Monday, April 8, 2013

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is the second book in Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games Trilogy. This is not a warning I give often, but I do not recommend reading this review until you have read both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, as it contains spoilers.

One year after the events of the 74th Hunger Games, we are once again entered into the mind of one Katniss Everdeen, who'd survived the arena as a victor, along with a boy named Peeta Mellark, in the first double-winning in Hunger Games history. For those who do not know (in case you did not heed my advice and are reading this review anyway), the Hunger Games are an annual reminder from a tyrannical government in which 24 teenagers are drawn from the twelve districts and placed in a miles-wide arena to fight to the death.

Seventy-five years ago, a rebellion broke out in the country of Panem (formerly known as North America, long ago), and the Hunger Games were served as a reminder every year since that opposition to the government was a very, very bad idea. But in the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta showed the world that the government wasn't as great and powerful as they claimed. While Katniss only wanted to keep herself and her friend alive, she unintentionally sparked a new hope for rebellion, and now that spark would come to haunt her.

In the sequel to the renowned Hunger Games, we are returned again to the dystopian world of Panem. While the first book worked to introduce its readers to the strange future world, the second book no longer has to do that. You're already familiar the world, the characters, and the society... so instead, Catching Fire focuses more on plot; and man, is it good.

Suzanne Collins not only returns with a worthy sequel, but the book surpasses its predecessor. In a gnarled twist, the competitors of 75th Hunger Games are taken entirely from the list of former victors, including Katniss and Peeta. This not only makes for interesting plot, but it makes the whole story more personal. For much of the final half of the book, I was desperately hoping that the ending would not be cliché. In the end, I was not disappointed. In fact, the ending was so awesome that my heart was beating quite hard throughout it.

In conclusion, Collins did a wonderful job of continuing her story. Many people don't care for the book—or at least they like the first one better—but I can't disagree more. The Hunger Games was a spectacular novel, but Catching Fire was phenomenal. Very highly recommended.

Now, I've been told that Mockingjay, the final installment of the trilogy, is a bit of a disappointment; but since I was told the same for Catching Fire, I'm remaining optimistic. I don't plan on reading it immediately, but perhaps sometime within the next few months. Stay tuned!

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