November 3, 2013

Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: September 1, 2009
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Sparks are igniting.Flames are spreading.And the Capitol wants revenge. 
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. 
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. 
In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.

Just a note: as usual, this review will NOT be spoiler-free.

So. I finally read it. And I have to say, with the exception of the ending, it was exactly what I expected.

There are many things I didn't enjoy about this book - unfortunately, I the cons weigh out the pros. I'm going to start with the cons, and then we'll move on to the things I enjoyed.

The first aspect of this book that bothered me was Katniss, all around. She was self-centered, stupid, and simply annoying. I hated reading from her perspective, because she was so inconsiderate with the rest of the characters and herself. She'd get into a situation thinking only of what she wanted, and when it failed she'd then realize why - because she didn't take anyone else's suggestions into account. She also took an idea and ran with it in full confidence, and only when she had fallen off a (hypothetical) cliff would she realize what was wrong with it.

The whole idea with the Quarter Quell was extremely predictable - the fact that the tributes would be reaped from the existing pool of victors. This just seemed lazy, as if Collins couldn't think of anything else to write about, so she threw Peeta and Katniss back in the Games. It bothered me that she couldn't think of anything better to write. In addition the this, the actual Games felt hurried and rushed, like it was her goal to make the book less than four hundred pages.

Generally there is a good and bad side to every aspect of a story, but I have to say - I adored her writing. Suzanne Collins has a talent with words, and there is not one bad thing I can think of that would counter this.

Now for the part I really enjoyed: the ending. It was unpredictable, unlike the rest of the book, and I was astounded. The writing was particularly excellent during the last ten pages, and the entire wrap-up was strong and compelling.

Overall, I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book, but it was worth the read. I'm not sure if I'll be reading Mockingjay anytime soon. We'll see. :)

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