Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
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927 of 1004 found the following review helpful:
And you thought the Capitol couldn't get any more twisted...Jul 07, 2009
By Season Balik If you thought the Capitol couldn't get any more twisted... you were wrong.
The highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunger Games is the kind of novel that has you pulling back to take a breath and go, "How did the author think of this?" (if you can stop turning the pages long enough to breathe)
Catching Fire picks up right where Hunger Games left off. Unrest in the Districts is growing at an alarming pace and Katniss unwittingly finds herself the figurehead for the movement against the Capitol. The characters you loved return for the sequel and the reader must endure each indignity the Capitol inflicts upon them. It is painful, tortuous, imaginative and motivating. It is everything The Hunger Games was and more. It both answers your lingering questions and creates so many new ones. It challenges you to think and creates such feelings of empathy for the characters that whenever I had to put the book down, I was genuinely worried for leaving the characters hanging and couldn't wait to pick it back up just so they could continue fighting for their lives and freedoms.
Everything I loved about The Hunger Games is present in Catching Fire: the unique and engrossing storyline; characters so thoroughly and beautifully described they start to feel like friends; a fantastical setting that is both real and sad; and language that is easy to read and yet conveys such a profound meaning. It has action, romance, horror, hope, despair and, most of all, humanity. It has sci-fi and politics yet, unlike a lot of books on the market, they are not "in your face" and are completely approachable.
Due to elements of violence and some light romantic scenes, I would recommend it for 13+. That being said, I would recommend it for ANYONE 13+ of any reading taste or background: as a bookseller and a recent library school graduate, these are the books I find easiest to recommend to anyone I meet.
I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the third and final book to come out. After reading Catching Fire, I know you will be too.
425 of 496 found the following review helpful:
I wish I could give it 10 stars!!!Jul 09, 2009
By Sunny in DC When I read the Hunger Games, I read it straight through the night, from 1AM til 5AM. Couldn't stop reading even though I had to pee badly. After I finished it, I was dying for the sequel. DYING!!!! When I found out the ARC would be available in the spring, I bribed everyone I could think of to get me one. And yes, I got it. The day I got it, I couldn't look at it until 1AM again. This time, I promised myself, I would only look at the first chapter and then put it down. Riiiiight. It was 4:30AM when I finished reading and immediately began plotting to find out when the next book ARC would be available.
I thought the first one was fantastic. In the back of my mind I felt that the sequel just couldn't be as good. How could it? Boy was I wrong! It was even better! My heart was racing the whole time I was reading it and I simply couldn't put it down. I believe Ms. Collins is the MASTER of the pageturner. Every chapter ends with almost a cliffhanger feeling. It compels you to keep reading. It physically traps you into the book so that you just can't put it down. If you can't read this book in one sitting, then I urge you not to even look at it until you can. Like the first one, you will not be able to put it down. The house could have been on fire and I doubt I would have noticed.
Since we got to know Peeta and Katniss so well from the first one, what the sequel does is invest us even more deeply into their emotional well being. I won't give any other spoilers than what has already been said. So the book starts with Katniss as the face of the rebellion because of her act of defiance in the first book. As rebellion grows, the President sets up his revenge - and when I found out what it was, I literally sat up in bed and shouted "Oh NO! I can't believe they are doing this to them!!!" Yes I was talking to my book. That's how deeply this book sucks you into this amazing and disturbing dystopian world. It makes you want to grab up a weapon and join the rebellion.
One thing I have to say, I was deeply satisfied with the ending of this book. The first book ended in such a way that I was bothered by it and itchy for the next book. With the end of Catching Fire, I felt it was absolutely right and thrilled with the conclusion. But I'm still DYING for the third and final book of this amazing book series.
649 of 784 found the following review helpful:
The Biggest Problem with Trilogies . . .Sep 07, 2009
By kacunnin . . . is that darn book in the middle! You know how it goes - the first book is dynamite, because it's all new and there's so much to discover. The last book is explosive too, since we find out what happens "in the end." But the book in the middle . . . well, it's sort of like treading water. It's a place holder, filler maybe, a way to stall the reader until the good stuff can start.
Hunger Games was exiting and compelling; we found out about Katniss's world slowly, which drew us into it completely. My guess is, the final book will be equally engaging - after all, we'll learn all about District 13, we'll find out which of her two suitors Katniss will finally choose, and we'll get a glimpse of what lies in store for the Capitol and its totalitarian government. But Catching Fire is a disappointment. Nothing much happens. The plot can be summed up very succinctly - unrest grows slowly in the aftermath of Katniss and Peeta's Hunger Games victory. That's it. Katniss can't make her mind up about Peeta and Gale, she can't make her mind up about whether or not to rebel, and she can't make her mind up about who to really trust. In the end, not only is there no resolution, but little progress has been made toward one.
The biggest problem with Catching Fire is its pacing. The first third of the novel is really told in summary - Katniss explains what happened when she and Peeta came home, what happened on their tour of the Districts, what happened when she talked to Gale, etc. By telling it all in long paragraphs of summary, Collins removes the reader from the immediacy of the action - and it's both disappointing and disengaging. I wanted to experience Katniss's first meeting with Gale after she returned from the Games. I wanted be part of her trying to get her life together after her horrific experiences. But that's not the way this story is told. [***SPOILERS AHEAD***] Then, about midway through the novel, things start to feel very much like Hunger Games revisited. From the moment it's announced that Katniss will be thrown back into the arena it all starts to feel very much like a re-run. What was exciting and new in the first book, is expected and redundant in the second book. It's not that the final section isn't exciting - it is. There's plenty of action in the last chapters of the novel. But it just wasn't as gripping. I found myself reading to get to the end, rather than to find out what was going to happen. [***END SPOILERS***]
As with most "middle books," Catching Fire was written to set up the final part of its trilogy. There will be a rebellion. And there will be a love triangle. The sparks of the rebellion are there, although the reader is kept away from the actual embers. Collins put more time into Katniss's confusion over which boyfriend to pick - I found myself wishing for something, anything to happen to make that rather silly conflict moot. Katniss, as written by Collins, seems very, very young. It's hard to imagine her actually "torn between two lovers." Additionally, Gale plays such a peripheral role in this novel that it's hard to really know him. Peeta is present in almost every chapter - the sweet, loving, doting boyfriend who will be eternally true to Katniss. Gale, however, appears in only a few brief scenes, and never says more than a few words. Book 3 may give us a better picture of what these two young men really meant to Katniss; Catching Fire does not.
Actually, I think the title accurately reflects what this novel is all about - things in Katniss's world begin to catch fire. They don't actually CATCH fire - it just begins; it's "catching," so to speak. The conflict was set up in Hunger Games. The actual conflagration will play out in the third and final installment. Here, in Catching Fire, we just see the striking of the match. It's not a bad read, and fans of the first novel will enjoy this one. I just found myself wishing for more - more of an understanding of Katniss, Gale, and Peeta; more of an understanding of the totalitarian government they live under; and more of a connection to a story that won me over brilliantly in Hunger Games. This time, I felt a little lost.
97 of 118 found the following review helpful:
Let's put Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer in an arena.Mar 30, 2011
By Scott Loganbill Where the Hunger Games was a dystopian, nail-biter replete with a good balance of wish-fulfillment, action, romance, and drama that even the Greeks would be proud of, Catching Fire rests on Hunger Games' laurels and takes a huge bite of soap to fill in the gaps.
There are chapters and chapters of Katniss tearing her hair out, asking herself the same questions over and over, flip-flopping between love interests, dressing up, all the while lamely disinterested and loathful of everything in the process. It wears thin, and after a while the anguish is infectious in the worst possible way. After pages and pages of question marks, we finally get to the action and what Katniss does best: surviving... and it's short, thin on descriptions, and, at this point, lugging around the love triangle like a dead weight.
It's almost as if towards the ending of the first book, the editors ordered up two more books so long as author Suzanne Collins inserts more Twilight into the sequels -- you know, to take a piece of that prized demographic -- and she complied, and complied, and then Katniss wanted to scream and wondered if she will ever see a question mark again?
I would be completely disappointed if it weren't for the great concept, scenes, and characters that keep me reading. Although, the strength and hunger in Katniss' character in the first book is drowned in woeful, overtheatrical nonsense in this one. Apparently those hits she took in the arena aren't enough to knock some sense in her. She is so teetering on the edge of neuroses all the time, cowering in fear and doubt, I can't help but spend my time wondering whether this mockingjay will ever fly again.
30 of 35 found the following review helpful:
A review you can read without spoilers.Aug 31, 2009
By Nicole Del Sesto So many of the reviews posted give SO much of the story away and I'm glad I didn't read any of them before I started the book... Mine doesn't at all, so you are safe here. :-)
In the second book of the Hunger Games triology, Collins has solidified her world and her vision. We get to know more about the characters, and a bit more about the history of Panem. Foundationally, the story sort of all came together.
I'm still blown away by the harshness in these books. Perhaps being the mother of a teen makes me a tinge sensitive to the subject matter, but somehow it doesn't detract from the story.
This book was exciting from the start, and darned near impossible to put down. I worried that there would be "more of the same" in terms of what went on in the book, but Collins's creative juices were in high gear, and there was plenty to keep the story fresh.
I found this better than book one, but that may just be because I was getting used the concept in book one. I can't wait for book three ...
Highly entertaining and not to be missed! (But for sure read The Hunger Games first)
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