Thursday, 26 January 2012

'Catching Fire' by Suzanne Collins Book Review

Another three days later and I finished the sequel to 'The Hunger Games'. I was so eager to find out what happens to Katniss and Peeta that I just couldn't wait and whizzed through this one- and again, left wanting more!

Back in District 12, Katniss and Peeta get ready for their victory tour around all the districts. Having defied the Capitol with her rebellious action during the games, she gets a visit from President Snow to warn her that uprisings may occur if she portrays herself in the wrong way. Confused about her feelings towards Gale/Peeta, she puts off dealing with it and during the tour returns to her role as the star-crossed lover of district 12.

But it is not enough. As several districts are already in uprising, President Snow manipulates this year's Quarter Quell (every 25th Hunger games) and all the districts have to send in a boy and a girl from the victor's pool. Peeta and Katniss once again enters the games they so despise, but this time, their competition, all being victors, ensures certain death.

The first third of the book was rather slow and I found Katniss really annoying as she is so conflicted between Gale and Peeta. Despite all the information, hints and descriptions the book truly starts and hits up a notch when they reenter the games for a second time.

From here on, I just could not put down the book. The dynamic between Katniss and President Snow seems to be the focus and I very much enjoyed her rebellious actions during training, her interview- it was all just so beautiful and perfect. 

The characters were also not very much developed. Katniss the same conflicted girl who really does not deserve Peeta and the other tributes die too quickly for us to really care.

The games themselves were however very rushed. I found Katniss to be clever just like the last book in weighing everything out and thinking of others' intentions but felt she was rather slow on the uptake. It was obvious that her allies in the games have a unified goal, which she just doesn't seem to every pick up on.

The arena in 'Catching Fire' is fantastic and is genius. I just wished they'd spent longer investigating and avoiding the perils it awaits. As the book climaxes, you're left with very few pages and I found myself quite confused at what exactly is happening and have to reread a few paragraphs again to pick up. 

Whilst the sequel introduces a lot of different ideas, such as the existence of district 13, the uprisings, the potential rebellion, it doesn't develop it at all and is left as an idea, a loose end, waiting to be tied up in the third book. In this way, 'Catching Fire' is not quite complete, yet seems to bridge the gap between the first and last book. 

As I said, a third of the book could've really been part of the first book as a cathartic ending but would've left it less of a cliffhanger, and this one could've ideally started with the announcement of the Quarter Quell rule of re-entering the Victors.

However, the book retains its allure with a very sharp ending which leave you desperate for more.

Unfortunately, 'Catching Fire' doesn't feel entirely complete, but bridges the gap between 'The Hunger Games' and 'Mockingjay'. It is still beautifully written and highly addictive as the first book, but too many loose ends leaves it neither here nor there but I'm sure the third book will tie them all up. In this way, perhaps this trilogy should be seen as a continuous story- which would then be perfect.

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