Catching Fire, book two in The Hunger Games trilogy, captured my attention right away and I was gripped by the story for the entire read. A couple times I had to put the book down for a second, look up at my husband and gasp “No way!” to which he looked at me confused and then I went back to reading. This is a seriously entertaining series. If you haven’t begun The Hunger Games yet, you really need to.
Katniss and Peeta survived the brutal Hunger Games only to become unwitting symbols of resistance to the Capitol. The Districts have become increasingly disgruntled by the Capitol’s abuses. And Katniss’ refusal to be a pawn in the arena has sparked a fire that neither she nor Peeta can control. The Capitol hits hard in retaliation in an attempt to control “the girl on fire.” My reivew of the first book can be found here.
The characters developed nicely in the sequel. I liked getting to know more about Haymitch, District Twelve’s only other survivor/victor of the Games and Katniss and Peeta’s mentor. We really get to see why he has turned to alcohol and also, why he has learned to care so much about Katniss and Peeta and vice versa. We get to see Katniss’ mother more as she springs to action (remember she was mostly depressed and defunct in the first book). I liked seeing the mother daughter relationship being healed. And we see more of Gale’s family so, even while Gale is often absent, we learn more about him through his family.
There’s just as much action and adventure in book two. Things get violent as the Capitol closes in. You can feel the stress riddling the characters. It’s only a matter of time before the spark turns into a fire. As usual, I enjoyed Katniss’ strong personality. She deals with events as best she can. She’s a little head-strong but that’s definitely a quality needed for survival.
The romance between Katniss and Peeta, a forced pretense on her part for survival and genuine on his part, becomes even more complicated. How should she feel about the boy responsible for saving her life? But then there’s her best friend Gale? Oh, dear. I’m not sure yet, but I think I’m voting for Peeta. I reserve the right to change my mind. Lol. The romance is still rather innocent but they do get close and kiss often for the cameras. My slight concern for young readers is Katniss’ melt-down when she gets drunk one night. It’s not something she’s proud of and doesn’t happen again. But adults may want to mention that Katniss’ behavior here is not normal and that alcohol didn’t help her at all to solve her problems. This is a very small incident in the book and I wouldn’t let it stop adults from letting kids read it.
The writing is written with the same POV as the book one – in first person, present tense from Katniss’ perspective. As with the first book, it took be a few pages before I adjusted to the writing style but it was less of a problem for me in book two. Overall, I think Collins is a great young adult writer. I can’t wait for Mockingjay’s release in August!
Publisher: Scholastic, 2009 Pages: 400 Source: U of Iowa Libraries
Rating: 5 Stars Recommended Age: 13 and up