Catching Fire is the second book in Suzanne Collins’ ground-breaking Hunger Games trilogy. But is it as good as the first novel? Read our full review.
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games Book 2) Synopsis
After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to their district, hoping for a peaceful future. But their victory has caused rebellion to break out … and the Capitol has decided that someone must pay.
As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol’s Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless they can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
Then comes the cruellest twist: the contestants for the next Hunger Games are announced, and Katniss and Peeta are forced into the arena once more.
Now a major feature film starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson & Liam Hemsworth.
Genre: Action-Adventure, Romance, Sci-Fi-Fantasy, Audio, Thriller, Young Adult
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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.
However, 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
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UPDATE: I have since enjoyed Mockingjay also, read my review.
About the Author, Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins is the author of the groundbreaking Hunger Games trilogy for young adults: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay. She is also the author of a picture book, Year of the Jungle, and the New York Times bestselling Underland Chronicles series for middle grade readers, which started with Gregor the Overlander. Suzanne lives with her family in Connecticut. You can find her online at suzannecollinsbooks.com.
More Catching Fire Reviews
‘The pace is a little slower and the emphasis more on character than plot — Katniss grows considerable as a character — but readers will find CATCHING FIRE as much of a gripping page-turner as The Hunger Games.’ – CommonSenseMedia
‘Catching Fire is an excellent sequel to The Hunger Games that takes us deeper into the aftermath of surviving the games and the torturous nightmares of such a disturbing place that make the terror unforgettable.’ – TheGuardian
‘A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three.’ – Kirkus Reviews
‘Catching Fire not only lives up to the hype of The Hunger Games – it manages to surpass expectations. This is a series that will be embraced by young and old readers alike,’ – Book Smugglers