Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire in The Hunger Games is now sparking revolutions throughout the 12 Districts in Suzanne Collins’s second installment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire.

Having emerged from the Hunger Games victorious, Katniss and her now ‘made for TV boyfriend’ Peeta Mellark return to District 12. Their final act of desperation in the Games makes them both symbols of rebellion and hope to the people of the 12 Districts….but targets for the Capitol.

President Snow smells deception….he knows their love was just an act and feels that they rebellion in the Games will only incite more uprisings in other Districts….while on their victory tour of the other Districts, Snow will be watching Peeta and Katniss closely.

When they fail to perform up to Snow’s standard, Snow and the Capitol threaten to destroy all that Katniss and Peeta hold dear–their family, friends, and themselves. But if he destroys them outright, Snow will lose the favor of the public and perhaps bring about more uprisings and rebellion–he can’t risk it. But and opportunity soon presents itself…the Quarter Quell Hunger Games….the rules have changed and the odds are not in Katniss and Peeta’s favor.

While the sparks of rebellion spread and the disillusionment of the Quarter Quell mounts…Katniss is struggling with her own mixture of emotions: the inevitable love triangle–Peeta vs. Gale.

Gale has been Katniss’s best friend and confidant for years but without her realizing it, her love for Gale has moved beyond platonic affection into something more. Peeta, the kind hearted, brave boy who loves Katniss so much he would do anything for her even if it means his own demise or his own unhappiness had proven to her he loves her unconditionally a million times over…..but still Katniss isn’t sure where her own heart stands.

Part of her needs to know what things would be like with Gale–the preverbal ‘what if’ situation…what if they were lovers, what if things were different, what if they never tried, what if they did? Meanwhile, Katniss isn’t sure if her feelings for Peeta are a product of extreme circumstance (the Games) or if her love for him is real. Katniss knows by choosing one she will lost the other forever….this is a choice she is not prepared to make. Confused and lost…she barely has time to figure things out before the Capitol forces her hand–she is thrown into the Quarter Quell Games and Peeta along with her.

Now the unintended poster children for the rebellion Peeta and Katniss must right their way through the Games again and pray that it is enough to bring about a full scale uprising against the evil dystopian Capitol. In the arena they find a team of unlikely allies–which is when they both realize how important this rebellion is and why it is so important for them to survive the Games and destroy the Capitol and Snow for good….but, the night is always darkest just before the dawn….

Can Peeta and Katniss save the 12 Districts or will the Capitol crush any hope of freedom? And what of Katniss and her love triangle…Gale or Peeta, Peeta or Gale….which do the odds favor? Only the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, can answer those burning questions for good….

Traditionally the second book in a series is the ‘filler book’, in my experience anyway….for me this book was definitely that. Catching Fire for me was the book that needed to be there….that needed to create the tension/build up for the grande finale that Mockingjay will surely be. It is the fluff book, the filler, the ground work…not the gripping introductory book or the grand finale ending…just the necessary filler book.

I am kind of neutral about Book II, I really enjoyed Book I but this book was a little slower for me. I still liked it and knew I had to read it to progress in the series of course but it just didn’t have the same pace as the first book. At times I felt Katniss’s strength a little harsh and alienating but not entirely out of character….in fact I think she was harsher in Book I, but for some reason how she deals with the ‘fall out’ in her world after the Games was disheartening and sad for me….her strength will always be her downfall as a character for me. That’s not to say I don’t like her as a character, I do, it’s just at times I was put off by her–especially how she treats Peeta–Haymitch was right–she could live a hundred lifetimes and still never deserve Peeta.

The other thing that bothered me a little was the love angle. Katniss acted like there was something ‘with Gale’ when in fact in Book I there was nothing but perhaps the possibility of a relationship….but not a promise of a relationship between Katniss and Gale. There is something I don’t like or trust about Gale….perhaps it’s his inability to express his feelings for Katniss as freely as Peeta, I am not sure but there is just SOMETHING I don’t like about Gale and therefore it was hard for me to buy that Katniss is conflicted between the two boys. And honestly what’s NOT to love about Peeta?

Overall the book was good, not in the same ways as Book I, but it is a necessary installment to the trilogy…now the buildup for the ending is complete…Book II fulfilled the necessary buildup and excitement needed. I am looking forward to starting the final book to see how this all works out.

For me….the odds are on rebellion and destruction of the Capitol. Until then, may the odds be ever in your favor….

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

  • Hardcover, 391 pages
  • Published September 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
  • ISBN 0439023491 (ISBN13: 9780439023498)

This book counts toward: The Dystopia Reading Challenge

Recommendation: 4 out of 5 (an exciting survivor-ish tale)

Genre: YA, dystopian literature, post-apocalyptic literature, speculative fiction

Memorable lines/quotes: 

I always channel my emotions into my work. That way, I don’t hurt anyone but myself.

At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.The hard thing is finding the courage to do it.

You know, you could live a thousand lifetimes and not deserve him.

4 thoughts on “Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

    1. My thoughts exactly!! Peeta is trying SOOOOOOO hard while Gale just stands by and does nothing but sulk….but isn’t that just typical for a girl….always after the guy who isn’t trying HAHAH 🙂 I can’t wait to start Mockingjay…..and all I can say is she better end up with Peeta or I’m NOT going to be happy LOL 🙂

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