Thursday 31 October 2013

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #2)

I am terrible at reading and completing series of books.  I read The Hunger Games back in March 2011 and only now have I got around to reading the next book in the series.  Hopefully I won't wait another two and a half years to pick up Mockingjay!

Warning: this review contains spoilers for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  If you haven't read them yet, proceed with caution!

Catching Fire picks up a few months after the end of The Hunger Games.  Katniss and Peeta are living with their families in Victor's Village and trying to get life somewhat back to normal.  But life in most of the districts is far from normal; Katniss' trick at the end of the Hunger Games has been viewed as an act of rebellion against the Capitol and violent uprisings are spreading.  With their victory tour coming up, President Snow himself pays Katniss a visit and threatens her - she must find a way to calm the districts, or there will be severe consequences.  But things have already gone too far for that; Katniss is a symbol of a growing revolution and she's considered too dangerous to live a normal life.

I kept putting off reading Catching Fire because I thought that Hunger Games had a strong ending and actually worked well as a stand-alone book.  But my husband has read and enjoyed the whole series, and I want to see the new film when it comes out, so I decided to finally take the plunge.  And I'm genuinely glad I did.  It was great to go back to District 12 and find out a bit more about what life is actually like in Panem for ordinary people.  I enjoyed the Victory Tour as we got to visit several other districts with Katniss and Peeta and the hints of rebellion were well done.  When there's a crackdown in District 12, it doesn't come as a surprise.

What I was most worried about in this book was the fact that I already knew that Katniss would have to go into the arena and play the Hunger Games again.  I thought this would come across as overly repetitive from the first novel and that it was a bit of a lazy plot device.  But actually, it worked.  The Capitol need to eliminate Katniss but she is far too popular for them to murder her, as that would incite a genuine revolution.  So it makes sense to hold a special Victor's edition of the Games and hope that it solves the problem for them.  I liked meeting the previous victors and the Games themselves had a very different feel to them, there was far more co-operation are more desire for survival.

The only thing that annoyed me in this novel was Katniss herself.  I think she's a great character but she's not too good on picking up on clues.  I felt like it was obvious that there was some kind of underground conspiracy going on with regard to the Games themselves and District 13, but she was truly oblivious despite numerous clues.  Whilst the ending didn't come as a total surprise to me, as I had figured out something was going on, there was enough of a cliffhanger to make me keen to pick up Mockingjay over the next couple of months.

All in all, a fast-paced and enjoyable read that stands up well next to it's predecessor.

Source: Personal copy
First Published: 2009
My Edition: Scholastic, 2011
Score: 4 out of 5


  1. When I read this, I was shocked by Katniss going back into the arena but ultimately impressed by Collins' boldness because of how well she pulls it off and how unique she makes the second game. I agree though, one of Katniss's biggest weaknesses as a character is her obnoxious ignorance, particularly whenever Peeta's kissing her and she's all, "What is this feeling that I feel?!" It's so annoying. Other than that, though, I love this series. I hope you get to Mockingjay soon!

  2. I'm your opposite. I find that if I enjoyed the first book of a series then I have to get hold of the following books asap. That does cause a problem when a series is still running.

    I loved the games of the Catching Fire better - I thought it was pretty clever. And there were less deaths.

  3. I didn't read on after first paragraph because I haven't read the books, and it's so bizarre, I just thought the other day, if there is a popular book series out there that I have NO interest to read then for some reason it's Hunger Games. There is no logical explanation - it's YA but I read some YA; it's dystopian, which I generally like... Maybe I'll give those a go once I get an e-reader (hopefully soon, birthday coming up ).

  4. I think I devoured Catching Fire over a few weekends! While I really liked it, I'm confused as a reader why the character Katniss is a phenomenon. I thought she really got too involved over what Peeta or Gale thought about her... but still the second one for me is the BEST! Great review!

  5. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the second instalment of this series. I am really looking forward to the next film! I hope you read the final instalment as I would be interested to hear your thoughts as it was the weaker one for me.

    1. OMG, me too. I am still mad at Mockingjay! Despite that, I love the series and would consider reading it again.

  6. Before I started blogging, I used to chain read books in series but that's completely changed recently. I really liked The Hunger Games when I read it last year and already owned the whole trilogy when I finished it but I only got to Catching Fire a couple of months ago.

    I actually preferred Catching Fire to The Hunger Games. I liked the hints at rebellion and thought it gave the games a bit more depth. I actually have already read Mockingjay and, although I did like it, I didn't like it anywhere near as much as the first two. Hope you like it when you get to it eventually ;)

  7. I haven't read this since right before MJ came out, but I wasn't sure how to take them having to go back when I first learned about it, but I also thought it was smart. I liked meeting the victors and how you see they're part of a plan and Katniss has no idea what is going on. She's so strong and I get why they make her the focal point but sometimes she definitely needs a clue. I'm glad you liked this one!

  8. I don't do too well at reading straight through series either!

    I will be interested to see what you think of the third book. There are definitely parts that are stronger than others, but there is a good reason this series is so popular!

  9. I am waiting until I have watched the film, then going to read the final book.

  10. Gosh it is telepathy Sam.
    I wrote a comment few hours ago and it got lost and you posted on my blog. I thought my comment must have gone through.. maybe not.

    Here's what I said. I walked past Subway the sandwich chain one day and saw the movie poster of Catching Fire on display. It sent me into some degree of panic as I like to read the book first then watch the movie.

    I am still at the first book in the series and love both the book and the movie a lot. It is wonderful to see that you have read and enjoy it!

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, took me about a day to read it simply cuz I couldn't put it down. got my free edition downloaded/borrowed through amazon prime and while I was reading I was so entranced in the story I literally felt a need to have to know what happens next, continuously. and in the end I felt nicely content.

    Grace Crawford Alaska Grizzly Bear Tours