This book was originally reviewed over at Just One More Page as a combined review.
Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy. Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumours of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
Leigh says: I was so pleased that I could delve straight into the second book as soon as I finished the first.
I knew from reading the first book that this story was far from over. How could the Capitol possibly continue to get away with the murder of children? Despite the fact that it is disguised as a game, I think that it just makes it so much worse. Katniss and Peeta need to travel across the districts as the 74th Hunger Games victors, but beneath everything, the dark and sinister starts rising – to once again face them.
The reins are tightening on District 12 as the Capitol tries to regain a level of control, even though the citizens of District 12 are more than oblivious to the uprisings in the wider spread districts. While Katniss and Peeta might be the new faces of district rebellion – they never wanted this. All they wanted was to survive the 74th Hunger Games, and you play the game any way you possibly can in order to live.
But the other districts are looking to these two teenagers to lead a rebellion against the Capitol, whether Katniss or Peeta agree to it or not. The Capitol is fully aware that they cannot have an uprising on their hands, and does the only thing it can to prevent this from happening. They throw Katniss and Peeta back into another live or die scenario, so that the districts of Panem can watch their nominated leaders die on live TV.
J.C. says: Leigh pretty much sums it up above, without giving too much away. I felt like this book was a lot slower, and was probably my least favourite of the trilogy. It’s lucky I felt invested in Katniss, or when it got to the point where they were thrown back into the Games I may have tossed the book aside. I felt a little like it was a hugely convenient way to get an otherwise pretty bland book back into action, even though it did tie in to the plot lines. I can put that thought aside though, because it was a good story. I loved meeting some new characters, and seeing the rebellion form up behind the scenes, little snippets introduced throughout the book.
Leigh says: The character arc and development that has gone into these novels is incredible. These characters are evolving across the pages of each book, only to find that their lives are getting worse. Yes, you read that correctly – the first book is the best case scenario – and that was pretty brutal. Throughout the first book of this series, the reasoning behind annual Hunger Games seemed so plausible, so that the Capitol had their allegiance and obedience from the districts of Panem. But in Catching Fire, you really start to see the darkness behind the eyes of some of the characters in this book, and you know that this is not just about the Hunger Games – but that this is a game of survival for every single human in Panem.
J.C. says: This is a very valid point. Where the first book was focused primarily on Katniss’ survival, this book opens the world up and is about much more than her. Yes, she has become a figurehead, but an unwitting one until a good way through the book. She begins, desperately trying to save her family, still, and finds her own path along the way – making decisions for herself, for her reasoning and discovery, rather than other influences. The writing is still solid, and the characters were great. It was an easy read, if a little slower than the first book – no less brutal when the Games were happening, but before then, it wasn’t as exciting.
Leigh says: If I were to fall in love with any character in this series, it would be Gale – Katniss’s best friend and hunting partner from District 12. Don’t ask me why I like him so much, I just do.
J.C. says: I’m the opposite! For Katniss, it was always Peeta in my mind. Their relationship builds over the course of the novels, right in front of the reader, and I believe is far more sustainable than one between Katniss and Gale would be. But then, what would a YA novel be without a little competition in love interests? I never thought I’d be on ‘team’ anyone, but I guess it’s inevitable
Leigh gives this one another 5 star rating, while J.C. has to give it a 4.