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

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

― Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

Critics largely gave Catching Fire favorable reviews. Although this second book spends an excessive amount of time recounting the events from book one, Publishers Weekly said that it doesn't let readers down when it transitions into the heart-pounding action they have grown accustomed to. The New York Times also provided a favorable review, noting that Collins had accomplished that uncommon feat. She has created a follow-up to the previous book that is better. 

As a reader, I experienced excitement and even hope: was there a real direction for this story and its characters? The review also appreciated Collins' work on Katniss' character growth. The very final words of Catching Fire will have readers breathless, according to The Plain Dealer. Moreover, People magazine ranked Catching Fire as the seventh Best Book of 2009, while Time magazine ranked it as the fourth best book of 2009. It also took home the Best Book of the Year 2009 prize from Publishers Weekly.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest that she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before . . . and surprising readers at every turn.

My reaction to the novel...

One of the very rare sequels that surpasses the original book in quality is this one. It was fantastic! The narrative and the fresh characters that we got to meet were both incredibly enjoyable. Additionally, it was a delight to see previous tribute acts return to the venue. In terms of the characters, I liked Katniss though I simply didn't appreciate the emotional back-and-forth she consistently displayed between Gale and Peeta. Let's just say that later in the novel, Katniss finds herself in another risky situation. 

The book starts off slowly, but once it does, it picks up speed and becomes a nonstop delight to read. This narrative took so many unexpected turns that I still can't believe where it went. They are all extremely complex, with many different layers to their intentions. Due to my familiarity with the characters from the previous book and the heart-pounding action, I was hooked to the story. The characters in the second novel appeared to hold more emotional weight for me. I felt compelled to put the book down, and all I could do was stop and dwell about it. I was anxious to get back to it.

Due of the reader's emotional attachment to the character, it nevertheless manages to depict a tremendously bleak dark future that they want to see destroyed. It's a heartfelt, very compelling book that seems like a logical progression from its previous. I finally completed the book, and the cliffhanger has, for want of a better term, made me eager to read for the next one. If you enjoyed the previous book, I am confident that you will enjoy this one as well.

My Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now and live in it forever.”

This is really sweet. Whether we like to admit it or not, there are times when we wish that time would stand still, particularly when we are with someone special. We do it because, I don't know if you've noticed this as well, but when we're with that particular someone, the time will fly by so quickly that you'll want to halt it.

“My nightmares are usually about losing you. I'm okay once I realize you're here.”

This made me giggle. All I can say is that losing someone you love is a nightmare that you would do everything to wake up from. Since losing that particular someone is so painful, it's as if you watch yourself in pain and convince yourself that it was only a nightmare before finding yourself waking up and searching for that person, and those horrible nightmares still cause your heart to stop and start again once you see them, recognizing that you had only actually experienced a nightmare.

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

This is very self-sacrificing. It actually does occur. It was as though you were really upset and wanted to hurt someone, but you couldn't because it wasn't like you. As a result, all you could do was focus on something, exert a lot of effort, concentrate, and invest all of your emotions in it, and end up hurting yourself as well.

“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.”

When someone is furious and against us, we sometimes want to face them and let them know what we know about their plans to harm us, but most of the time it is difficult to do that because we lack the guts to do so.



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