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Catching Fire - Another Fight To The Death?
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Member Name: hotrock4
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Date: 01/01/13, updated on 01/01/13 (44 review reads)
Advantages: A Great Sequel
Disadvantages: It Doesn't Last Forever
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.
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.
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 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)
Summary: Another Great Read