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Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2)

by Suzanne Collins

genre: dystopian, YA, science fiction

Don’t start Catching Fire unless you’re ready to read Mockingjay. I’m sure I looked like a raving lunatic with tears streaming down my cheeks for nearly the whole time I was driving with my audio book this past weekend. You have to get through some rather annoying Peeta-Gale love triangle drama that detracts from the seriousness of the storyline, but after that, everything builds to an incredible peek.

Summary from Goodreads

Against all odds, Katniss 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 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 in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

Review

There are some series you can read out of order and it doesn’t much matter–this is not one of them. Read The Hunger Games first; it will make Catching Fire that much more gut wrenching, moving, and powerful.

I’m struggling to write a review and now understand why Ermisenda’s lumped all three books into a single review. What can I say without giving away the major twist? I watched the movie preview only after finishing the novel because I didn’t want the preview to ruin any surprises. I needn’t have worried. They tread carefully to give the broadest strokes of the plot without showing anything past the first few chapters.

In my own broad strokes, I leave you with this:

After my post about Team Katniss and how The Hunger Games is not about whether Katniss should end up with Peeta or Gale but about her surviving a twisted game where she’s forced to die or kill other teenagers, I’m particularly sensitive to this love triangle. I thought it was ridiculous how much she prattled on in the first few chapters about each boy. At least Katniss eventually comes to the conclusion that, she “really can’t think about kissing when [she] has a rebellion to incite.”

Once you get past that, it’s a page-turner that will have you downloading or purchasing the next book the moment you’re finished reading. Because of the beginning, it started out a 3 star, but by the end it was a solid 5.

For those of you reading the audio-book, I didn’t like the narrator. She’s a good narrator in her own right, but she sounds 40, not 17. I wish they’d used the same narrator as Matched by Ally Condie. Some of the male voices were off or too similar, distracting from the reading rather than improving it. I’ve decided to leave this off the rating but wanted to mention it.

You really have to read The Hunger Games first. I’m a little nervous because many people haven’t liked Mockingjay, but that review is probably next.

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