Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

by Jessica Anderson on November 19, 2009

in Fiction, Reviews

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Pages: 400
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Copyright: 2009
Format: Hardback
Rating: [rating:3]

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I purchased The Hunger Games months ago, but didn’t pick it up until recently because I knew, from all of you, that I wanted to have uninterrupted time to read it. So, I waited until I was on vacation. Luckily, I’d received a copy of Catching Fire for my birthday and had brought that along too. I hopped right from The Hunger Games to Catching Fire.

Katniss is home in her fancy house next to Peeta’s and Haymitch’s fancy houses in District 12, waiting to go on tour. Though she and Peeta won the Games, things are still scary because those in charge at the Capital were very displeased with what they saw as Katniss’s act of rebellion in forcing two winners. Also, there are mumblings of uprisings in other districts. And then, it comes time for the 75th Hunger Games.

I didn’t find this book to be as compelling as The Hunger Games. Catching Fire seemed, to me, to be very contrived at every turn. I kept getting pulled out of the book by questioning whether that would have really happened, would that character really have reacted that way? I think I was still emotionally wrung out by The Hunger Games and was not ready to go through it all again. Still, it was a pleasing sequel in that all of the characters are present and accounted for, those very characters are in peril, and there are a lot of twists.

As I mentioned in my review of The Hunger Games yesterday, I’m missing my book club‘s discussion of these two books, so I’m purging some random thoughts below. Beware of some spoilers.

  • Stars – This one only gets three stars.  It was enjoyable, but not quite up to par for me.  I just keeping thinking that word – contrived.
  • Contrivances – Really?  Really?  Peeta and Katniss back in the Hunger Games?  Really??  Really?
  • Motivations – Everyone’s motivations are shifting around and are unclear in this one.  Prim, clearly, is no longer the driving factor in Katniss’s actions.  Is Gale?  Is Peeta?  Is her allegiance to the alleged uprising?
  • Uprisings – Would the districts really see Katniss as the symbol of the uprising?  Would they react that way to her suicide pact idea?
  • The Fade Out - Okay, someone please tell me.  Did Katniss and Peeta just sleep together, or did they “sleep” together?
  • The Baby – Yeah, this might belong up in motivations.  The alleged pregnancy seemed, again, like a plot contrivance that appeared when needed and disappeared as convenient.
  • The Games – I did like the whole clock set up.  And some of the new characters were cool.  I liked the reappearance of the mockingjays, and wasn’t the force field thingy cool?
  • Team Gale v. Team Peeta – I’m still pretty clearly on Team Peeta.  I like Gale and all, but there’s just something about that smooth-talking Peeta.

Hmm . . . apparently I had more issues with this one than I thought.  What do you think?

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins [rating:3]

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Bluestocking November 19, 2009 at 7:40 am

They slept side by side.

I liked this one more because there was more depth. Dystopic novels have that undercurrent. I think Katniss had to learn that the world was bigger than she was. I don’t think quite sank in during the first game.

I think that the districts were ripe for change. They just needed that “push.” Kat defied the Capitol straight from the beginning with shooting that arrow at the judges. In addition she didn’t quite lose her humanity. I don’t believe that she would have ever killed Rue. In fact I see her preferring to sacrifice herself rather than go there.

Do I think she was heroic? No. But hero’s are made by the people who believe in them rather than the individual. That’s my take.

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Kathy November 19, 2009 at 1:26 pm

I’ve got this book and The Hunger Games and I’m trying to let some of the hype die down before I read them. I’m afraid it will affect my enjoyment.

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Suey November 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm

They just slept together, NOT “slept” together… of course! :)

I’m thinking everyone at book club tonight will agree with you. It’s going to be interesting.

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trish November 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm

I agree with what Bluestocking said. :)

I wonder if you would have enjoyed this more if you hadn’t read it on the heels of The Hunger Games?

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Jenny November 19, 2009 at 4:43 pm

WHY are they back in the Hunger Games? I haven’t read the book yet but I found out everything that happens – because I like spoilers – and I was not happy about this Hunger Games Redux business. I thought this book was going to be all about the exciting uprising, and it sounds like there is very little uprising. Frown.

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Heather Z. November 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I love your dissection of why you didn’t like this one. You have a lot of valid arguments. Very thoughtful review. I love it.

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softdrink November 19, 2009 at 6:23 pm

They slept together without any hanky-panky. Peeta is too nice for the hanky-panky.

I was very disappointed that the book featured another Hunger Games, as that was my least favorite part of the first book.

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melanie November 24, 2009 at 12:45 am

Love you saying “Team Gale vs Team Peeta”. i also thought collins was trying to pull the Twilight crowd with that setup. Couldn’t Katniss just not be interested in Peeta without her having to choose another guy? I did like the clockwork of the new Games and all of the tech in that part of the book really.
.-= melanie´s last blog ..Weekly Geeks 43 =-.

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