on November 26, 2014
There is an original, creative storyline in each of Ms Collins' books in this trilogy. I haven't seen the movie - but I often don't anyway, because nothing can begin to approach the creativity and ingenuity that a good book can spark in the human imagination.
This trilogy is a keeper. I just hope it doesn't spawn an immense series of follow-up books--which, after awhile, begin to feel as though they're become production line artefacts instead of little gems of creation from a fertile mind.
This book continues shortly after The Hunger Games finishes. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are back home in District 12 but things are not all joy for the victors. Katniss receives a visit from the President of the Capitol warning her that he knows all of her secrets, and during the Victory tour that she and Peeta must convince the other districts that their love is real. It is even announced on TV that their wedding will be hosted by the Capitol.
However, all is not well in Penam. The last time there was a rebellion, District 13 was nuked from the map, and The Hunger Games began to remind the districts of their submission and subjugation to the Capitol in this new country of Penan in the ruins of former North America. The Capitol each year forces each of the 12 provinces to draw names of a male and female tribute. The tributes are drawn from all people between the ages of 12 and 18. They receive training, are assessed by the game masters and then the betting begins. The games will be televised and are required viewing for the whole nation. In book 1 Peeta and Katniss won the games, but angered many in leadership in the Capitol.
Now is the beginning of the preparation for the 75th Hunger Games. It is a Quarter Quell; each 25 years the rules are modified. In previous Quarter Quells, on the 25th Anniversary of the rebellion, each district had to vote on what child to send to the games. In the second Quarter Quell, on the 50th anniversary each district had to send two male and two female tributes to the games and this time it is announced that the Tributes to fight in the games will be drawn from previous victors only.
Katniss panics at this news; less than a year ago she had to fight to the death with 23 other youths. Now she must return to the Arena and the death and carnage it will entail, for she is the only female from district 12 to be a victor. And she will have to enter the arena either with Peeta or Haymitch, her former co-winner or her mentor. And this time the Capitol will not allow two winners from a district again. Her world has just been turned upside down. As she prepares to train to re-enter the arena, she must decide who and what she is willing to fight for and this time maybe die for.
This book was so intense I could not put it down. I read it in one sitting, devouring it, then went back about a week later and reread it more slowly in case I missed anything. The cliff hanger is so extreme that even though it is more than a year away, I cannot wait for book 3 to be published. This book and the first The Hunger Games are excellent fictions and great summer or fall leisure reading.
(First published in Imprint 2009-07-24.)
on July 23, 2012
I bought 'Catching Fire' with 'Mockingjay' so I wasn't frustrated but I strongly recommend making sure you have the third in the series before embarking on the second! If you don't have the third lined up you may be annoyed... I find it hard to judge this as a stand-alone book b/c it really is the middle book and you can't really pick it up unless you read the first and the third doesn't make sense if you don't read this one... I liked it but it was definitely on the way to the next one...
on July 19, 2013
This is the 2nd book in the Hunger Games trilogy and I really enjoyed reading it. It carries on the story of Katniss and the other characters and you learn so much more about everyone and the Hunger Games. Definitely a great read if you're into fiction. Make sure you read the first one first.
on July 21, 2009
I forced myself to read this book slowly, over the course of three days, because I just couldn't stand that it had to end. WOW. Given how much I loved The Hunger Games I didn't think it was possible for Catching Fire to live up to my expectations, but it exceeded them. In all my speculations on where Collins was going to take Katniss and Peeta, I didn't even get close. I'm going to try very hard to stay away from any spoilers here.
First off, this book managed to continue the adrenaline level of the Hunger Games far more successfully than I would have thought was possible. It does start off a little slowly, with Katniss and Peeta preparing to take their victory tour around the districts. The pace kicks up a few notches when they discover that their act of contempt toward the Capitol has had more of an effect, in more places, than they could have imagined. Katniss needs to decide- will she attempt to protect herself and her family, or allow herself to become the figurehead of a much-needed rebellion?
Peeta a much fuller role in this book. Now that he realizes Katniss was only pretending to be in love with him in order to win the Games, how will he treat her? As they find themselves together in a new fight for their lives and the lives of their families, Katniss and Peeta must rely on each other again. The tension between Katniss's desire for self-preservation vs. her desire to protect her friend is almost unbearable, especially as she is again serving as the narrator and the reader is hearing her thoughts.
I have so much admiration for Collin's writing. When I am reading this book, I am actually with Katniss as she's going through her struggles. One of my favorite parts of The Hunger Games was the way it played with my mind and my sympathies, and the same type of conflict goes on in Catching Fire. I couldn't just pick one character to cheer for. I wanted Katniss to be OK, but there were so many others that I just knew couldn't make it. Beyond the excitement, Catching Fire explores deeper issues like social responsibility and the effects of normalized violence on teens and young adults. Honestly, the book is still playing in my mind weeks after reading it.
If, for some reason, all the rave reviews for this book and its prequel have failed to sway you, I will add my voice to the clamor. READ THIS BOOK! PREORDER THIS BOOK! I cannot recommend Catching Fire enough.
on February 18, 2012
Firstly, I must say that I really thought the first book wonderful and exciting, and I had high hopes for the 2nd. Secondly, I read all three, and I would like to point out a few things that are left out in comments like "I loved this, a must-read!"
The first book, as I said, was great. It was well-paced (didn't feel rushed), surprising (waiting to see what will be next), and emotional (who of the two District 12s will die?).
The second book, however, started off by picking up the loose ends from the 1st book, which is reasonable. Except, I felt like a lot of new detail was synthesized on the spot, and rather clumsily (forgive me, but that's how I felt). A major event (not to spoil I won't write it down) that starts the action-ball rolling feels unnatural and unexpected in a sense of "well, here we go again".
For what I liked, it's the "good stuff" and drama from the 1st book, which lives up to the 1st book; it felt repetitive, however, and didn't seem have much to offer (again, this is my point of view, you might disagree). I felt hanging in mid-air, rushing through the pages not because of excitement (as it felt rather obvious that there is going to be a way out), but just to see how the problem will be solved.
Also, the lack of development of the new characters in the book, and how no-one vital to the "plot" was accidentally killed (which, in my opinion, would have made the story so, so much better!) was unfortunate.
on July 16, 2009
When I picked up THE HUNGER GAMES, it immediately became "The Book" that I recommended to everyone who would listen. I stayed up until the wee hours every night to see what happened next. I blogged about it. I named a stray kitten "Rue." Not surprisingly, when I got my greedy hands on a copy of its sequel, CATCHING FIRE, I practically tore off the cover in my eagerness to dive in. Happily, the second installment of this compelling series did not disappoint. Now the only problem is waiting for the third book in this exciting trilogy.
CATCHING FIRE picks up six months after Kat and Peeta won the Hunger Games. Despite being a national hero and having the ability to provide a nice house and plenty of food for her family, Kat is still worried. She managed to win the Hunger Games, despite the Panem government's plans. Her behavior is viewed by the evil President Snow as defiance, which is never tolerated. She is a well-known, popular figure, so the president will not kill her outright, but Kat lives in fear that at any moment, she and those she loves could be punished for her actions.
Soon Kat learns that her performance in the Hunger Games arena had far-reaching consequences. In beating the government at its own game the previous year, Kat unintentionally demonstrated that the all-powerful President Snow is not quite so all-powerful. Now President Snow expects Kat to prove that she is a loyal citizen who doesn't support the anti-government rumblings that are spreading throughout the country. Her support is vital since it was her act of defiance that ignited the rumblings to begin with. And if she doesn't succeed to President Snow's satisfaction, her family and friends will pay the price.
CATCHING FIRE is a gripping follow-up to THE HUNGER GAMES. All the same characters are back ' with the exception of those who were killed in Book #1, of course. Even more than in THE HUNGER GAMES, Kat is largely clueless about the strategies and plots that are going on around her. At times, this can be trying for the reader because by now she should know that everyone has an agenda, and if you're not directing the game, then you're a pawn. Still, her strength is an extraordinary instinct for survival. It's ironic that the Capitol government which created the Hunger Games and tries so hard to keep its people feeling helpless is also responsible for creating a person like Kat. She gained her skills and toughness by surviving unspeakably brutal conditions.
One key difference between the two books is that in THE HUNGER GAMES, reality TV was painted as a villain. A voyeuristic public's desire to be entertained by the suffering of others forced Hunger Games competitors to behave in inhuman ways. The oppressive government that created the competition was largely an ever-present background threat. In CATCHING FIRE, however, the government's cruelty is front and center as its boot heel presses ever harder on the throats of its people. The role of television and at-home audiences shifts in this book, and they become more of a weapon against the government than against the people.
As much as I enjoyed CATCHING FIRE, there were times, particularly in the first half, that it made me uncomfortable. There are so many parallels between the excesses of Panem's government and those of governments around our modern world. Governments that spy on their own people, starvation caused not by a shortage of food but from corrupt government policies, the impossibly wide divide between the "haves" and the "have-nots," and the helplessness suffered by citizens who believe there's nothing they can do about any of it. As I read, I kept asking myself, "How much will these people tolerate before they put a stop to it?" But then I winced time and again as I was forced to ask, "How much will I?"
CATCHING FIRE feels more serious and less like escapist fiction than THE HUNGER GAMES. It executes its message equally well, though, and the fact that I saw some of its twists coming didn't lessen their impact. Author Suzanne Collins has prepared another treacherous arena for her readers ' and, as in THE HUNGER GAMES, only some of the hazards are in the fictional world of Panem.
Reviewed by: K. Osborn Sullivan
on August 20, 2010
Katniss and Peeta might have gotten out of the Hunger Games alive, but the nightmare isn't over. They are forced to visit district after district and face the families of the other kids who died in the arena. Not only that, but their little act of rebellion in the Games didn't go unnoticed. Some districts are restless and President Snow is blaming Katniss, and he will do anything to make her pay.
I really loved The Hunger Games and I didn't think I could love Catching Fire more but I did! I don't want to give anything away because I kinda spoiled it for myself by reading the description of Mockingjay. Anyway, I loved how there is that much going on behind the scene that we are totally unaware of and that everything is revealed at the right moment.
Both Katniss and Peeta were strong in the first book and this time around the stakes are even higher. I admire their stubbornness, determination and enjoyed being surprised by the sacrifices they are willing to make. They will meet new allies/possible enemies, which I enjoyed liking or hating depending LOL. If there is such a thing as Team Cinna and Team Finnick please sign me up! Haymitch will hold an even more important role this time, which I honestly didn't see coming. In fact, apart from the bits I spoiled by reading book three's description, I didn't see anything coming. The whole book is a maelstrom of emotions, heart-breaks, surprises and fierceness. There is also the whole deadly blood-bath necessary to the Games.
I have a hard time putting my love of this series into words so I will tell you this, since I started reading the first book (5 days ago) I went to bed every night thinking of the books. What would happen next, what could have been different, what would've happen if X or Y happened, What I would've done if I were Katniss. The intensity of the books literally kept me awake at night, that's how good they were! I don't know how all of you guys who read this book on release in 2009 managed to wait until now to get the third book, `cause even though we are just a few days from release, the wait is unbearable!
Now I'm gonna pronounce myself. At this point I am Team Peeta, but I wouldn't be surprised to switch to Team Gale during book three. I already love Gale, but he hasn't been under the spotlight long enough to truly judge if I prefer him over Peeta, as opposed to the latter proving his loyalty over and over in the hardest situations. Either way, I will always be... Team Katniss.
on April 15, 2010
The first of this series was amazing, I mean a true work of art. The storyline is wonderfully original and I've been telling everyone I know to read it. Catching fire has all the elements needed to make a true wonderful story. There is romance, self-discovery, action, thrill, violence, a truly evil nemesis, an incredible twist ending and all wrapped up in one, it is truly a satisfying read.
Oftentimes, sequels to a bestselling book disappoint. This sequel to the "Hunger Games", however, the second in the trilogy, is just as good as the first, as it seamlessly picks up where the "Hunger Games" left off. The author is a born storyteller, and she weaves a story that, while simply written, is thematically complex.
The author continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, who along with the other tribute from District 12, Peeta Mellark, has survived the "Hunger Games". While on a whirlwind, governmentally mandated victory tour, Katniss and Peeta see portents that all is not well in Panem politically and signs of unrest and dissatisfaction with the despotic rule of President Snow are becoming all too apparent.
Suddenly, the stakes are raised, and the victorious tributes find themselves challenged in ways that they could never have anticipated. In fact, the author has come up with another ingenious plot that will keep the reader riveted. I could not put the book down, reading it in one sitting! So, again I find myself, running down to the local brick and mortar bookstore to buy the third and last book, which I simply cannot wait to read!