Monday, March 21, 2011

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)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.

First Look: ***** Well, I loved The Hunger Games, so naturally I assumed this would be just as good or better.

Setting: ***** 
I loved it.  Again.  Especially since all the tension in District Twelve is rising.  I loved the arena, too!  The clock thing was genius, and the whole thing had a Lord of the Flies-style island feel to it.  And then thinking of LOTF just upped the intensity level.

Characters: *****
  Again, we have the super-likable protagonist who crushes the very idea of damsel-in-distress into dust.  Katniss' reactions to everything seemed realistic.  Unlike some other books I've read, her extreme self-sacrificing behaviors were believable *coughHarryPotterwhat?cough*. I've actually discovered that I don't think Haymitch is a disgusting, worthless alcoholic.  I can respect him now after learning more about him.  Finnick was just...himself, and what's not to love about that?  And now Peeta and Gale are basically against each other, and...yeah.  Okay, I'll stop now.

Plot: *****  
It started out slow, but it still gets the full five stars because once it picked up, it completely made up for any lost time.  And wow, what a ride!  Twists and turns and bears, oh my!  (Actually there were no bears.  I just needed to finish out that phrase.)  I honestly thought this second book would be so much less intense because they wouldn't be in the arena, but Suzanne Collins surprised me and pulled it off.  *applauds*  And the cliffhanger ending means that the library request system better hurry up!

Uniqueness: ***** 
It was very, very similar to The Hunger Games.  Oh, right.  Same series.  And no, that really wasn't supposed to be that funny; it's just because it's very unique and there's not much to say.

Writing: *****
I have to admit, present tense just plain bugs me sometimes.  And I did catch at least two errors.

Likes:
There were many times where I really wanted to give Katniss a high five.  I wanted to applaud her sheer nerve, especially in the training center with the dummy.  That is definitely an epic win.

Not-so-great:
It really didn't take much to stir everybody into rebellion, did it?  This might just be me, but I could have used a bit more convincing that the Capital really was the center of all evil.

Total Score: *****
Recommend it? YES! This is a magnificent sequel that will satisfy all fans of The Hunger Games. It's intense. There are a few epic twists. Unpredictable and thrilling.  Better than the first book?  I'm not sure about that, but this was still great. The characters are the kind that you really want to root for. Suzanne Collins, I sure hope the finale lives up to this!

Reviews of other Hunger Games novels:
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)

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