Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Katniss and Peeta survived the Hunger Games. Now an angry President Snow is determined that Katniss will pay for her deceit. As Katniss and Peeta begin their Victory Tour, Katniss catches a glimpse of the rebellion her actions have inspired. And then there's Gale, angry and eager to see the Capitol brought to its knees. Katniss can't seem to let him go, but if she can't convince all of Panem that she and Peeta are madly in love, it could be disastrous for everyone she holds dear.

In this highly anticipated sequel to The Hunger Games, readers revisit Panem along with Katniss, as she tells the story of the Victory Tour and the unrest her actions in the Hunger Games caused. Collins's impressive writing captures the reader's attention and there are enough twists and turns to keep her engaged.

The largest challenge with Catching Fire is that Katniss is turned into an unlikeable, whiny character without direction. In amongst the glimpses of the growing rebellion, she shares bits and pieces of the Hunger Games as she experienced them; the tension between her and Gale because of her relationship with Peeta; her fear of what Snow could do to her family unless she can convince all of Panem she is deeply in love with
the bread maker/artist. And while the reader sympathizes with all the Games have cost her, they don't feel Katniss has grown or learned much of anything.

A Quarter Quell is announced and its rules shock everyone. The reader sees more violence and more death. Tributes are going to have to make decisions. They are going to have to form alliances if they wish to survive.

Yes, this book has a fabulous cliffhanger ending that will leave the reader eager to pick up the final book of the trilogy, but Catching Fire didn't have as much meat as I was looking for. I didn't want to rehash so much of what happened in the first book. I wanted Gale to play a more pivotal role in Catching Fire. I wanted Katniss to make decisions instead of complaining about her circumstances. My daughter, who read the books with me, liked it, but she preferred the first and third books as well.

While this book is rated as 13 and up, and I know many kids younger than that have read it, I still think there's too much violence for young readers.

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 391 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439023491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439023498
  • SRP: $17.99
  • Also available for Kindle

  • I borrowed a copy of this book from a neighbor so we could continue with the series. I received no monetary compensation for this review.

    This is the twenty-third book I've read for the following challenge:

    It is the sixteenth I've read for the following challenge:

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