Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins

If I don’t make my word count for NaNoWriMo, I’m blaming it on Suzanne Collins!  After finishing The Hunger Games, I thought I could set the other books aside for a couple of weeks.  Um…no.  My mind kept thinking about the characters and wondering how it was all going to turn out, so I gave in and read the next book, Catching Fire.

This book catches up with Katniss six months after the Hunger Games.  She and Peeta now both have houses in Victor’s Village alongside Haymitch.  Just as she and Peeta are about to embark on their Victory Tour through the Districts, Katniss receives a surprise visitor…President Snow.  The President tells her that her little stunt in the Hunger Games with the berries was interpreted by the Districts are an act of rebellion and it is up to her to tamp down the revolutionary wind sweeping the country.  If she fails to do so, he will have people she loves killed. 
As she and Peeta travel, they witness this rebellious attitude personally and it seems no amount of hamming up their romance for the cameras will make any difference.  They even stage a public engagement, which turns on the wedding fever in the Capitol, but does little to change feelings in the Districts.  Once they arrive home, they get devastating news…they are both going back into the arena for the 75th Anniversary of the Hunger Games.

Beyond having an exciting story, this book has a lot to say about government oppression, rebellion and how small acts can be interpreted as symbols, setting off unintended consequences.  I love YA novels with depth.  Each of these characters are dual-natured in that they have both good and bad qualities.  Even the dizzy people of the Capitol grow on you once you realize they are innocents. 

I love the character of Peeta.  (I am definitely Team Peeta all the way!)  He is probably the most genuinely good person in the books, yet he is strong and brave as well.  He is not afraid to take risks for Katniss whom he loves.  While I am still in the point of Katniss not committing her heart to either Peeta or Gale, I definitely see Peeta as the better match for her.  They have had such a shared history of the most traumatic times of their lives.  Gale seems like trouble to me.  His rebellious nature is reckless, where as Peeta’s comes across as smart, calculated and brave.  Peeta always frames his rebellion in such a way that the people are on his side and therefore, the government can’t afford to retaliate against him. 

Overall, I give Catching Fire

Plot – 5 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Love Story – 4 bookmarks
Social Commentary – 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Kristin Stewart (Katniss), Hunter Parrish (Peeta), Phillip Kelley, my best friend from high school (Gale), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Haymitch), Megan Mullally (Effie), Tim Gunn (Cinna), Chris Pine (Finnick), Kelsey Batelaan (Prim)


  1. Ok, while I am Team Peeta as well, I'm going to play devil's advocate and ask this question: How can you make a solid judgment about Gale's character against Peeta when poor Gale hasn't really been given much face time yet? I'm just saying that at this point, Peeta has gotten a lot more attention and so we know and empathize with him more. I think by the end of Catching Fire, we still haven't seen enough of Gale to really know for sure that he isn't the one for Katniss. (Again, keep in mind I was all for the Peeta/Katniss thing at this point myself.) I'm just saying...

  2. I agree, but the purpose of my review is to record my thoughts based on what I've read in the book. I'm over halfway through Mockingjay now, and I'm still standing by my opinion so far. That doesn't mean I won't change it.