Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Review 4/5

Overall Impression: A brilliant and enthralling second book from The Hunger Games trilogy that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

(To read my review of the first book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, click here)

Hello all 🙂 A worn out Becky takes a break out of her revision time to bring you the review of Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy! Wooho! Ok so I seem to have switched to third person. Bear with me my brain is a little fried okay? Since finishing the first book I’ve watched the Hunger Games official trailer about ten times and listened to the song Safe & Sound quite a bit too. So I’m getting extremely excited for the film release in late March!
catching fire by suzanne collins
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to discuss Catching Fire without ruining the first book from the series, in fact you can’t even read the blurb without it spoiling the first book The Hunger Games! So please, if you are planning on reading this series, now or sometime in the future, don’t read where I state there will be spoilers However, for those of you who have read the first book, this review will not contain any major spoilers about the book Catching Fire. 🙂

********************************* SPOILERS BEGIN **********************************

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable.

To elaborate on the blurb above, the book begins several months after Katniss and Peeta’s experience participating in the Hunger Games, and Katniss is struggling to deal with the after effects. She no longer has a need to hunt, as she has plenty of money to provide for her family and therefore no longer understands where she fits in to District 12. Peeta has barely acknowledged her since their fight on the train journey home, and when he has, it’s stiff and formal. Gale is also giving Katniss the cold shoulder, angry with having to watch her on-screen romance with Peeta that must be kept up for the Capitol’s sake. Katniss’ hope of returning to a normal life after the Hunger Games are shattered when she realizes the impact her stunt with the berries has created, rumors of rebellion and unrest are the result of her cheating the Capitol at their own game. President Snow himself issues a warning that if she cannot convince the public that the berry stunt was simply a product of her undying love for Peeta, he will hurt her family and all those close to her. But the districts are determined to rebel, and nothing Katniss can do will stop them. The Capitols solution for this, is more terrible and cruel that Katniss could have ever imagined….

*********************************** SPOILERS END **********************************

The plot of Catching Fire starts off a lot slower than the first book, largely because of it centering around District 12 where Katniss lives. The general feeling of the first half of the book can only be described as the calm before the storm. Although there’s not much action, there is a dark undertone to everything that happens. This allows the plot to slowly build, starting off with small and what seem like inconsequential incidents, that eventually spiral into to serious life threatening situations. A couple of the scenes in this book genuinely moved me because there is nothing more inspiring than people standing up for what they believe in, even if it means certain death. Catching Fire is about courage, defiance, and hope. The quote at the top of my blog sums up this book pretty well actually “Whatever you do in this life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it anyway.”

Suzanne Collins writing is as excellent as ever, especially her use of suspense. I feel this is specifically why her books are so riveting, because you never know who’s going to die, even the main characters aren’t safe from being killed off so you race through the pages desperate to see who will survive the night. And as psharma3 pointed out to me, Collins makes you accidentally fall in love with the characters. You don’t realize how much you’ve come to care for them until there lives are threatened.

The character development is good. We are given more insight into the mystery around Haymitch and his own experience in the Hunger Games arena which was really interesting, and added more depth to his character. We also get to learn a lot more about the previous tributes from the Hunger Games and how they cleverly managed to escape the arena alive. This was also really interesting, and introduced more loveable and complex characters to the story. However, I was really disappointed with one element of the characterization, and that was Katniss. She was so strong, capable and level-headed in the first book, someone who you could aspire to be, but I feel like she lost some of this in Catching Fire which is a real shame. The way she’s treated by some of the characters around her was really frustrating, and she spent a lot of the book breaking down and seeking comfort from others. However, I do understand that at least part of this was needed in order for the plot to work, as a large part of this book is about Katniss losing her way, and her emotional journey and I’m hoping she’ll find herself again in the final book Mockingjay, and come back stronger than she was before.

One final point that is slightly on the negative side, is that with a combination of common sense, being observant, and using my bookish sixth sense I managed to work out half way through the book how the plot, at least partly, was going to end. A hint was given earlier in the book, and it didn’t take much thought for me to work it out. I don’t know if this will be the case for other readers or whether I was just feeling intelligent that day haha, but it still didn’t ruin the book for me, as I still didn’t know which characters would be able to survive the events.

I would recommend this book to the same group of people I suggested the first book to, which is pretty much everyone age ten and upwards, because it’s such an amazing book! 🙂 You may also want to take a look at the song I’ve attached below by Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars which has recently been released for the upcoming film. It’s really beautiful and I think sums up this book series really well, haunting, hopeful and with a slight feel of melancholy. Enjoy! 🙂

Writing Style: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Entertainment: 4/5
Character Development: 4/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Overall 4/5

(To read my review of the next book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingjay, click here)


18 thoughts on “Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins Review 4/5

  1. Sorry Becky I didn’t read this review because I do want to read the books soon. I did listen to the song though, how amazing is Taylor’s voice? Thanks for that!

    • Haha thats fine don’t worry about it. 🙂 I’m expecting most people to skip this review on my blog actually because I know a lot of people following me want to start reading the series soon.
      I know right? I can’t stop listening to it! 🙂

    • Me too! I’ve decided to wait a little before reading the last book, I sort of want to savour the story so far and I’m not quite ready for the trilogy to be over yet. But it’s so, so tempting to pick up the last book!
      And no problem, twas my pleasure 🙂

  2. I started reading the Hunger Games the day before yesterday and finished it today and immediately started upon the second. It was amazing and the second is pretty good so far too, thank you for finally convincing me to buy the books! Another great review and you’ve got me intrigued!

    • Thank you very much! 🙂 I’m so happy my review inspired you enough to buy the books, it shows me I must be doing something right haha 🙂
      I’m so glad your enjoying them, they really are amazing books. I took a quick look at your 6 word review, I love how at the end you say ‘not Twilight!’ I think that’s a really important point to get across as I’m sure people will automatically compare the two due to their popularity. Are you planning to read all the books in succession?
      Also you’ll have to let me know if you work out how the books going to end before it happens. I’m interested to see if others also guessed it or whether I somehow had a stroke of genius (phaa) 🙂

      • I’ve almost finished it, only a few pages left, as of yet I don’t think i’ve guessed it. I was gonna read a review of the film but it had said it was the new Twilight, so i thought I would throw that in there, no matter what the magazines say it’s far from true! Thank you for reading it! 🙂

        I don’t think I have any choice haha, I’m such a glutton for books that as soon as I finish the last page i’ll be reaching for the last book, i’ll regret that when i’m finished though! Haha

      • If your talking about what I think your talking about then yes! Haha! :)Does that mean you’ve finished the book now?
        Ughhh, I’m so desperate to read the last book, but I’m making myself wait because in 2 weeks-ish I’m going on my first ever aeroplane flight (I’m so unworldly haha) so I want to keep it for that, because there such riveting books if I feel ill/freak out they might take my mind off it 🙂 I’ll be doing a post more about my trip into the unknow soon! 😉

  3. I absolutely LOVE the hunger game series!! And this is a really good review, by the way! And if you haven’t read it yet, I think you’ll really like mocking jay as well! Definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat, so to speak. And I agree with what you said in regards to Katniss. She was a bit weaker in catching fire. Emotionally, or what have you. On the one hand, I can see how she is sort of justified (I definitely couldn’t handle being in her position) but on the other hand, I preferred the version of her that rose about the limits of what “most people” could handle, or would be expected to handle. Anyways, great blog! I look forward to reading more reviews 🙂

    • Thank you! 🙂 I haven’t read Mockingjay yet, I’m saving it to read on a long haul flight because I know it will captivate all my attention, so it will be perfect for if I get bored. The way you’ve described it sounds great, I can’t wait to read it 🙂
      Ahh, I’m glad you agree and that it wasn’t just me, I was worried I was getting a bit picky, because of exactly what you described above, in her situation I’d probably be running around like a headless chicken 😛
      Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing more of you around these here parts 😉

    • Hi Matthew, thanks for stopping by 🙂
      I understand your reasoning behind that. The way it is written, the romance side, and also the theme of uncertainty and being unsure of your place in the world are all very teen driven issues, and this of course is it’s main target audience. However, I do feel like other well known books such as Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman it has a much wider appeal than it’s narrow teen base, and I do in fact know adults that have enjoyed it.
      Feel free to disagree though, this is only my personal opinion and is not necessarily right! 🙂
      I will check out your review of Catching Fire, it will be interesting to see your take on it!

  4. LOL, I was the first to comment last time but this time I know what’s going on 😀

    Something I’ve always noticed about series(books) in general is that, the first book always seems better, more exciting and I think it’s simply because everything is new and we’re being introduced to the main characters and getting to know them. By the second book, we already know them and so evrything does seems slow-paced. The only exception is Harry Potter, which just seemed to be getting better and better 🙂 Still, in spite of this, I still enjoyed it and I feel stupid for saying this but I never saw the twist with victor-tributes coming. It came as a shock to me, LOL.

    I understand what you mean about Katniss’ character in this one. She did seem like a whiny little sissy in this one didn’t she? However I agree with Collins’ to portray her this way. It was a reflection of how the Games can affect a victor in the aftermath. You can see it in Haymitch’s drinking, the psychological problems of the others, the morphlings etc. In the first book, she was always on top of things but for her to be her normal self in this one would have been incongruent and lazy on Collins’ part. So I think she did the right thing there, in my opinion. Plus, I hate a main character who’s always so strong and above things especially after surviving something traumatic, in real life, they’d be superhuman… 😀

    • Haha how poetic. 😛 Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, uni work has been calling *sigh*.

      I think your completely right, something about discovering new characters and a whole new world for the first time is often the best part of reading a book and that’s why the first one often seems better. I think it could also be argued that the author spends the longest time on the first book as well, and first is the one that has to really sell the concept to the publishers. Haha that really is the amazing thing about Harry Potter!

      Ahh I’m glad it wasn’t just me. 🙂 Yeah that was my trouble writing this review, although I found it annoying I also kind of recognized as a reader that it needed to be done. It would be so unrealistic just for her to carry on as normal! I guess after her being so kick-ass in the first one it just felt like a little bit of a disappointment, but I still loved the book!

      I hope you enjoy the last book!

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