Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book Review: Catching Fire (2009) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (2009)
Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is the second book in Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games Trilogy. It's still pretty good, but it just isn't the page-turner that The Hunger Games is. Part of the problem is familiarity. We've already witnessed Katniss's confusion over her feelings for the two young men in her life, Gale and Peeta. Whatever seeming resolution there may have been at the end of the first book, we're back to square one now. Yes, here we go again...

Also, we already understand the structure of the Hunger Games, so when the 75th annual event rolls around, we think we know what to expect. Actually, we don't. First off, it's a Quarter Quell, which happens only once every 25 years and in this instance involves a severe alteration in the rules for the tribute pool at the reaping. There's a world of difference in these Hunger Games, with everything meant to be more chilling this time around. But how can the Hunger Games possibly be more chilling than the orgy of child killing we've already seen? As the twelve districts break out in scattered uprisings, the Capitol makes sure the games become even more cruel. This requires Collins to keep topping herself. She acquits herself admirably, but eventually you get the sense that no matter how hopeless it gets, the book's main characters are not about to die en masse. Things are meant to look awfully bleak here, but I sense there is definitely still some hope for Katniss to survive the climactic third book without losing too many of her loved ones.

Note:  If you missed it, my brief book review of The Hunger Games is here.


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