Welcome! Log in or Register

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

  • image
£4.16 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk See more offers
15 Reviews

Author: Suzanne Collins / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 July 2009 / Genre: Children's Science Fiction / Publisher: Scholastic / Title: Catching Fire / ISBN 13: 9781407109367 / ISBN 10: 1407109367

  • Sort by:

    * Prices may differ from that shown

  • Write a review >
    How do you rate the product overall? Rate it out of five by clicking on one of the hearts.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Use up to 10 bullet points.
    Write your reviews in your own words. 250 to 500 words
    Number of words:
    Write a concise and readable conclusion. The conclusion is also the title of the review.
    Number of words:
    Write your email adress here Write your email adress

    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    15 Reviews
    Sort by:
    • More +
      23.04.2013 18:17
      Very helpful
      (Rating)
      3 Comments

      Advantages

      Disadvantages

      The second installment of The Hunger Games trilogy: Alright, but could be better

      ===Fire starter===

      I had just finished reading The Hunger Games. The ending left me curious about what was going to happen. Not enough had been tied up, new stories had begun and although I deemed the book to be just a bit of fluff it had gently prodded my interest and I wanted to know more. Knowing that this was a trilogy, instantly I knew there was more to be had so naturally the next step was to pick up the next instalment Catching Fire.

      Obviously since this is the second book in the trilogy, there may be a mild spoiler or two, but I'll try to keep it to stuff that you'd probably figured out already if I have to give anything away.

      ===Collins Continues===

      Suzanne Collins has had a busy life before being an author. Her father was in the US Air force so her childhood was spent flitting from base to base as a lot of military kids do. She worked on writing a good few kids programmes, the one that stands out in my mind being Clarissa Explains It All which is somewhat of a classic for me. Collins currently lives in the town of Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

      ===Wallets and Pennies===

      If you are a frugal reader then you probably own a kindle just because mostly you get a good deal on books. At the time of writing, however, you are actually getting a better deal buying the whole set of books in paperback. That would set you back £7 all together. On the kindle each book is coming in around £3.49 meaning you'd be £10.47 for all three on the kindle and not even have anything papery and awesome to hold. Buying the paperback versions separately will set you back even more coming in at £7 ish each. Moral of the story is: Go for the trilogy in paperback.

      ===The story so far===

      The planet has changed. There is one great country called Panem. The Capitol is in control, served by twelve down-trodden districts that it rules over with an iron fist. 75 years ago district 13 tried to rebel and was raised to the ground for their insolence. Since then as a reminder of The Capitols power and as punishment for the rebellion started by 13, every district must supply two children, one male, one female, chosen by lottery, to compete in The Hunger Games: A televised event held in an arena full of unthinkable danger where the districts children (known as Tributes) must fight to the death with only one survivor. The districts must watch, powerless to do anything. Those in The Capitol, living an extravagant lifestyle watch on as entertainment.

      Katniss Everdeen lived in the coal-mining district 12 and was chosen to compete in last years games. With the help of her mentors managed to manipulate the viewers in The Capitol into believing she had fallen madly in love with her fellow district 12 tribute Peeta and forced their hand into changing the rules, much to the embarrassment of those in charge. She returns home triumphant but knowing that every move she makes from this point will be watched by the evil eyes of The Capitol.

      ===Set fire to the Rain===

      Catching Fire starts off a few months after Katniss's return to District 12 with a heavy, claustrophobic feeling hanging around her. She is being watched. She is worried that her behaviour in the arena has stirred trouble in the Districts but she has no way of knowing for certain. This book is where the story starts to grow up a little bit. But not much. We begin with her preparations for her compulsory "victory tour" of the districts, another device used by The Capitol to keep the fear fresh in the minds of those in the Districts. She has been moved to a purpose built village that each District keeps for the victors of the games and the starving residents of District 12 are now receiving food packages as a reward for Katniss's victory.

      The first real hint that something has went badly wrong is when she gets a visit from President Snow, threatening her family if she doesn't manage to contain the fire she has started burning with her actions in the arena. You can really feel the tremendous pressure on her throughout this book to please the masses even though you get the impression she wants the rebellion to go ahead. We also start to learn a bit more of the history of what happened in District 13 and start questioning it all. Was this just an excuse for The Capitol to exert their power? Are they really gone? Is there life outside Panem?

      Finally we start to see a slightly softer side to some of the characters from The Capitol and you start to get the feeling that they really didn't understand the full horror of the games until Katniss made them care about her plight in the arena., almost like they can't all be blamed for not questioning the indoctrination they have lived with. Yes, they had it easy, but it's almost as if they weren't quite aware of how bad the Districts had it thanks to the completely separate lives they are all forced to live.

      Katniss still doesn't come across as a whole and fully formed character. She seems a bit empty at times, whereas other times she is full of courage and compassion. Her tour of the Districts starts to bring her character out a bit better, especially when she accidentally sparks a public show of unity and respect to her in one of the districts.

      This is the first time the real danger and iron fist of the Capitol really shines through, when people start getting shot in cold blood for a seemingly innocent, but decidedly organised action from the district in question. The fear really starts to ooze through the book. Eventually things deteriorate to the point where the evil President Snow attempts to quiet Katniss forever, making her a tribute in the 75th Hunger Games.

      ===Defiance===

      I have to admit that as soon as Katniss was chosen to go back into the games, my heart sunk. The story had begun to pick up and real fear and rebellion had started to flower. Katniss instantly gets whisked up into the same old routine of preparing for the games. A lot of stuff that happens leading up to the game is a bit of rehashing the first book.

      There is, however, an undercurrent of the rebellion going through the preparations. You know its happening, but you don't know how or where are you are confined to Katniss's little bubble. We do get to meet some new and interesting characters this time round, Finnick being one of my favourites probably because he is stunningly gorgeous and scantily clad with a wicked sense of humour at the best of times. There are a couple of brilliant moments where other characters step up and show defiance such as when her stylist decides to remind The Captiol who she is by turning her into a well known symbol of The Capitols failure.

      ===Hope against Hope===

      For the main part of the story I simply hoped that the rebellion would kick off before Katniss got sent into the games. Why? Partly because I really wanted the rebellion to happen, it has been simmering away and I wanted it full boil, right now. Mostly, though, because I couldn't stand the thought of yet more re-hashing of the first book. What follows actually serves to show just how deep the rebellion and plots go though some of it feels like a bit of a trudge it works quite well. By the time you reach the end, you are questioning everyone and everything. I was truly sucked in by this one.

      ===What I thought===

      Throughout this book I thought, as with the first, was skirting around some really great stuff. So many topics that could have been delved into much deeper were mostly brushed over for the sake of Katniss being a bit of an empty headed teenager with no clue how to deal with the situation she finds herself in. Even if the story was told from perspectives other than her own it would have allowed Collins to really explore human nature and create a fantastically ensnaring piece of literature. Obviously, though, this is for teenagers, so why should she? Sigh. Don't get me wrong, it was good enough, it just wasn't half as good as she could have made it with a bit more effort. A lot of the more poignant moments in the book tended to just feel flat and unmoving or were just breezed through instead of really hitting you where it hurt the most.

      ===The Verdict===

      Better than the first book, but still not quite what I wanted to see from Collins. It told me more of the story of Panem and still tickled and prodded my interest-nodes but ultimately ended up in the "beh-it-was-alright" pile. I will say that the ending got me quite excited to see what would happen in the next book but it wasn't anywhere near the hype that I had heard. Katniss's fickle nature and lack of commitment to anything still annoy the hell out of me, but she has slowly started to grow on me like a small fungus. As a stand alone book I'd give it three stars, but since it does actually build the story and kept me interested enough to want to read the third instalment (Mockingjay) I feel it's only fair to award this one four out of five stars. I did actually enjoy it and as a whole the trilogy is a good read, just not as good as it could be.

      Comments

      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        01.01.2013 18:18
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        2 Comments

        Advantages

        Disadvantages

        Another Great Read

        Introduction:-

        As mentioned in a previous review on the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy, I was fortunate enough to pick up the complete set of three books for just £10. Once I had finished the first book I couldn't wait to get started on the second book - The Hunger Games - Catching Fire. The cliff hanger ending of the first which leaves all of the main characters stories with a very open ending and lots of questions as to what may happen next makes a great starting point for this second book.

        Just as a word of warning there will be a few spoilers contained within this review if you haven't yet read the first Hunger Games book but I will try not to give away more than necessary of the plot and story of the second book for those that will read on from here. If you haven't yet partook in the delight that is reading the Hunger Games then I suggest checking out my Hunger Games review of the first book in the series to see if this is up your street before spoiling the ending by reading this review of the second book.

        The Plot:-

        Following on directly from where the first book left off Catching Fire begins after the wealthy controlling Capitol have made an unprecedented decision to allow more than one of the tributes from the 12 Districts who competed in the previous Hunger Games to survive rather than sticking to their usual last man standing rule. It just so happens that it is both of the tributes from District 12 who are also the main characters that survived the 74th Hunger Games which took place in the previous book. Catching Fire continues to follow Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark through another action packed and twist filled plot.

        The previous Hunger Games left the districts surrounding the Capitol with more than a hint of rebellion with an uprising threatening due to the outcome of the previous years Hunger Games, being the only year ever that more than one person has survived. It is now up to the unwitting catalyst to these rebellious undertones Katniss Everdeen to prove to President Snow that the result of the 74th Hunger Games was a result of her love of her love for Peeta rather than an act of rebellion against the Capitol.

        Katniss is first expected to do this whilst on the victory parade of the last Hunger Games but when this doesn't go to plan both herself and Peeta are chosen again to compete in the Hunger Games, only this is to be no ordinary hunger games. This is the 75th annual Hunger Games also known as a Quarter-Quell so is going to be bigger and better than the Hunger Games that have past just to make sure the point isn't missed in the 12 districts that the Capitol is ultimately in control.

        When I first started to read the book I did have the nagging question of how different could this book actually be from the first when this story was seemingly going to follow the same sort of line. In many respects the similarity in the story line is present much of the way through but is more a feeling of comfortable familiarity than repetitiveness which actually adds to the quality of the story. This question was however pushed to the back of my mind once the 75th Hunger Games actually started to get under way, and it was plain to see that it was going to be different from the right from the start when the Capitol selected the tributes to compete from each district.

        Despite following the same basic set of rules as the last Hunger Games the twists, turns, and vivid descriptions of what's actually going in are enough to keep Catching Fire fresh and original enough without moving out of the readers comfort zone by introducing an over-sized character cast or going off on any tangents. There are new characters that appear in this book along with the survivors from the first book but once again these do not over-complicate the story or get in the way of the general enjoyment of the book.

        As with the first book in the series not a lot in Catching Fire is as it seems at first glance which leaves space for plenty of twists and turns in Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mallark's attempts to try and survive the Hunger Games for a second time. The main storyline here is what will happen to Katniss and Peeta and if they will be able to convince the Districts of their love for each other, and who if either of them will make it through the Quarter Quell.


        My Opinion:-

        In my opinion Suzanne Collins has done an excellent job with this sequel of The Hunger Games and it really does feel as though I haven't actually switched books rather just turned a page and continued reading the original. This makes it a really easy read to get into and means there is little if no build up to the plot getting into full flow.

        The characters that didn't get much coverage in the last book are expanded upon really well here creating some excellent character profiles leaving the reader feeling in touch and almost as if they know the characters as real people, which I feel is a talent for an author to allow the reader to get lost to this depth in one of their books. There are also a lot of new characters that show up but again seem to be given just the right amount of attention, so as not to detract from the main plot or divert too much attention from the main characters.

        As mentioned in my previous Hunger Games review I feel that for a title that is aimed at mainly the teen and young adult market, it crosses well into the adult reading market just like the Harry Potter series of books, which seem to keep older adult readers just as entertained as the massive following of younger readers picking these books up.


        In Conclusion:-

        In conclusion I would say that Catching Fire compliments the original Hunger Games in every way that it possibly can, whilst also doing a wonderful job of building up the suspense, all of the way from the start to a bigger cliff hanger ending than the first leaving the story and the reader in a perfect place for the last book in the trilogy. This book answers a lot of questions that were left unanswered in the previous title however there are plenty of new questions and possible plot-lines to keep the reader interested in the final book.

        This could be read as a stand alone book but I feel that in quite a few parts meanings may be lost on the reader despite Suzanne Collins best efforts to summarize important events and characters from the original book. I would definitely recommend this book either alone or as part of the trilogy, but would strongly suggest that this trilogy is best read in order as the later titles will spoil the previous ones.

        Once again as you may already have guessed I think that Suzanne Collins has done a brilliant job with the Hunger Games and will be getting another maximum of 5/5 stars from me with this brilliant effort at Catching Fire the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy.


        (Also on Ciao under username MrGump)

        Comments

        Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          18.08.2012 15:41
          Very helpful
          (Rating)

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          A great middle book but not as good as the first, and hopefully not as good as the third

          This is the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I thought the first book was brilliant and read it really quickly. It does leave you feeling there is more to come but if you didn't read anymore then it would stand well alone. This book is definately a middle book. It carries on from the first book but sets the scene for the third. I haven't read that one yet but if it isn't amazing i will be disappointed and wish i had stopped at one.

          Katniss and Peeta are home after their victory at the Hunger Games and visit all the districts for their glory tour. It is apparent from a visit from the president that her defiance against the capitol was not unnoticed and has caused some stirrings amoung the people. It is up to her to prove to them that she did it out of pure true love rather than defiance to stopped the unrest that seems to be brewing. Her failure to do so and the consequences are made clear when she has to go back into the arena to fight for her life once more.

          If you haven't read the first book then don't bother reading this one because it doesn't read as a story alone. It carries on from the first and seems to be setting the scene to the third. It is still a very good book and i enjoyed it. It does seem a little scary in places for a junior book and am not sure at what age i would be happy to let my children read it but i may just be a whimp that gets to emotionally involved with the characters. But that does prove that it is well written as otherwise i wouldn't feel like i know them and be upset when things happen!

          Overall a very good book and it doesn't end....you have to read the next one. Which i am off to do!

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
        • More +
          28.07.2012 20:46
          Very helpful
          (Rating)
          1 Comment

          Advantages

          Disadvantages

          If you liked the Hunger Games, you need to read this!

          This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy and I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so I will say that if you want to read this trilogy but have not read the first book, maybe you should look away now because this review will inevitably give away some of the things which happened in book one.

          === The Hunger Games Trilogy ===

          The Hunger Games is a trilogy by Suzanne Collins which can be classified as literature for "young adults" but can definitely be enjoyed by older people too. Don't be put off by the young adult tag, as these books are gripping, well written and deal with big, important themes like power, justice, love and friendship. It is not just trivial nonsense for teenagers! The trilogy plays out in a dystopian world of the near future where a rebellion years earlier has caused the regime to instigate a shocking annual game show - The Hunger Games, where the participants must fight to the death until one remains - so that the people never forget that it is the Capitol which has the power.

          === Book Two: Catching Fire ===

          At the end of Book One: The Hunger Games, we saw Katniss and Peeta change the game as they were both allowed to survive. Katniss had the idea that they should both eat poisoned berries, to undermine the games, as the Capitol would be faced with a choice between letting the two of them survive, or having a Hunger Games with no victor. The Capitol chose the latter, but this act of rebellion meant there would be trouble for Katniss.

          She is back in district 12, living a different standard of life as a victor when we start Catching Fire. It is interesting to see some of her uncertainty about the two men in her life - Gale and Peeta - as she is not sure of her feelings towards either of them. She loves them both in different ways and doesn't want to hurt anyone, but as both have made their romantic feelings for her clear, she knows she is never going to be able to please them both.

          Since returning as victor from the games, Katniss has become an iconic figure and her little trick with the berries has been interpreted as rebellion by people in some of the districts, although in the Capitol it has been taken as the desperate act of a girl trying to save the love of her life, Peeta. On the Victor's tour, Katniss gets her eyes opened about life in some of the other districts and sees that there is some unrest. I liked the way that we were shown a wider range of lifestyles in the different districts, allowing us a greater insight into Panem than in the previous book, where we mainly just saw district 12, the Capitol and the Arena where the Games take place.

          In Catching Fire, it is the 75th Hunger Games, which means it is a "Quarter Quell". Every 25th year, the Games organisers do something even more and extreme and more shocking in order to intensify the reminder that rebels will never be stronger than the Capitol. This year, the tributes (game participants) will be picked from each district's pool of surviving Hunger Games victors! I did see something like this coming, as I had a feeling that Katniss and Peeta may have to take part in another Games. However I did still feel a bit shocked when I read it, as Suzanne Collins does such a good job of making the reader identify with Katniss, as she did not have a clue that this was coming.

          Even though we see a full Hunger Games play out in book one, the fact that we experience a second Games in book two does not make the story repetitive. This second games is very different, as the dynamic has changed due to all the participants being previous victors, meaning many of them know each other, they have a wider range of ages and experience. The alliances and tactics at play are more complex. Katniss and Peeta feel they have more at stake, as they have seen the regimes in their home district become stricter and Katniss has been threatened that if she tries anything again, her family will be killed. I was gripped by this second games, and again the relationship between Katniss and Peeta is explored and develops further.

          This Games has quite a surprising twist to it and the book ends quite abruptly, clearly leading into the final book of the trilogy, Mockingjay. I am glad I have bought the whole trilogy now as I will start reading Mockingjay straight away this evening!

          Catching Fire is an extremely readable page turner. Book one already set the scene, so Catching Fire was able to go straight into more character development and further exploration of the regime in Panem without having to spend time building up this world for the reader first of all. It has 472 pages so is a fairly lengthy book but, as with The Hunger Games, I read this within an afternoon.

          In my review of the first book I mentioned the similarities with the Japanese novel and film, Battle Royale. The sequel film, Battle Royale 2, was pretty rubbish, so here is another difference between the two versions of these "fight to the death gameshow" scenarios, as Catching Fire is by no means a weak sequel.

          Thoroughly recommended.

          Comments

          Login or register to add comments
          • More +
            10.07.2012 12:07
            Very helpful
            (Rating)
            15 Comments

            Advantages

            Disadvantages

            Suzanne tells a good story

            Hunger Games - Book 2 - Catching Fire

            Why read this one?
            Having recently enjoyed the first book in the trilogy I had to read this one - I was desperate to know what was going to develop next for Katniss, Peeta and Gale. The books are on offer at lots of retailers at present and I ordered from Amazon for £3.49 brand new. Bargain.

            Short synopsis...
            Having endured the reality TV death trial, The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to apocalyptic District 12, their home. Now that they are victors they will live with their family in victors housing - much different from the struggle for life that they had prior to the games. It will soon be clear that all is not well for Katniss - somehow she has undermined the authority of President Snow and he is far from happy. This man can make her life a living hell if he has a mind to - or hurt those that she loves. Rules are changing in District 12 as ruthless Peacekeepers are installed and soon inflict cruel punishments on residents. News of uprising in other Districts causes ripples of rebellion and the Capitol means to stop it in its tracks - as it did all those years ago with District 13 which no longer exists - or does it? A cruel twist at the anniversary of the games means that previous victors will enter the arena again. A decision that is unpopular with the population of all districts and many in the Capitol who have grown to love them. As Katniss is the only female victor in District 12 she is a competitor but who will join her? Haymitch or Peeta?

            Let the games begin....again....
            Katniss is already worthy of my affection after her performance in the last games. The way her personality developed and the choices that she made endeared her to me and I empathised with her. This time around she is not much older but is living with the horrors of the experience and attempting to adapt to a new way of living. I like the beginning chapter of the book which gives more insight into the effects that competing in the games has psychologically. Her relationship with Peeta is cool, though I can still pick up on the feelings that they have for each other. For the cameras they are loves young dream but off camera they are barely tolerating each other. I enjoy getting to know Peeta more as his traits and personality get more coverage - I understand his motives and have respect for his selflessness. His love for Katniss is difficult to miss and influences his decisions. Haymitch, too, will become more rounded during the course of the prose - I get plenty of 'aha' moments when I discover what has happened in previous games that he was a participant in. He is drunk whenever he can be and can be abusive towards Katniss - but he is one of her most tenacious protectors - I want to know why?

            After a visit from President Snow - who was snake like and smelt of roses and blood - I'm left wondering why his breath smells of blood. Maybe all will be revealed in this book - or maybe the next? All the same I'm intrigued by that snippet. He is a cruel, cold hearted man and in my mind's eye I have a clear image of what he looks like - it's not pleasant. He makes a great villain for this prose. He has a plan to get without Katniss and she understands that loud and clear without him needing to express it verbally. It's coming but it will have to be done in the right way so as not to cause suspicion. Either way, she must die and the sooner the better it seems.

            I was wondering what Suzanne Collins could possibly throw in to the tale that would not be too much like the first novel. I didn't know what to expect really but was surprised and fascinated by the twist that she came up with. Katniss must enter the arena again as one of the victors on this special anniversary games. I guessed that Peeta would be volunteering himself as he wants to protect her, which meant that Haymitch would be mentor and outside protector, once again. The format of preparation is the same but was approached differently so that it held my interest and the age range of victors and interaction with each other was most interesting. The difference with these competitors is that they already have killer instincts, capability and skills and they know that their opponents are aware of their special skills - this was intriguing. How would they play the game now - no surprises, it had to be a mental strategy and one of those was to make friends and allies. This was an entirely different game and the 'girl on fire' (Katniss) would have her work cut out.

            The pace quickens once the victors are placed in the arena, I could feel the tension, unease, confusion and fear as Katniss eyed the new environment and contestants - who is her enemy? Haymitch advised her to think on that ... Know your enemy! Sure enough there is a frantic scuffle and bloodshed in the first hours as clans are formed and loners run for their lives. I am surprised by the outcome of the first few hours but relieved to see that Katniss and Peeta have survived. This arena is completely different from the one that Katniss was in last time. Everything is alien to her. There is more to it than meets the eye and for the sake of their lives they are going to have to work it out .... Quickly! The Gamemakers have excelled with this arena and the viewers will have plenty of thrills to come.

            Is Katniss alone? Is she with Peeta or have they teamed up for this one - if they have how will they be able to kill a friend? Will Gale be able to forgive her for her 'love struck' performance with Peeta? Will Katniss grow to love Peeta for real? Can she save him? Can he save her? Will they both survive? So many questions that I want answers to, this book had me in suspense and I couldn't put it down.

            The love triangle theme that is developing is most interesting but also provides insight into the minds and hearts of two young men who love 'the girl on fire' Katniss and will do anything to protect her - they are prepared to die for her and even work together to keep her safe. This has been done before in other books, movies and series on TV but still Suzanne has made it feel fresh and interesting in this prose - I care about all three of them, how can there be a happy outcome? I want to know.

            I enjoyed discovering this new land and its limitations, dangers and puzzles. From the description I had a good idea of what the elements where like in this dangerous location. Suzanne had my interest and the pages turned very quickly. I liked the developments, that were hinted at in the last book and early on in this book, which bring a new dimension and whole lot of possibilities to the continuing tale. The books, so far, have linked together very well and I am eager to continue.

            The ending of this book is fast paced and dramatic - it brought something that I could have thought of as the signs where there when I think back - but I didn't! It surprised me and left me anticipating a great read for the final book of the trilogy - Mockingjay.

            Sourcing...
            Amazon
            WhSmith
            Tesco
            Waterstones
            Many more retailers and some have it on half price or two for £7.

            RRP...
            £7.99

            Star Rating...
            FIVE

            Recommended reading...
            If you have read the first in the trilogy, 'The Hunger Games', then yes - I can highly recommend. You will most likely be eager to discover what happens next and with this prose you have a treat waiting for you. I found it hard to put down, filled with suspense, once the games began and gained some background knowledge that makes the characters come to life even more. It was great to be back with Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch - the latter is really growing on me too. Gale is developed more in this part of the trilogy and that was really nice to get to know him a little better. The love triangle is intriguing, but the concept of the games and previous victors was fascinating and really held my attention. I couldn't put this down.

            Recommended by Stephen King - that was good enough for me. Suzanne knows how to tell a story, whilst keeping you in suspense. I am impressed.

            Published on Ciao
            ©Dawnymarie

            Comments

            Login or register to add comments
              More Comments
            • More +
              16.05.2012 00:33
              Very helpful
              (Rating)
              2 Comments

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Catching fire made me pause and catch my breath.

              Catching Fire is part two of a trilogy of books written by established author Suzanne Collins in the late 2000s, and recently made very popular since the first novel was made into a film.

              The book is set in a futuristic America, known as Panem. Life is not as we know it now, but the country is divided up into 12 districts, with the Capitol City ruling the country. The country is run by a President Snow, who lives in wealth, while the districts that provide all the goods and services for the country live in poverty.

              The highlight of the year is the annual TV reality show, the Hunger Games, where a male and female aged between 12 and 18 from each district is selected to take part in this barbaric fight to the death, where only one entrant can walk out a survivor.

              Book one saw the main character and narrator in the trilogy, Katniss Everdeen, volunteering to enter the fighting Arena instead of her beloved younger sister Prim. Whilst very much the Underdog, Katniss became quite popular with the population with her fair behaviour, and a love affair with her fellow contestant Peeta.

              This novel picks up a few months after the first one ended. Katniss is now living back in District 12, but life has very much changed for her from before she went into the Games. She now lives in a different house, and is wealthier than she ever imagined. Life is about to get complicated again for her when she is preparing to go on the Winner's tour of all the Districts. It is made very clear to her that she has been very defiant, and her behaviour has caused upset to the leaders. She must settle unrest in the country by maintaining her pretend relationship, otherwise her family and friends are in a lot of danger.

              The country is a country at unrest. Katniss and Peeta witness some things that they shouldn't have, and when they get back home, they find that the laid back attitude their district has had in the past to the rules of the country has changed. The Peacekeepers sent to maintain order are a threat on the horizon.

              Matters get really complicated for Katniss, as this particular year is an important one in the Hunger Games history, and as a special treat, it is decided that this year all entrants must be previous winners of the show, so she has to face her worst nightmare and go back into the Arena. She survived once, but the odds do not look good for her to do it again.

              This book had me just as engrossed from the start as book one in the trilogy did. If anything, I was more engrossed now being familiar with the setting and characters. The tension was pretty much a constant throughout the novel. Katniss is described as having bitten her finger nails to the bed, and you really do get a sense of the panic she is feeling at how the situation is getting out of her control and there is not a lot she can do about it.

              I felt sometimes the way her character was portrayed was very emotional, and this was in conflict a bit with the strong character that you know that she is. For example, fits of crying in a couple of points, when you know that even when her father died, she had to be strong for her family. I felt this was how she might have reacted here too. The 'relationship' dilemnas also seemed a little odd as she is a brusk character who doesn't have much time for anyone apart from her little sister. She's not the sort who leaves herself open to emotion after the hurt of losing her father. However, there is the element of you don't know how people will react when put in a pressure pot situation.

              I feel this book was just as strong as book one, if not perhaps a bit stronger because it was free to be mainly plot and suspence without the need for scene setting. The action starts pretty much instantly, and it ends in a manner where you know you pick the next one up, and it will start up again pretty much straight away chronologically and then continue to be dramatic.

              I love the way this is slightly futuristic, but also the people and the emotions are just the way that people act in present time. Although this is a young adult novel, the content is still quite violent in implication, although missing any raunch. The relationship between Peeta and Katniss is very PG, much in the same way as the relationship between Edward and Bella in Twilight. Lots of looks and kissing, but nothing more. However, I find reading this as an adult very refreshing and the author is skilled in moving the plot along without having to resort to using sex between the characters.

              The imagery used by the author is excellent, from her description of the costumes, to her creating empathy for the characters, and her description of the games. I am now itching to move onto book 3 in the series and find out the fate of the people of Panem.

              Comments

              Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                12.05.2012 20:25
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                A great sequel to the original, but ending is somewhat of a letdown.

                'Catching Fire' is the sequel to Suzanne Collins's popular bestseller (and now feature film) 'The Hunger Games' as the second of a trilogy. As someone who thoroughly enjoyed the first book I couldn't wait to dive into this instalment- but is this instalment as good?

                ==---Story---==

                In the previous book, both the main character Katniss Everdeen, as well as her friend and fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, have been victorious in The Hunger Games- a brutal televised battle to the death between children (known as 'tributes') for entertainment enforced by the governing regime. Several months on, the two of them have to do usual public celebrations as the official Hunger Games victors, but their unprecedented double victory has sparked controversy- and uprisings- around the country of Panem. As far as President Snow is concerned, the blame is mostly at Katniss's door, but as she struggles to save face over her duties to not incite further unrest, a new announcement is made regarding the next Hunger Games, since this year is a milestone, that will shock the country. The new tributes are to be picked from previous victors of the Games- meaning Katniss will most definitely be fighting for her life again.

                ==---Opinion---==

                I find 'Catching Fire' to be a worthy follow up book to the original. Collins writes with the same tension-filled narrative that kept me glued to every page and not wanting to turn away. She keeps you on your toes with cliffhangers and shocking moments aplenty; if you thought that actions in the first book stunned you, then there are very powerful moments that almost made me gasp aloud with how unexpected they crept into the narrative.

                Once again the characterization is brilliant, and we get some more development into secondary characters. We got a few moments of Katniss's best friend Gale in the first book, but here his views on the politics of Panem and his feelings for Katniss in general are developed further, almost to the point of conflict between them. Likewise, we learn more about previous Games and the former victors who are to be included in the upcoming one, each with their own personalities and possibly damaged psyches, and through Katniss's perspective I became quite attached to some of them even if they have to kill or be killed.

                So whilst the story is well-paced, my only gripe with 'Catching Fire' is the ending, which is a bit of a letdown. I say 'a bit' because it ends a shocking cliffhanger that did made me want to grab my copy of 'Mockingjay' (final book in the trilogy) to see what happens next, which of course is a plus. My problem was more with the conclusion in general; I won't spoil it for you, but I found it a bit anti-climatic and what happens in the last couple chapters was for me a bit too much to comprehend immediately. I certainly got the impression that the author ended it this way as a sign that the sequel is definitely coming, so it didn't have much a sense of closure as even the first book does (apparently, Suzanne Collins didn't plan 'The Hunger Games' on being a trilogy).

                ==---Overall---==

                'Catching Fire' is another great read by Suzanne Collins and has as brilliant, compelling storytelling as 'The Hunger Games' does. The ending is a bit of a drawback and I will be knocking off a star for that, but I would definitely read these first two books again and am ready to tackle the final book of the trilogy now!

                (Review also on Ciao under the username Anti_W)

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                05.04.2012 22:02
                Very helpful
                (Rating)

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                Peeta and Katniss face the Capitol together

                After watching the new film, The Hunger Games, my love for this series has been rekindled and I was eager to get back into reading the other books in the series. Faced with a stack load of revision I decided that this was going to be the holiday that I picked up a good book again. Not one that's on my English reading list, but some good old teenage fiction. It is fair to say that I was slightly distressed when 30 pages into reading this novel, the select button on my Kindle decided to stop functioning rendering it useless. I immediately ran for my laptop determined to keep reading this captivating novel and I haven't moved since. Six hours later, I have finally finished Catching Fire, my bum is completely numb from the lack of activity and my laptop has heated up so much I think it might just melt - but it was worth it.

                Catching Fire is the second instalment in The Hunger Games trilogy and picks up right where the first book left off. After Katniss and Peeta were both crowned victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games, there have been murmurs of rebellion in all twelve district of Panem and it's fair to say the Capitol is not happy. The whole point of the Hunger Games is to remind the twelve districts of the power of the Capitol and Katniss has seriously undermined their authority by threatening to commit suicide alongside her 'lover' Peeta at the end of the last Hunger Games. The Capitol had no choice but to let there be two victors that year or face having no victor at all but now Katniss and Peeta must bear the consequences. Katniss has become a Mockingjay, a symbol of rebellion for all those in Panem and the Capitol is determined to suppress this. With the 75th annual Hunger Games coming up, or the third Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games with a twist that comes about only once every 25 years, the Capitol's got a trick up it's sleeve to quiet the unrest in Panem, and it's a shocker.

                Whilst the first instalment of the series is predominantly a dystopia novel, there were some suggestions of a romance forming between Peeta and Katniss. This is explored much further in the second novel as the pair have to face the Capitol together. Whilst their relationship was all an act in order to survive in the arena (at least from Katniss' point of view), their lives are now forever intertwined by the Capitol. Personally, what I find most interesting about this series is the love triangle between Peeta, Gale and Katniss and since the first Hunger Games is over the focus moves onto this strand of the plot.

                As I mentioned before, I literally just sat down and read this book for six hours straight. That is how addictive it is. I was completely engrossed in the novel and was basically dead to the world until I finished it. This book is a real page turner that's really easy to read. The plot flows from page to page seamlessly so you don't even realise how much content you're going through. There were a lot of shocking moments for me during this novel that I, in no way shape or form, saw coming, which is refreshing after reading so many predictable teen novels. This book took hold of me from the moment I read the very first word and I was completely drawn into the world of Katniss Everdeen. There are some really beautiful and heart warming moments but also some which have you tearing your hair out or clasping your hand to your mouth in shock. This book made my heart pound like few books have done before it and is definitely one of the books at the top of my recommendations list. Whilst there are some elements that are similar to those of the first book, this book is still full of completely original ideas and it isn't in the least bit repetitive.

                Now that I've finished reading the book and it's review, I'm straight off to read the third and final instalment of the trilogy, despite the mountainous pile of revision I've got to get through. Yep, it's so good that A-Levels have been completely shoved to the back of my brain. If you haven't read the series or watched the film then you are seriously missing out on what's deemed to be the 'next Harry Potter and Twilight' and I highly recommend this book to boys and girls of all ages for a thoroughly gripping read.

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
              • More +
                20.03.2012 17:58
                Very helpful
                (Rating)
                1 Comment

                Advantages

                Disadvantages

                On to book three!

                This is a review of Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. This is a Young Adult (YA) fiction book. Published in September 2009, the book catches up with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta her male Hunger Games counterpart and on air fiancé as they prepare for the special 75th ceremony, the "Quarter Quell". Believing this year they will be mentoring the new tributes that will participate in the gruesome games, the couple wait for their trip to the Capitol with dread for only the winner gets to live in the Games.

                Mockingjay
                In the first book, Katniss wears her gold Mockingjay (bird) pin and it has become a fashion statement in the Capitol city but there are uprisings in some of the sectors and here, the Mockingjay is the symbol that the rebels use to identify each other.

                Catch up
                Sorry if I have lost you so far but I have reviewed book one as well so if you read that, a lot of the terms above are explained. The book is set in a dystopian future where the leaders use the threat of harming the people's children to keep everyone in line.

                Changes to Katniss' life
                In the second book, I hoped for better things for Katniss. Since being the victor of the 74th games her family enjoy living in the victor's village in sector 12 with more food and money than they know what to do with. Katniss catches up with her old best friend Gale (a boy) and hopes they can pick up where they left off but since the games things have shifted and neither of them can quite look each other in the eye. Gale is confused and jealous over her relationship with Peeta and Katniss herself just can decide which boy she likes best.

                Costumes
                The costumes in this book are mentioned in great detail, from Katniss's wedding dresses to her Hunger Games costumes and you can really picture the weight and type of fabric she is wearing. Sometimes this is important to understand the storyline but often it is down to her stylist, Cinna with his eye for detail and skill in selecting the right clothes to get support for Katniss from the general public. I can see how well this will transfer to film* as the detail in the clothing gives a promising start for the big screen.

                Punishment
                At the end of the first book, Katniss defies the Capitol and President Snow, live on broadcast and for this she must pay the price. She knows it's coming and just doesn't know how far they will go to teach her a lesson. She fears for her friends and family's lives, planning escape and refuge but it's a lot to ask people to flee to the unknown.

                The 75th Games
                Obviously the book centres around The Hunger Games, and each year the set presents a different challenge to the participants. This year is different as it's another Quarter and while Katniss can't remember the 50th Quarter as she wasn't alive, her mother is still mentally tormented from the thoughts of what happened that year.

                Grand Finale
                As this is book two of three, like you might expect, the book ends on a bit of a cliff hanger but I'm OK with that as I've got book three ready to read! I don't want to say a lot more as it will spoil it for the reader but if you love unusual, nail biting reads then this may be for you.

                My thoughts
                I loved book one and equally enjoyed reading book two. OK so there are a few 'get outs' in the book just when you think Katniss may die but that's all adding to the momentum of the book and really sets your heart racing. When I finished this book I had quite vivid dreams so it obviously affected me quite a lot. I can't wait to start on book three but I will wait a few days to let book two properly sink in and make me pace myself!
                Conclusion: A real page turner.

                *Hunger Games film is out March 2012

                Comments

                Login or register to add comments
                • More +
                  16.03.2012 17:05
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  If you get past the "Teen Fiction" tag, this is well worth reading! Far from predictable

                  I loved this book!

                  Having read the first book in the series I was eager to get cracking on the next.. and I wasnt disappointed. I would recommend reading the first book "The Hunger Games" first so that you are up-to-date with the story but to be honest this does work as a stand-alone novel in its own right too.

                  So the story:

                  Katniss lives in a world that is seperated into twelve Districts which are controlled by the ruling class, the Capitol". To ensure that all of those in the Districts submit to their will the Capitol forces each District to enendure a reaping each year, a ceremony where two representatives or Tributes are selected to take part in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is a contest where the winner is the last man standing... a fight to the death!

                  Having won the Hunger Games in the first book Katniss and Peeta should be living a bit of a charmed life. But it doesnt quite work out that way.

                  During a tour of the districts and an encounter with the head of the Capitol, President Snow, Katniss becomes aware that her life may be under threat. The districts are starting to rebel against the oppressive regime and the President blames Katniss for this after her act of rebellion in the Hunger Games which allowed both Peeta and her to live.

                  As the Capitol is clamping down on the rebels Katniss starts to plan her escape.. but then something changes her mind and she realises her only option is to stay and fight for herself and the people she cares about.

                  However, just as she is planning her next step the Capitol are one step ahead. This year is a Quarter Quell (a 25th anniversary of the Hunger Games) and as such the normal rules do not apply. In fact this year there are special rules meaning Katniss has to fight again and so does Peeta. This time only one of them can survive.

                  I dont want to tell you more without spoiling it, but I can tell you this really kept me on the edge of my seat. Although based in a very different society it isnt difficult to see how things such as this could happen.

                  You really do want to know what is next for the main protaganists. Will Katniss win in the Hunger Games? What will happen to Gale, her best friend? Is her mentor a help or a hindrance? Will the uprising be successful?

                  It is a teen fiction book, or that is its aim, and as such there is the almost compulsory love triangle. However, that is very sweet and not overblown. The main thrust of the story is about Katniss.

                  The best recommmendation I can give to you is that I start reading and didnt want to stop.. it is definteley one of those books where you keep thinking "Just one more chpater and then I'll go to sleep"!!

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                • More +
                  30.01.2012 01:00
                  Very helpful
                  (Rating)
                  1 Comment

                  Advantages

                  Disadvantages

                  Here we go again-

                  Another three days later and I finished the sequel to 'The Hunger Games'. I was so eager to find out what happens to Katniss and Peeta that I just couldn't wait and whizzed through this one- and again, left wanting more!

                  ~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
                  Back in District 12, Katniss and Peeta get ready for their victory tour around all the districts. Having defied the Capitol with her rebellious action during the games, she gets a visit from President Snow to warn her that uprisings may occur if she portrays herself in the wrong way. Confused about her feelings towards Gale/Peeta, she puts off dealing with it and during the tour returns to her role as the star-crossed lover of district 12.

                  But it is not enough. As several districts are already in uprising, President Snow manipulates this year's Quarter Quell (every 25th Hunger games) and all the districts have to send in a boy and a girl from the victor's pool. Peeta and Katniss once again enters the games they so despise, but this time, their competition, all being victors, ensures certain death.
                  ________________________________________


                  The first third of the book was rather slow and I found Katniss really annoying as she is so conflicted between Gale and Peeta. Despite all the information, hints and descriptions the book truly starts and hits up a notch when they reenter the games for a second time.

                  From here on, I just could not put down the book. The dynamic between Katniss and President Snow seems to be the focus and I very much enjoyed her rebellious actions during training, her interview- it was all just so beautiful and perfect.

                  The characters were also not very much developed. Katniss the same conflicted girl who really does not deserve Peeta and the other tributes die too quickly for us to really care.

                  The games themselves were however very rushed. I found Katniss to be clever just like the last book in weighing everything out and thinking of others' intentions but felt she was rather slow on the uptake. It was obvious that her allies in the games have a unified goal, which she just doesn't seem to every pick up on.

                  The arena in 'Catching Fire' is fantastic and is genius. I just wished they'd spent longer investigating and avoiding the perils it awaits. As the book climaxes, you're left with very few pages and I found myself quite confused at what exactly is happening and have to reread a few paragraphs again to pick up.

                  Whilst the sequel introduces a lot of different ideas, such as the existence of district 13, the uprisings, the potential rebellion, it doesn't develop it at all and is left as an idea, a loose end, waiting to be tied up in the third book. In this way, 'Catching Fire' is not quite complete, yet seems to bridge the gap between the first and last book.

                  As I said, a third of the book could've really been part of the first book as a cathartic ending but would've left it less of a cliffhanger, and this one could've ideally started with the announcement of the Quarter Quell rule of re-entering the Victors.

                  However, the book retains its allure with a very sharp ending which leave you desperate for more.

                  ~~~OVERALL~~~
                  Unfortunately, 'Catching Fire' doesn't feel entirely complete, but bridges the gap between 'The Hunger Games' and 'Mockingjay'. It is still beautifully written and highly addictive as the first book, but too many loose ends leaves it neither here nor there but I'm sure the third book will tie them all up. In this way, perhaps this trilogy should be seen as a continuous story- which would then be perfect.

                  Comments

                  Login or register to add comments
                  • More +
                    02.09.2011 00:36
                    Very helpful
                    (Rating)
                    2 Comments

                    Advantages

                    Disadvantages

                    A good second book

                    Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It was published on 7th September 2009 by Scholastic and the book is 480 pages long.

                    Plot
                    Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the brutal competition that is The Hunger Games. The problem with that is that only one person ever wins the games and Katniss and Peeta have thrown everything up in the air. All they want is a peaceful and happy future without stress for them and their families but President Snow has other ideas. Katniss and Peeta have to pay for showing him up and he plans to destroy everything that they have worked so hard for. On their victory tour of each district, the pair must convince everyone, especially President Snow, that they are actually in love or there will be consequences. Deadly consequences.

                    What I thought
                    After reading The Hunger Games, I wanted to wait a while before carrying on with the series. I had heard really mixed reviews about

                    Catching Fire brings back a whole host of old characters but also manages to throw in a lot of new and exciting ones at the same time. I loved watching favourites like Katniss, Peeta and Gale deal with the new characters and the situations they were put in. Each new character is fleshed out extremely well and I felt like I knew them just as well as the characters from the first book. Each character in this book, and the series, has something incredibly interesting about them from new villain President Snow to Katniss' mother. Although each character is completely different, you can see aspects of them that are so real that you cant help but connect with them.

                    Katniss, for me, was so real. After following her through an insane experience of The Hunger Games, you cannot help but feel sorry for the girl. Anyone who doesn't feel sorry for her at this point must be missing a heart. The thing about Katniss for me is that she is so real. She beats up on herself for things that have happened or are happening around her and can't help but feel like she is to blame for everything. Unlike other female characters in other books who do this, it never feels like Katniss is whinging about everything. Her complains are well justified and I could see why she feels the way she did. Getting to read the story from her point of view really makes it possible to understand everything that she is going through and how she reacts to everything.

                    Although the first half of the book seems to plod along at quite a slow pace, it was worth while. The first half of the book concentrates on the repercussions of Katniss and Peeta surviving the games together and what happens because of that outcome. In the first half of the book, we get to learn a lot more about the Capitol and how things work which was an aspect of the book that I loved. I really enjoyed getting to see a whole different side of the world that Collins created because we really didn't get to see too much of it in the first book. Another thing I was glad to see was how Katniss and Peeta's lives had changed since the games. I really liked being able to see the difference in quality of life between winners and those who were just regular citizens.

                    The thing that I was most glad to see in Catching Fire was the return of the games. I was wondering how Collins was going to keep the same kind of energy and suspense in this book after The Hunger Games had finished but she definitely surprised me. I wasn't expecting for there to be another round of the games at all and the way it was done was impeccable. There were so many twists and turns where the games were concerned and I was always wondering what would be thrown in to the arena next. This round of the games was so exciting and the tension was incredible. At times, I liked reading about this round of the games more than the original.

                    While I don't think that Catching Fire was as good as The Hunger Games, it was certainly a lot better than I had been told it would be. It did make me want to pick up Mockingjay straight away though so I was happy with how it ended. A great read.

                    Comments

                    Login or register to add comments
                    • More +
                      11.06.2011 22:22
                      Very helpful
                      (Rating)
                      2 Comments

                      Advantages

                      Disadvantages

                      The further adventures of Katniss

                      Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.
                      If you've already read book 1 you'll be familiar with Katniss, Peeta, and their fight for life.

                      This book picks up where the first left off with the winners of the Hunger Games trying to settle back into some sort of normal life but all is not well in the state of Panem. It appears the rulers of the Capitol are more than aware of Katniss' transgressions outside her own District, thinly veiled threats are made to her by The President himself as she is told to step in line and act more like the winner she is.

                      On their winners tour she and Peeta manage to unwittingly spark the embers of a budding revolution in another District and to punish both Katniss and Peeta a special announcement is made at the time of the Quarter Quell. This is a special Hunger Games held every 25 yrs, normally featuring double the amount of contests. Only this year being the 75th anniversary The President announces all the contestants will be selected from each districts former winners.

                      And yes, that means Katniss is forced to return into the combat zone only this time her opponants are all seasoned killers.
                      Along the seam of the tale of the "surprise" from The President is a second plot detailing how the revolution is starting in many other Districts and how some people are even leaving their own Districts to try and find safety in District 13, an area shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

                      I don't want to spoil the plot too much beyond that, suffice to say the characters are equally compelling with the new veteran contestants being introduced as well as the story of what lengths The President will go to to maintain the status quo.

                      As the second of three books sadly this does suffer from "Empire Strikes Back" Syndrome in that it neither has a real start or a real finish, both of which you might find deeply annoying. The plot it does deal with is well told and the new characters are well written and very interesting.

                      If you enjoyed the first book you'll enjoy this too. I finished it in less than 5 hours.

                      Comments

                      Login or register to add comments
                      • More +
                        23.02.2011 15:01
                        Very helpful
                        (Rating)
                        4 Comments

                        Advantages

                        Disadvantages

                        A must-read second book to The Hunger games trilogy

                        The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

                        The Hunger Games trilogy was certainly not a set of books I would have originally picked up if it was not for my friend really encouraging me to give them a try. I went to the library and rented all three books at once on my friend's recommendation and got down to reading that same day, and I found myself pleasantly surprised. Practically from the beginning of the first book, I found myself captivated with the story and characters and so was so glad to be able to continue straight on to the second in the trilogy; Catching Fire. (The third book in the trilogy in entitled; Mockingjay)

                        To read my review on the first in this trilogy, please see my review on The Hunger Games a couple of reviews back from this!

                        So, the question is, does this second book in the trilogy stand up to the anticipation from the first book?


                        ************************
                        THE HUNGER GAMES
                        ************************

                        "Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge"

                        In a dark vision of the near future, Katniss, a sixteen year old girl lives with her family in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what was once the United States, where she fights for food on a daily basis to ensure her family stay alive.

                        Long before, the districts had all waged a war on the Capitol and one district were wiped out as the others admitted defeat. As a result, the Capitol wanted to make sure that a rebellion like this would never happen again and so introduced The Hunger Games, a terrifying reality television show where twelve boys and twelve girls between the ages of twelve and eighteen are forced to take part. The terrain, the rules, the level of audience participation...all may change but one thing is for certain, it is a deathly game where in the arena, it is kill or be killed.

                        By surviving The 74th Hunger Games in the previous book, Katniss and Peeta seem to have unintentionally started the rebellion against the Capitol. As the time draws near for the Victors to take on the Victory tour around the districts, the stakes become even higher and Katniss is no longer sure that stopping the rebellion is the right thing to do, yet before she is able to make a decision, her life is once again thrown towards deaths door as a change in the Hunger Games is announced which means that Katniss and Peeta have to go to extreme lengths to prove that they are truly in love, something which is certainly not going to be an easy task, though if they can not succeed then it is not only their lives which are in danger.

                        This is certainly one set of books in which you do not want to read spoilers, and I will attempt to give you as much detail; as I can without ruining it for you.


                        The second book begins pretty much where The Hunger Games left off, and so is like reading the same book, though in a lot of ways you are reminded that this is a new part of the story, both in storyline as well as writing style. Like with the first book, this book begins very slowly, a trait in which I can see putting many people off, though if you are reading this book then you would have already got used to this fact from the first. It does work out quite well, though, with the slowness of the story to begin with as it mirrors the feel of the situation and compares perfectly to the action and fastness felt later on in the story, as it did in its predecessor.

                        Now, with the title of 'The Hunger Games', you would be forgiven if you thought the same as I did originally; that it was a story full of blood and gore in a full on battle scenario which lacked story and had little more than cardboard characters. I am extremely happy to announce, though, that this idea is completely wrong. Yes, there are a lot of battles and certainly a lot of imaginative deaths which, at a lot of points, are very dark and shocking, though these are performed perfectly. Each death, each battle...they all have a meaning and are well placed within the storyline. They come across in the main, very powerful moments, and this is due to the strong characters and nearly flawless story found within the pages.

                        Like with the first, Catching Fire is spread through three specifically laid out parts of the book, though this time the parts do seem to be more of a habit than a well placed line to pick out different scenes and feels. The first part is certainly different to the rest of the book, and has a feel of going back to basics with the story even though it is a continuation. This is not a bad thing, and instead, actually works out really well as it is able to distinguish the differences and similarities of the story and the new world really well. Instead of having a sheer difference, the second and third part of the story works more like one whole part. It feels as though the author simply added this barrier in to the story so that it would mimic the first book. There was a point in which the feel of the story did change enough to mark a new part of the story, though this was literally pages to the end and would not have worked well this way either. With this said, though, this tiny change at the end was amazing and left it open perfectly for the last book. Anything else added on to this would have ruined it.

                        Although a continuation of the first book, it has the same feel both in style and happenings within the story. In a lot of ways it is like a stand-alone story, yet you will need to read the first to understand what is going on. The subject matter of the Big Brother type world is certainly still a very much a part of this second instalment, and if anything, the story has moved on to a much darker stance, and if possible, the characters have grown much more fuller and we learn a lot more about both existing characters as well as new characters. You still have a great sense of awareness when Katniss is in the 'games', more so even than before, and the sense of war and death is enhanced just that little bit more to provide a heightened sensation of the situations at hand, causing some really fear at some points. Although only a story, it begins to feel so real at times that I almost forgot the world as we know it is not like the world in the book! Such vividness in both the writing and the storyline.

                        As Collins quoted at the back of the first book; the idea for the story came from channel surfing one night and flicking between a reality show and a documentary on the Iraq war, and through the blurriness of sleep, the two intermingled and formed the story in her head. She also cites the Greek myth of Theseus, in which the city of Athens was forced to send young men and women to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, as inspiration for the nation of Panem. This is very apparent in reading this story, yet with a unique and interesting twist of its own.

                        A love story of sorts began to surface within the first book, and although it takes more of a strained back seat in this second instalment, it is still the wheels of the story in many ways. In hope that their 'love' may help save both Katniss and Peeta as well as their families and friends, they continue to play their roles, yet Katniss is not really sure what she feels, and this is made more difficult by her best friend who she also has feelings for. A love triangle of sorts, though certainly not one that is in-your-face. It is played out perfectly with only a few small moments which I found annoying. Although the driving force behind a lot of the background story, this love triangle is certainly not the main focus of the story. It has stemmed discussions online, though, of who follows which 'relationship' and the hopes of readers as to who they believe will end up with Katniss. Personally I have always been a Peeta fan, though that is just my own feelings and nothing at all to do with this review at hand!! Although this love story is not like any other, it really aids in the story by bringing the readers in with their emotions, and in turn, really feeling the pull at the heart strings for the characters. It reminds us that these young adults have to deal with devastation in a way that many of us have never felt, and placed in this new world, the future really becomes a scary place.

                        The whole book is written from Katniss' perspective, and although some people may not like the first person format, I can safely say that the way this story is written, you may even forget that you are reading from the first person view. It is so in depth, yet in a simple way so not to confuse or frustrate. It covers both the story and also the inner-most thoughts and feelings of the character without being too in-your-face, and it touches upon politics, retribution, death and many other sensitive, and quite dark, aspects without offending anyone. It is so cleverly written that you do not actually realise that the story is questioning your own views on life aspects, and it is not until you close the final page that you realise that you have begun to question not only the society within the book, but also our own society and government.

                        Far from my original thoughts that the characters within the story would be little more than cardboard figures, came a whole array of wonderfully written characters, which each held a very specific personality. The characters are explored much more in this second book, and new characters emerge in which I began to feel for through their circumstances and the characterisations. Although more background information is replayed, there is certainly not an overabundance of useless information, and I feel that everything that is used is well thought out and placed. Many of Katniss' own memories cover the background of herself and her friends and family in a type of flashback style which emerges from conversations and/or situations which provike the memories surfacing. This is a perfect way of bringing in the past of these characters without it all being too much to take in.

                        The story itself is not overly long. It only took me a couple of days to read, though it is certainly not a quick-read. I quite often prefer longer books, though this book works well at the length it holds, and gives the exact right amount of emotion, story, action etc that is needed. The timeline of the story spans a little longer than in the first book, though the time frame is not focused on too much, it is only in the writing which we understand how much time has passed.

                        One thing which I find very important in a book is the ending. A story can be written perfectly, though if the ending is wrong, then it gives me a really terrible feel to the whole book, almost as though I feel my time was wasted reading it, even if I did enjoy the rest of the story.

                        So how does the ending of Catching Fire compare?

                        I was on the edge of my seat throughout the most part of the story, and it had me guessing what was going to happen right up until the very end part of the book. Although I had a few ideas, the ending proved to be both surprising and shocking and well thought out. It was a perfect ending, if not a little quick to digest, though one that rounds up book two really well yet also leaves it wide open for its third and final sequel, which I was glad I had at hand as I would have hated to wait to read the next book!

                        An excellent sequel to 'The Hunger Games' with a shocking and fantastic ending.


                        ************************
                        FINAL WORDS
                        ************************

                        This story was extremely captivating once the flow and energy picked up and the future twist of the world combine with the aspect that Big Brother is watching is a perfect mix. It is an emotional story whilst being quite a scary one, and incorporates sensitivity into the mix absolutely wonderfully.

                        This book can be picked up from most libraries or bought for its RRP of £6.99 which is well worth it. I rented my copy from the library though am certainly going to go and buy this as I would definitely reread this many times.

                        Do I recommend this book? Most certainly!


                        A/N: Due to the immense success of the book, they are going to be bringing out the film of Hunger Games possibly next year. As of yet, no information on casting is available. Hopefully the film will be a success and the two sequels will be filmed also.

                        Comments

                        Login or register to add comments
                        • More +
                          13.12.2010 17:43
                          Very helpful
                          (Rating)
                          7 Comments

                          Advantages

                          Disadvantages

                          an amazing book perfect for everyone!

                          I've been meaning to write a review on this for quite some time, but lately, I haven't had time to do it, and to be perfectly honest, I want to do a good job of it and I know I've waited a long time, but I really hope that in doing so I'll be able to make a brilliant review, because this book definitely deserves it.

                          To start off with, I'd like to remind everyone that this book is the second book in "The Hunger Games" series, and for those of you who want to know more about the first book, please feel free to go looking for my review on that book. The first book has the same title as the series, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find.

                          Before coming across this book, I had only ever read one book from Suzanne Collins, which was, of course, "The Hunger Games" the first book. Before then I had never ever heard of Suzanne Collins, so I went in search of finding out more information on her, and I found out that she's released quite a few books but none have become as "The Hunger Games" have, and so therefore she is quite new, and has managed to write this brilliant trilogy! This book definitely shows off her writing skills, as she taunts us and persuades us to read more and more, as we read each of the pages. She is a very talented author, as she manages to throw us head first into another Hunger Games, and this time there is a lot of real shockers, and you really haven't got a clue what will be round the corner. I am so happy to have found this author, and she is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors of all time. I will be putting the rest of her books on my wish list, so that I can see if her writing style is just as good in her other books, and when she releases another book, I SHALL be there to get it!

                          This book follows from the first book really well. Yet again we are Katniss Everdeen and we follow her adventures back at home in District 12. We slowly find out that the president is not happy with her. But it's not her problem.

                          With The Hunger Games in mind, everyone is gearing up for it, yet again, and it's going to be worse this time around, as it's a Quarter Quell. A Quarter Quell happens every 25 years, and this is the 75th Hunger Games. And here is a BIG shock! How would Katniss and Peeta and Haymitch cope? It's going to be difficult! But can they deal with it?

                          The book contains a lot about love and the way people fall for others, and how some may like someone but not know it yet, I loved how I could see how Katniss was thinking and how she had to pretend to be in love with Peeta when really she was thinking of someone else. It makes it a lot more interesting and it gets developed quite nicely into the third and last book! Also the whole idea of The Hunger Games is based around War and reality. The author even commented saying that the idea came to life in her mind after flipping through the TV channels and seeing a reality TV series, and a war programme, and so why not combine the two? Most authors have commented saying they wished they had this idea, and most of them really praise this book. To be honest, I fully love the idea and could see it becoming pretty much reality, as The Hunger Games is all about sending teenagers from each district to go and fight in The Hunger Games; this is done to show the districts what the world used to be like and how it almost destroyed the world. In each district they have a wide screen TV in the town and it shows coverage of The Hunger Games. I love the concept, and I feel ashamed that Suzanne Collins only made it into a trilogy, as I could definitely see it become more than that. But I suppose all good things must come to an end.

                          If I were to put this book into a genre, I would definitely put it into teenage fiction (where most book stalls put it) as teenagers would be able to relate to Katniss and really get to know her and identify with her. However, do not allow this to put you adults off, my sister, my mother and my auntie absolutely loved this book and this series and would definitely recommend this to everyone and anyone.

                          A lot of people have linked this book to "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer, personally I think they are nothing a like, and the only things that are similar is the genre, as they are both teenage fiction and the fact that Katniss is in love with two people, and in Twilight so is Bella. However I don't see how they are very strong links, and even though Stephenie Meyer always recommends this book and the other two to anyone and everyone, I still don't see what the books have in common, so if anyone knows I'd be intrigued to know why you think they are comparable.

                          I fully enjoyed this book, as you can tell by my rating! I found it interesting and I definitely wanted to read more and more, I personally couldn't stop reading. It took me a whole day to read it, with breaks in between, I'm sure I was up until about 4am still finishing it off, but to be totally honest, if I had put it down and gone to sleep, I would not have been able to fall asleep, as the book would have stayed in my mind and I was literally glued to the covers of the book. If I were to read it again, I would have to make sure I had enough time to read it in one sitting, as I know that I would not want to put it down. I have to pick up on a bad point about this book, and that was the end, I don't think it was very satisfactory, and it definitely seemed quite rushed, and although it made me wanting to know more, I still felt that it could have been done better and to be honest it shouldn't have been left the way it was. I loved this book lots, and the writing style really made my emotions come out more and more, when Katniss got hurt, you felt as if you were the one who had got hurt, and when something happened that surprised Katniss, it also surprised you, and when she feels upset, you also felt upset. To be honest Suzanne Collins has one of the best writing styles I have come across, and I really hope she doesn't lose it. If given the chance and the time, I would definitely re-read all three books, but I very much doubt that the chance will come along as I have a hell of a lot of books to get through, and I very much doubt that I'll be able to even glimpse at these books again. I may be able to re-read these books as I get older, and therefore be able to re-live these stories again and again. "The Hunger Games" trilogy will forever be in my possession for the rest of my life, apart from when I end up lending them to family and friends.

                          This book would definitely appeal to all teenagers, whether they are boys or girls, it doesn't matter (to be perfectly honest I hate it when people say that a certain book would appeal to girls only, or to boys only, as that is pretty sexist and pretty annoying, as lots of people have different interests, for example, lets say someone's reviewing a football book, they might say it would interest boys only, but there is a lot of girls out there who play football and enjoy reading books about football. You will never ever see in any of my reviews me saying that so and so book is just for boys or just for girls). I think it would also interest a lot of adults, and it is definitely a book you should definitely get for Christmas or birthdays, the receiver will not be disappointed (well unless they've already read this book!) Another thing I hate doing is putting an age limit to books, as I feel parents or guardians should know when a child or teenager is ready for certain content in a book. However, this book does contain quite a lot of violence so please be careful who you give this to, as someone quite young could easily have nightmares after reading this.

                          Personally this book would be brilliant as a Christmas present, but you'll have to be quick Christmas isn't that far away!

                          Thank you for reading and rating, I hope I have been a real help to all of you, and I hope I've interested a lot people into reading this book!

                          Comments

                          Login or register to add comments