As always, I'm trying to keep things spoiler-free here, but trust me when I say you won't want to read this review unless you've already read the heart-stopping Hunger Games. What are you waiting for? Go read it! Now!
After defying the Capitol and President Snow in the last Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta have returned home as joint victors – an unprecedented achievement – to find they are still in as much danger as before. This danger however is not such an in-your-face-fight-for-survival, but nonetheless deadly with exponentially more lives at stake. All Katniss wants to is to return home after the Games and resume her former life: hunting with Gale, arguing with the black market vendors of the Hob, and generally keeping a low profile. That dream however is shattered after President Snow makes it perfectly clear to Katniss that he expects to be fully convinced of her undying love for Peeta not just on their Victory Tour but permanently. And if she can’t? The consequences won’t just be limited to herself this time: her family and friends would be the Capitol’s next targets.
On thing I really like about Suzanne Collins’ books is that I never really know what will happen next. Her constant twists and turns catch me of guard and I really, really like that. Despite the somewhat rushed, horribly abrupt cliff-hanger ending (why do authors ever feel the need to do that to their readers?!?) Catching Fire held me from the get-go and played havoc with my emotions the entire ride.
So much about Catching Fire is focused on relationships and barring Katniss' interactions with Gale and Peeta, I eagerly anticipated any scene where Cinna came into play. The man is a genius designer and I couldn’t be more impressed with his subtly and symbolism in everything he creates for Katniss. A talented designer and truly committed to Katniss, Cinna is one stylist I’d want in my corner too.
I’ve read many reviews that compalined that the pacing in this book was off – to which I say, not off, just different. For a while Katniss really doesn’t do much of anything besides try to figure out where she stands on a variety of subjects: how she feels about Gale, how she feels about Peeta, how to convince the President she really isn’t trying to foment a rebellion, etc., etc. This is a drastic change of pace in one sense, because Katniss isn’t physically fighting for her life every at every turn. Instead, she’s waging war on a variety of fronts, only now she has to think about how to keep her family and friends alive too. So for a 17 year old, she’s got a lot on her plate and I, for one, was intrigued by her inner turmoil and struggle to define herself. Which maybe makes Catching Fire more of a coming of age/determination story than a dystopian survival novel, but differences aside, I loved it and can’t wait to see where that cliff-hanger ending will go next.
series reading order:
~ Hunger Games
~ Catching Fire
~ untitled book 3 due out Aug. 2010
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
The Compulsive Reader review
Karin's Book Nook review
Linus's Blanket review
Presenting Lenore review
book source: Book Binge giveaway