phoebe so glad you liked it.

      And thanks to you too Carol.

      Ah, Effer, it is always my intent to tease the reader without giving away the farm! GF I don't know what I'd do without your encouragement and faith in me! You keep me going.

      Now Billy, if I couldn't mess up your time what good would I be ;) (Joking of course) The movie'll be out November 2013 :)

      I can't imagine working full time and finding time for HubPages...you do a great job Faith Reaper. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. God Bless.

      MPerrottet it's quite a while before the next movie comes out so you might want to read it now...get a jump on it ;)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I just saw THE HUNGER GAMES,, ,, Donald Sutherland.. great movie..

      DISTRICT 12 great movie. too.. great hub here.. voted up

      Debbie

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Debbie...I'm sure after just seeing the movie this hub makes a lot of sense ;)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was great, as so is this review, Mary. Very thorough and detailed. Thanks for sharing this wonderful summary!

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You're welcome Michelle. I've finished Mockingjay so watch for that review!

    • dobo700 profile image

      dobo700 4 years ago from Australia

      Sounds interesting I'll have to look out for this book

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I can't speak for Australia but the entire trilogy is very popular here dobo. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a great review I will now be keeping my eyes peeled. Thanks for sharing.

      Eddy.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks Eddy, always nice to have you stop by. Have a good one.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Tillsontitan

      I have neither read Hunger Games or watched the movie. However, after reading this review of Catching Fire, I want to watch the movie so that I will enjoy the part two.

      Thanks for great review.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      You are most welcome Vinaya...its really hot here in America and I think enjoyable as well. Happy to help ;)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Hi Mary, terrific book review. Haven't seen or read Hunger Games. Now I want to read both of them. Hope you are doing well. Theresa

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      It is always so good to see your name in my comments section....Suzanne Collins has a gold mine here and owes it to her wonderful imagination and creative writing...things here are going okay, hope you too are doing well.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Am still reading it, Mary. Haven't had the time to finish it yet!Thanks for the review of what happens in Part 2. As usual, this story shows us what humans can become if we are not careful. Sharing!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      I've read the trilogy and it is just as interesting to us "older" adults as it is to the "younger" ones. Good job on this book review. I thoroughly enjoyed these books and I can't wait to see the movies! I love the cast.Thanks so much for an enjoyable read.

    • tillsontitan profile image
      Author

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Hope you're enjoying it Michelle. How true...human nature lives on the very edge!

      Suzettenaples I agree...actually, sometimes I think it is not a good read for 'younger' ones. Glad you enjoyed my review.

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