Book Review – CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins, Hunger Games #2

Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire (The Hunger Games Book 2)  Synopsis

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. (Amazon)

BOOK REVIEW

I enjoyed listening to the first The Hunger Games novel in audio so much, that despite a family member owning the full series in paperback I decided to seek out the audiobooks of titles 2 and 3, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

I found Catching Fire, the second instalment in The Hunger Games Trilogy very much a book of two halves.

The first half of Catching Fire seemed a little slow to me (compared to the break-neck pace of The Hunger Games Book 1) as we learn more about the characters lives outside of the arena. Writing this review now after I have finished the trilogy, I can however see this change down a gear to develop some more of the ancillary characters and provide a bit more of the history of Panem was necessary in the broader scheme of things. Despite that, Katniss’ behaviour still felt somewhat dichotomous, one minute acting well beyond her age squaring off with President Snow but then succumbing to bouts of teenage angst the next. But, it has been many years since I was a teenager…

What kept me enthralled during this slower section was the audiobook’s crisp and compelling narration by Carolyn McCormick (listen to an audio sample). McCormick does a wonderful job with characterisation, making it effortless for the listener to distinguish between the much greater number of characters that feature in this novel.

In this second instalment of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins teases us initially but then almost gives us whiplash as she slams her foot down on the accelerator in the latter half.

I thought the second half of Catching Fire was impressive. I would even go so far as to say I enjoyed this segment even more than the first book. Why? Without spoiling the story for those that have not read it, I would say it is due to a number of factors.

The new characters added greater depth to the story.

The additional complexity and strategy required to overcome the challenges they faced interested me more.

The psychological aspects of alliances and friendships with adults neutralised a lot of the teenage angst.

If you, like me are not a traditional YA reader, but were pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoyed The Hunger Games I recommend reading the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, Catching Fire. But I must give a warning, this novel ends with a real clanger of a cliffhanger. The very moment I finished Catching Fire I logged onto my library audiobook catalogue and reserved the final book, Mockingjay.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 /5 ; The Writing 4 / 5

BOOK DETAILS: Catching Fire (Audible); Catching Fire (Amazon); Catching Fire (TheNile – Australia); Catching Fire (Kobobooks – epub)

Genre: Action-Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi-Fantasy, Audio, Thriller, Young Adult

Author Information: Suzanne Collins is an American television writer and novelist.

- Checkout Suzanne Collins website for her work in children’s media prior to becoming a best-selling author

- The The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie is scheduled for release in 2013.

Other Reviews of Catching Fire: Reading With TeaThe Book Smugglers; Page TurnersBooks that SparkThe Guardian

Other titles by Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games, Mockingjay, The Underland Chronicles

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the link back! I agree about the new characters adding depth – it was good to see Katniss disliking people at first and then seeing that they’re good and vice versa.

  2. says

    I actually think that all the books were a little like with the two different paces. Each I found started a little slow and then all of a sudden – wham- off they went. I’m one of those people that isn’t a big fan of YA but these books are so enjoyable I read all three of them in a row.

  3. says

    Yvann – My pleasure! Your review was as compelling as the novel ;)

    Becky – Agree, this series was uniquely entertaining, and although I am still not what I would call a YA fan, it has changed my previous habit of dismissing the genre outright.

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