Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: September 2009 by Scholastic Press
My Rating: 5 stars but I wish I could give it an even higher score!
Tags: YA | Fantasy | Sci-Fi | Series (Book Two)
Includes: Violence/Murder, Sensuality
First Lines: I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air. My muscles are clenched tight against the cold.
**This review contains spoilers if you haven't read the first book "The Hunger Games", yet!**
When I read a series, the first book is always my favorite. However, Catching Fire - the sequel to The Hunger Games - just broke that trend. This book was an unbelievable, unpredictable novel that is on the top of the list for one of my favorite books. Ever.
The novel picks up from where The Hunger Games left off, with Katniss returning to her home in district 12 as victor. She is well-known worldwide, and pretty soon starts hearing rumors that she might be causing rebellions throughout Panem. One day, the intimidating President Snow visits Katniss and what he tells her leaves her frightened for her own life and the lives of all her loved ones. To add to the plot, the 75th Hunger Games are approaching and the Capital has decided to change a few rules...
The book is split into three parts: The victory tour through the 12 districts, preparing and training for the 75th Hunger Games, and inside the arena for the games themselves. My favorite part would have to be the latter because so many important, nail-biting events happened.
From Page 308
I've never seen any animal move so fast. They slide down the vines as if the things were greased. Leap impossible distances from tree to tree. Fangs bared, hackles raised, claws shooting out like switchblades. I may be unfamiliar with monkeys, but animals in nature don't act like this.
Even though I wish the story could've taken place actually inside the arena more, the action was non-stop and almost each chapter ended with a fantastic cliff hanger! The read was thrilling and exhilarating, very enjoyable.
I was deeply absorbed in Katniss's character, and the way she was beautifully written. Just like in the first book, I felt like I was with her throughout the entire novel - specifically in the arena. I could literally feel her pain, even more so than during the first book, since I knew her character so well and everything she had been through. While Katniss was torn between her love for Gale or Peeta, it made my heart ache, too.
From Page 174
I'm cold and wet and winded, but my escape attempt has done nothing to subdue the hysteria rising up inside me. It will drown me unless it's released. I ball up the front of my shirt, stuff it into my mouth, and begin to scream. How long this continues, I don't know. But when I stop, my voice is almost gone.
Another thing I really liked about Katniss's character was the way she was so realistic! Even though the novel is set in the future, Katniss was just like any other female teenager. She had her fair share of random mood swings, like most adolescent girls do. But another thing that got brought to my attention was her human instinct while trying to survive in the Hunger Games arena. Even though she continuously was determined to put Peeta's life before her own, there were split seconds when her human instinct would slip through and she'd want to save herself instead. At first, I was thinking that it was kind of selfish, but then I realized - hey, even the most humble people probably have times like these. You can't really help it, you're only human!
I loved how Katniss's mockingjay was the symbol for the rebellions. The mockingjay played a tremendous role in the story, and showed up during many parts. Hence the cover - which I love by the way. The subtle message of politics and symbolism was a nice touch in the novel and I liked how it wasn't "in your face", like some books are.
I found myself actually talking outloud during some chapters, or yelling at the idiotic President Snow. That's just how much this terrific story will suck you in. You will seriously feel like you are in the book. It made me want to pick up a weapon and join the fight!
I am on the edge of my seat, very anxious for the third book in the series to be published. I've never been so excited for a book to come out, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to wait until fall 2010 when it's released! Suzanne Collins is now on my list for favorite authors. :)