Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press © 2009
Genre: Young Adult Literature
Subgenre: Social & Family Issues, Science Fiction, Survival Stories
Book received by: Purchased for household
Synopsis from Amazon:
“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 rumors 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.”
Busy moms (and dads): If you liked (or loved) The Hunger Games, be sure you can devote some time to book two of the trilogy. It will fly by, but you won’t want to put it down. I loved it and found myself dragged deeper into the world of Panem with Katniss. An imperfect heroine, she captivated my attention and my emotions, never letting go, even though at times I was completely frustrated by her.
Catching Fire picks up right where The Hunger Games left off, without missing a beat. There’s enough recap to catch up those who skip the first book, but not so much that it bores those reading sequentially. The relationships are strengthened in this part of the story and complications mount for the love triangle of Katniss and Gale, and Katniss and Peeta. All seems to be going swimmingly until the train tour through the districts. In the face of districts that stand ready to rise up and revolt and threats from President Snow, the fragile dreams of life after the games are destroyed.
Among Ms. Collins’ talents is her ability to weave dense and difficult topics into a story that entertained millions. Like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire continues dealing with the effect of war on youths, social disparities and as well as sibling relationships and young love. The plot is layered and dynamic, and the story will stick with you as much as the characters and their struggles. I look forward to the day my kids are old enough to read these books with me, to discuss the themes and enjoy the stories.
Catching Fire is captivating, in spite of (or because of?) the main character’s flaws. You root for Katniss even when you want to grab her by the shoulders and give her a good shake. Collins creates a tension that begins with subtlety and builds through the story, culminating at the end. An end, which is too good to discuss, too devastating to have spoiled. If you enjoy it near as much as I did, if you’re as engaged in the story and captivated by with world of Panem, it will make you rush to pick up (or download, or order) Mockingjay.
Have you read Catching Fire? How did you like it? How did you feel about Katniss by the end? Or did you stop after The Hunger Games? If so, why? Comments are welcome and appreciated!
Happy trails and may the good books be plentiful!
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Feature image: Cover art, Tim O’Brien (© 2009), Cover design Elizabeth B. Parisi