Friday, October 23, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Main character: 17-year-old Katniss
Location: District 12, the Capitol, and the games arena
Time period: some unknown future
Genre: YA Fiction, Dystopian future
Series: The Hunger Games #2

I've seen some reviews of Catching Fire that were disappointed, seeing this book as a letdown after The Hunger Games, as just putting pieces into place for the exciting conclusion that will come in the next book. I disagree. I loved this book just as much as I loved the first one, and I wait anxiously for the next.

Katniss has survived the Hunger Games, and now should be living a life of relative ease in the victor's village near Haymitch and Peeta. For once in their lives, she, her mother and Prim have enough food to eat and she will not need to work down in the mines. Of course, she will need to mentor future tributes in the upcoming games but she herself will be free from the reapings for the rest of her life. Or at least that's the way it's supposed to be.

But Katniss's act of defiance has sparked rebellion in the districts, and President Snow himself comes District 12 to threaten Katniss in person--keep up the pretence of the romance with Peeta or everyone you love will be destroyed.

Katniss is now 17 years old, but she still operates on instinct, on the need to not only survive but to make sure that those she cares about also survive. She is not one for long-term strategies, or to recognize the effects that he actions have on anyone beyond her immediate circle. She is no Joan of Arc, determined to lead an army, but something about her has captured the imagination of the world and the more the Capitol tries to control her (even with her reluctant co-operation) the less control they have. ("The more you tighten your grip, Lord Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." Sorry. Slight geek-out there.)

In many ways, Peeta is the opposite of Katniss. As the son of the baker, he never had to worry as much about keeping his family from starving as Katniss did so he's not as stuck in survival mode. Outwardly calmer and more introspective than Katniss, he still shows himself capable of deep, passionate feelings. He's more clued in to the bigger picture and somehow knows just the right thing to say, whether to comfort Katniss, garner audience support, or subtly twist the knife in the Capitol's side.

The prep team from the first book makes a repeat appearance, though their part is not as big as it was in the first book. Still, Cinna manages to style costumes for Katniss that make it clear where his allegiances lie whatever the cost.

Don't want to say more than that, except to repeat that this was a wonderful book that stands up well to the first book, sets up the showdown of the next book, and is a very enjoyable read on its own.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Really Nice Review

I can't wait for book 3