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Catching Fire Classic - Suzanne Collins

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Suzanne Collins / Edition: 1 / Paperback / 480 Pages / Book is published 2011-12-01 by Scholastic

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      12.02.2014 13:02
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      Possibly even better than the first book!

      'The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames. I am the Mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol's plans. The symbol of the rebellion.'

      ---Plot---

      Against all odds, and against the plans of the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark survived The Hunger Games. However, their actions in the games may have helped start a rebellion, and the Capitol wants revenge.

      As the whole nation tunes in to watch Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. If they cannot convince the Capitol of their love for each other, the consequences will be unimaginable.

      ---My thoughts---

      I started reading this as soon as I finished the first book. I loved everything about the first book; the world that Suzanne Collins created for Katniss to live in, the drama of the games, the emotions that Katniss felt throughout the entire book. I can safely say that the second book lived up to my expectations.

      I'd already seen the film before reading this, so I mostly knew what to expect. But, as with the first book, it was so much more interesting to read about the familiar events from the film, as it really gave a deep insight into Katniss' character and the conflicted emotions that she's feeling. In the first book, Katniss' goal was simply to make it out of the games and come home to her mother and sister, but now that she's formed a bond with Peeta, she must now protect him as well as herself.

      She knows that the Capitol is angry with how she performed in The Hunger Games, and she knows that they have the power to not only hurt her and Peeta, but also her family, and her best friend Gale. The stakes are higher than they were before; she has more people to think about, and she knows that protecting them could mean sacrificing herself.

      I thought that the plot in this book was amazing, and when it all came together at the end, I thought it was possibly even better than the first book. There were mysteries throughout the book, things that Katniss was confused about, that were all cleared up at the end, and I thought that the way the plot was executed was great.

      I'm in the middle of reading the final book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, at the moment, which is even more exciting for me. The first half of the Mockingjay film isn't due to be released until November, so the plot in the third book is completely new to me. Although I haven't yet finished the whole trilogy, I highly recommend it to all lovers of Fantasy and Dystopian novels

      ---The Author---

      Suzanne Collins is an American Author who has been writing for children's television shows since 1991. She has worked on several Nickelodeon shows, including Clarissa Explains it All, and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. Although Suzanne is more commonly known for The Hunger Games series, she has also written a number of children's books, including the Underland Chronicles series.

      ---Book Info---

      Kindle Edition ASIN - B006NXI58M
      Kindle Edition price from Amazon - £2.84*

      Paperback Edition ISBN13 - 978-1407109367
      Paperback Edition price from Amazon - New and Used from £0.01 - £3.50*

      ---The Hunger Games Series Info---

      Book 1 - The Hunger Games
      Book 2 - Catching Fire
      Book 3 - Mockingjay

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      18.01.2014 20:29
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      A guilty pleasure, brilliant series and brilliant book

      Introduction

      Before you read on, I must say that this review contains unavoidable plot spoilers for the first book in this series, but I will endeavour no to include any plot spoilers for this actual book, Catching Fire.

      Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games series, the very successful trilogy by Suzanne Collins which has also been made into a series of films. I class the Hunger Games as a guilty pleasure of mine - I'm a mid thirties married man who has somehow stumbled across these books and found them impossible to put down - I've just finished Catching Fire in under four hours. The series is aimed at teenage girls, but I think I enjoy it so much because it's just a damn good story. I'm also writing this review literally just after finishing the book so that I can hopefully start (and finish) the third and final book without getting too mixed up when it comes to writing that review!

      The Book

      For those who aren't aware, the Hunger Games are a form of punishment used by the Capitol on the inhabitants of Panem - a country in the not too distant future. The punishment is for an uprising against the Capitol by 13 Districts who were and are under Capitol control. Each year, every District must send one male and one female tribute aged 12 - 18 to the Capitol to take part in the Hunger Games, where they fight each other in a last man standing struggle for survival. The winner is the sole remaining survivor, and their prize is money, food and gifts for their District every year for the rest of their lives.

      In Catching Fire, it is the 75th anniversary of the first games so what is known as a quarter quell takes place. The requirement of this quarter quell is that each District must provide its tributes from their pool of previous winners.

      Enter Katniss Everdeen, District 12's only ever female winner, and as the only ever female winner from that District she is forced to go and take part in the Games. The killer twist is that she will be accompanied, again, by Peeta the boy who their fake love for each other managed to force the Capitol into bending the rules in the previous year's Games - both Peeta and Katniss won as the result of an act of defiance involving a suicide threat by Katniss.

      That act of defiance made the publiuc opinion of the Capitol's leader, President Snow, very weak and he comes across as a very menacing and ruthless man in how he deals with Katniss - the book even suggests that he fixed the requirement of the quarter quell in order to Katniss to return to the Games so that she would be killed off and therefore remove the thorn in his side which she has become.

      Her act of defiance has been taken by the districts as a signal to openly revolt, so of course President Snow must take drastic action if he wants to remain in control. That, in a nutshell, is the bare bones of Catching Fire - I'll cover some further plot developments as I give my opinions below.



      Opinion

      Suzanne Collins hasn't just written another book which is an account of Katniss being in the Games Arena, there's a lot more going on besides which I'm pleased to say made this a successful second instalment of the trilogy as opposed to that "difficult second book" which I gather some Hunger Games fans think this second book is.

      One of the main plot components which I thought made this just as good to read as the first book was the threats from President Snow to Katniss. Because of the way she embarrassed the Capitol by outsmarting them at the end of the first book with the "berries stunt", she is now a symbol of revolt which has set the spark to the Districts' tinderbox.

      Desperate to quash a revolt before it takes hold and topples his power, he forces Katniss into complying with his demand that she must marry Peeta, her fellow district 12 competitor so that he can put the spin on her berries incident that it was the actions of a love sick girl in despair that either she or her love Peeta would die, as opposed to an open act of defiance. I thought that this was a brilliant twist to the story by Mrs Collins as it added a grown up twist to what is essentially a children's book.

      Prior to the games taking place, she and Peeta must tour the districts on a victors' tour and, forced by Snow, she must use it as an opportunity to show off her "love" for Peeta in order to try and convince the masses that she is just a girl in love and not the face of a revolution. Again, this element added a good aspect to the story line which otherwise could just have been a slightly different rewrite of the first book.

      Something that the author threw into the story once Katniss was back in the arena was the suggestion that there is some kind of plot backed by Haymitch happening to protect Katniss - it isn't explicitly laid out as such but there is definitely something going on. If I try and think what my reading level was like when I was a young teenager, my imagination would have been set on fire by the way this plot is hinted at, it was a very good twist. However, I won't say here exactly what happens as that would be a spoiler.

      I enjoyed the added jeopardy that the quarter quell added to the arena part of the book, the nasty surprises that the game's organisers have added really ramp up the suspense.

      I would recommend this to people who have read the first book and are undecided whether or not to go on and read the rest of the trilogy. Also, if you haven't already, read the first book! You would have to read them in order to be able to understand the ramifications of certain events in Catching Fire. When my eldest daughter is slightly older than she is now, I'll defiantly be getting her to read them - I'm now off to start book three.

      Five stars, absolutely not that "difficult second book". Thanks for reading.

      ISBN 978-1407139807
      Available on Amazon for £3.85 brand new paperback

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        23.03.2013 12:15
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        A worthwhile read

        Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. After reading the first book I was keen to find out what happened next so started reading Catching Fire pretty much immediately!

        Katniss and Peeta have both managed to survive the gruesome Hunger Games and are thus housed in special residence not far away from Haymitch, their mentor before and during the Games. Their families live a life of luxury, and gone are the days where Katniss wondered where her next meal would come from. But life after the Games is not exactly simple. Katniss and Peeta are under close observation and constant threat, especially as it is believed that their final few acts in the Games have sparked a rebellion against the Capitol. Surely Katniss and Peeta must pay the price? Surely President of the Capitol, Snow, will not take this lying down?

        Well this book was definitely an interesting read. I really enjoyed reading about the new lives of the main characters, but also knew that something sinister was coming and waiting for things to turn was enthralling. Katniss and Peeta were about to face an unwelcome change to their lives, that much was obvious. And despite making it alive out of the last Games, how could their lives ever be the same after having seen so much death? This aspect of their feelings was described very well and written in a way that convinced the reader of the turmoil that these characters faced everyday whilst trying to get on with their new lives.

        I did enjoy reading this book but found it less enjoyable than the first book. I think the main reason for this is that the first book introduced a brand new concept. The idea that a Hunger Games existed was spectacular in itself, and the second book feeds off the ideas in the first book. At times I even found myself a little bored but it didn't last for long. I don't really like reading about overly dramatic scenes such as fighting in books. It can get messy and often a little too complicated to visualise in the way the author wants us too, so there were times in some chapters where I may have skimmed through to get past the fighting scenes.

        All in all I'm glad I read this book. I would say I'm not dying to read the next one straightaway (unlike the way I felt when I finished the first book) but I'm still keen to read the third book soon.

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          09.01.2013 07:04
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          A fantastic second book.

          WARNING! This review contains spoilers for the first book in the series "The hunger games"

          After reading the first book in the series, i was really quite pleased that i had purchased the series of three books as a whole, as i was ready to find out what happened next straight away (unlike some books that i feel i have to take a break from first before continuing).

          The book starts weeks after the initial hunger games tornament, Katniss and Peeta have defied the Capitol by not playing by the rules after trying to both kill themselves in the arena, thus turning themselves into a tragic "Romeo and Juliet" couple, which the Capitol see's as a treasonous act, but the residents see as a romantic story.

          It soon becomes clear that Katniss survival instinct has triggered more than just a gooey feeling within womens hearts, it seems that she has become the number one pin up girl for a fast growing rebel force, with her "Mockingjay" personna seeming to hit a nerve in all the districts, Katniss seems to have unwittingly start a revolution!
          (Mockingjay is a hybrid experiment that went wrong, the breeding of female mocking birds and male jabberjays resulted in a bird that could not only sing birdsong, but also mimic humans, this was used within the books as not only an instrument of torture but also the symbol of the rebellion due to the birds instinct to survive, and also aiding the rebellion forces at times carrying messages about).

          It soon becomes clear that threatening to kill Katniss's family is not working in keeping her toeing the line, so a new threat arrises, in the form of a champions hunger games, which equates as any champion that has won in the past will again have their names drawn to compete again (horrible enough reading about childrens instinst to survive, try reading about an 80 year fighting against kids!).

          Will Katniss survive the unthinkable twice, or will the rebels have other ideas?

          Again this book was sensational!

          After reading the first book and being so impressed, when i got to the part in the second book where another hunger games is announced i was worried that it would be more of the same, but the book very cleverly turned the entire event onto it's head, with characters dying that shock you, and events unfolding that i honestly didn't see coming, it keeps the story fresh and exctiting, which is what it was from beggining to end.

          Again this book is aimed at the younger reader, and i do still feel that it would be better suited to the slightly older child (probably 12-13 onwards), as there is still a fair amount of violence in it, but i did enjoy the explanation of how the world became what it is supposed to be in the near future, and just how they will have to fight to survive it and even conquor it.

          I really found this book easy to read, and completely addictive, with me having started the third and last book in the series (i REALLY need to find out what happens!), reccomended!

          Price wise this was purchased as part of a three book set (which is the whole series), for £5.00 from - www.thebookpeople.co.uk and is also available from www.asda.com for a little more.

          Thanks for reading x

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            17.12.2012 08:17

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            The 2nd book, explores the building of unrest in Panem.

            Catching Fire is another page turner from Suzanne Collins. I wanted to wait a while before buying the second part of this trilogy but somehow that didn't work out. I then decided that this time I would take my time, savouring the story more than I did in The Hunger Games. I didn't want to suffer the lack of sleep from reading too long into the night or lying awake pondering the situations in the book. That too, did not work. I again found myself unable to put the book down and it was finished within 2 days.

            The book was broken down into three parts and although the middle section is again a story of the actual games, this book explores the various districts and the Capitol in more detail, filling out many of the missing pieces for the reader. There is plenty of action and suspense as well as a deeper look at the emotional connections between the characters. We get to meet President Snow in a more personal way and sense his warped view of reality and power.

            The ending of this book really made me want to read the final book as soon as possible. I love this trilogy and recommend it to readers of all ages from about 13 or 14. Although, I would want to be careful to keep tabs on younger or more sensitive readers. This is the type of book that is perfect for discussions between parents and children or other adults.

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            15.11.2012 16:50
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            A classic in the making

            Catching the Fire is the second book in the Hunger games trilogy written by Stephanie Collins, the books are aimed at young adults set in a dystopian world.
            The hunger games introduces us to Katniss Evergreen who lives in District 12, a district controlled by Panem a police state run by President Snow. Every year there is a hunger games; where 2 tributes are chosen from each district who fight to the death in a televised extravaganza, last year Katniss and her colleague Peeta play the star crossed line and both manage to survive the games.

            Catching the fire continues the story of Katniss and Peeta after the games; there actions in the games have sparked rebellions in the districts and the rulers hate Katniss for her actions. Under the pretext of the 75th anniversary of the first Hunger games they announce a champion of champion's version where winners from previous years are picked to fight it out all over again. District 12 is a district which has generated only 3 winners in the history of the games and Katniss is the only female winner so we enter a new Hunger games with Peeta once again. This is all explained in the sleeve of the book so I'm not really giving anything away but the mood of the book is much darker than the previous novel.

            Dystopian literature requires the reader to compare the world of the heroine to their own world, the best versions are often those close to own but with a sinister twist, after all 1984 isn't that far from an oppressive Eastern bloc regime. In this world, we are supposed to sympathise with the downtrodden peasants of the Districts and not the genetically altered strange world of the ruling elite. In this world, we have the oppressed peasants controlled ruthlessly by the PeaceKeepers, once again showing literatures ability to twist a good term into a bad one like the Ministry for Truth in 1984. So here the PeaceKeepers are a type of Nazi SS team, any insurrections are ruthlessly suppressed, and one of the most shocking scenes was the shooting of a protestor during the victory tour. Remember this is a book aimed and read by young adults but features scenes of brutality, oppression, murder and violence.

            This book continues the momentum of the first, we have superb fight scenes, everything is well defined and the world of Katniss is clearly portrayed. There are sexual references but nothing overt but the violence is extreme at times, the true villain is revealed in this novel and there are countless plot twists. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, everything moves along at a decent rate without being too fast to hide huge plot holes. Everything is set for the finale, and I'm looking forward to going the whole way with Katniss.

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            11.08.2012 07:23
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            A book review of the catching fire novel

            The second I finished reading the first book of this trilogy, the hunger games, I couldn't get the story out of my head so I went ahead and got the second book, Catching Fire. In the three book, this is my favorite ( but still, I love reading all of them). Catching fire is very well written with deep emotions. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta's chemistry and relationship develops in this book which is why I enjoy it so much. As I read it, I got very emotional because the two main characters were fighting to keep each other alive no matter what happens. 
            For the first half book, it is about how they are copping in the Victors Village and the tour after the hunger games. It also three a surprise for the readers when the Capitol announce the participant for the next hunger game will be chosen within the pool of previous victors. 
            For the next half of the book, we see how Peeta and Katniss go through this hardship together. It also shows development of a new character called Finnick. 
            Overall, this book is something no one should ever miss because it is by far the best story I have ever read.

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            10.08.2012 22:07
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            Another great book from the Hunger Games trilogy

            I recently wrote a review of the first book of the Hunger Games Trilogy and I couldn't recommend it highly enough. So, after finishing the first rather quickly, I launched straight into the second book in the trilogy: Catching Fire, the title based around the concept that Katniss Everdeen, the girl who survived the first Hunger Games is the fire, that is now causing havoc in the Capitol.

            When I first started this book, I somewhat expected it to be a let down, given how good the first one was. I expected it to drag, and to lose my attention quicker, but instead I found I couldn't put this one down either, and every spare second I had, usually when my daughter was sleeping, I had my head in this book. The author Susanne Collins continues with her terrific, readable writing style.

            The second book continues on from where the first book left off - Katniss Everdeen, a 17 year old girl alongside her partner in the games Peeta are fresh from winning the Hunger Games together - something that has never been done before, and instead of being celebrated, it has created new problems for the Capitol and in particular President Snow, who even makes a visit to Katniss to warn her of the implications of her actions. THere are rumours circulating of an uprising against the power of the Capitol from the districts that surround it. The rumours of an uprising, although positive news to most people in the districts, the Capitol are determined to clamp down and make life even more difficult for those living in the 12 districts outside of the Capitol. Katniss, alongside her family, her best friend Gale and Peeta all live in District 12, where things may have been tough in terms of getting enough food, but they have been fairly relaxed in terms of the Capitol Peacekeepers that are in charge of District 12. That all changes however when rumours of the uprising begin, and Katniss and her friends and family begin to see a very different District 12, one that is harsh, strict and dangerous to live in.

            THere is worse to come for Katniss however. The annual Hunger Games where each district must select a boy and girl tribute to take part where only one can (usually) survive, is celebrating its 75th year since a previous uprising that was overcome. In a bid to make life worse, this celebratory year of the Hunger Games demands, according to President Snow a boy and girl tribute from each district but from those who have already won a games. THat means that young and old can end up competing against each other - which is exactly what happens and Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the games arena, knowing that this time, there really can only be one winner.

            I was really interested to read how Katniss could possibly survive another games, as it seemed too good to be true and a bit improbably to be honest. As the book continued, I really felt it allowed the reader more access to both Katniss and Peeta, and even though I was always hoping Katniss would stick with Gale, I find myself warming to Peeta, who sometimes can seem too nice and too unselfish to be true. Katniss' character shines in this book - her kindness alongside her innocence at times, though she is still tough, even after all she has been through, acting much more than her 17 years.

            I also wondered if I would find another round of the games boring, but I didn't, as it was totally different from the very beginning - more alliances for instance. Even as I read I couldn't quite predict what was going to happen or what exactly was going on in terms of the alliances formed, but that was all cleared up near the end of the book, rather abruptly though.

            All in all, if you enjoyed the first book in this Hunger Games Trilogy, I am sure you will enjoy this one, as in my opinion, it is as good as the first. It had me totally hooked, and now I can't wait to keep reading the third and final one...only what will I do when I finish that!

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              04.07.2012 15:15
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              A good book!

              When I saw the film trailer for The Hunger Games it was enough to grab my attention and to make me decide to purchase The Hunger Games books written by Suzanne Collins. There are three books and the second in the trilogy is called Catching Fire and will be the focus of my review today.

              Catching Fire is, as I mentioned, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy and it picks up on the lives of Katniss and Peeta as they adjust back to life in District 12 after The Hunger Games and begin to prepare for their victors tour of the other eleven Districts in Panem as winners of the games. What Katniss is relatively unaware of initially is the fact that her spur of the moment pact with Peeta at the end of The Hunger Games has been seen as an act of defiance against the Capitol by some District member and a potential uprising is in the air. This leaves President Snow looking for some solution to stop the rebels and he will literally stoop to anything to try to keep the control over the Districts of Panem. I don't want to go any further in to what happens in the book as I feel it may spoil the plot should you wish to read it!

              I have to say that it did take me quite a while to get in to Catching Fire. I read it after reading the fifty shades of Grey trilogy which completely sucked me in and left me wanting more and so I think potentially this influenced how tricky I found it to initially feel absorbed when reading Catching Fire. I do have to say though that I do think that the book started quite slowly. The first half of the book focuses on life back at home and is taken at quite a slow pace where as the second half of the book is much more exciting and left me wanting to carry on reading and know what would happen next. I would go as far as to say that the second half of the book felt a little rushed in comparison to the first half and I personally would have liked to have read more of the gripping story in the second half.

              Throughout the book you can tell there is a feeling of solidarity be it with Katniss and Peeta or Gale but also on a larger scale as people see Katniss as a symbol of hope that their lives may become better if they could break free from the control of the Capitol. Whilst you can pick up on this the author does an excellent job of making you realise how very easily this solidarity could fall apart with some manipulation from the Capitol which is shown in various examples in the book. There is often an uneasy, almost expecting tone throughout the book as Katniss realises how her actions can and probably will reflect back on to innocent people and those that she loves. It is interesting to read Katniss battle with these feelings as to what is best with regards to protecting those that she loves.

              The author allows her characters to develop on this book and I think I really began to see Katniss as a real person who I could empathise with. Obviously she is left haunted and confused by her experience in The Hunger Games as anyone would be but what makes her seem more real is her conflicting feelings for Peeta who became her rock in the games and Gale who was her rock at home. We see her battle quite regularly with her feelings in this book and I don't think she knows what to do as she is scared of losing either of them. Various occurrences in the book cause Katniss to develop heightened feelings for both Peeta and Gale and I guess this makes her seem a more "real" seventeen year old girl than the tough, closed but also vulnerable hunter we met in the first book.

              I think Peeta is allowed to develop the most in Catching Fire and we see him develop a very strong protective nature. Peeta is very clever with worlds and I think potentially he could do more to cause an uprising that Katniss but together they are seen as the ultimate team. In this book you are left with no doubt at all that Peeta truly loves Katniss and that he would go as far as to sacrifice himself to save her. I feel this makes him very endearing to the reader and found that I was really rooting for him as I read the story and just willing Katniss to fall in love with him too.

              Another character I feel needs a mention is President Snow. We briefly met him in The Hunger Games and don't see a whole lot more of him in Catching Fire yet the author has done an excellent job of making it feel as though he is always watching and can step in at any moment and make life difficult and I think this adds quite a sinister feel at points.

              When I did get in to this book I really did enjoy it. The first couple of hundred pages I did find slow going for the most part but then suspense and action came to the fore front and really gripped me. I would say that you probably need to read the first book in the trilogy before this one to get a real feel of why characters are the way they are and such like but I would recommend this book and would say persevere if you find it slow going to begin with. The book is well written and I read it in a week and only tend to read some nights in bed and so it isn't going to take over too much of your time should you wish to read it. The book is currently selling on amazon for £3.59 and I feel it is well worth this price.

              Thank you for reading my review!

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