Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire - Suzanne CollinsCatching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Scholastic, 2009
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository * 

When I posted about The Hunger Games, some of you said I would like the second and third book in the series less. Others suggested I may enjoy them more, because they address some of the questions that I had missed being raised in the first book. I know this may sound weird, but both groups were right in their way: I found the plot to be weaker, but I was relieved to find themes and questions addressed, instead of the book clinically describing what was happening.

[spoilers]

To me, the first half of the book read like an epilogue to The Hunger Games. And I actually appreciated this, very much. It explored the cruelties of the Capitol, it explored mechanisms of oppression and resistance, it explored the emotional fall-out of murder, even if forced by a regime. It made me feel all the emotions I was missing in the first book, and I think it might make me appreciate The Hunger Games more, if I revisit it.

I cannot seem to decide whether the fact that Katniss and Peeta are forced to enter another Hunger Games helps to underline and reinforce the cruelty of the regime, or if it felt a little silly and unoriginal. I did appreciate how it explored the dynamics of people forming an alliance in the games more and I liked that we learned more about the other contestants, and yet..

There is something about Collins’ prose that I find a little awkward, but I cannot seem to put my finger on what it is that I find less than perfect. I do know that the last third of the book felt a little rushed, and I kept backing up a few pages to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I felt that the whole games and the eventual escape could have been written about more in-depth.

And then there’s the love triangle. Am I allowed a small ARGH? This book really works up this angle, having Katniss pretend to be in love with Peeta, but secretly (perhaps?) liking Gale more. Towards the end of the book she says that Gale feels like home, but see, I cannot see why. Why do I need to care about this triangle? The whole triangle feels forced, both boys receive little to no character development, especially Gale. It almost feels, while reading the book, that Katniss thinks about who she cares for more because she feels she has to. Nothing of her love for Peeta or Gale feels natural, both are forced by circumstances and their love for her. I may prefer Peeta over Gale at this point, but I think that is only because we have seen more of him than we have seen of Gale.

[/spoilers]

Catching Fire was in part more enjoyable to me, because it allowed for more emotions about the whole circumstances in which Katniss and her friends and family live. On the other hand, I felt the plot in itself was weaker at some points, and Collins’ style still feels awkward to me at times.

As for book three, I hope to read it soon. My sister gave me her copies of the first two books on loan (hence, the different covers for book 1 and book 2), but she does not own the third one. I’m now hoping to read it by borrowing it from a friend of hers, but I’m not sure when/if that will happen.

Click through for other opinions:

My Friend AmyYA Reads, Books and Movies, the parchment girl, The Wertzone, Presenting Lenore, Dear Author, Maw Books Blog, Bewitched Bookworms, Everybody Needs a Little Romance, A Year of Reading,  Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Monniblog Linus’s Blanket, Booknerd Reviews, Unputdownables, Good Books & Good Wine, Ink and Paper, Annette’s Book Spot, Pile o’ Books, Fyrefly’s Book Blog, I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read, The Book Lady’s Blog, The Speculative Scotsman, YA Lit, My Overstuffed Bookshelf, Books, Movies and Chinese Food, The Book Bundle, Vulpes Libris, Bibliofreakblog, Book Confessions, Lesa’s Book Critiques, Angieville, Book Addiction, Write Meg, Beth Fish Reads, Shhh I’m reading, Miss Remmers’ Reviews, The Book Pirate, The Book Smugglers, nineseveneight, Reading with Tequila, Goddess Librarian, One Literature Nut, an adventure in reading, You’ve GOTTA Read This, I’m Booking It, Leeswammes, Reading Through Life, The Bluestocking Society, Rhapsody in Books, Adventures in Reading, 3 evil cousins, 1morechapter, Bart’s Bookshelf, Farm Lane Books, Confessions of a Book Hoarder, Devourer of Books, Book Harbinger, Bib-Laura-Graphy, So Little Time For Books, Bookish BlatherEveryday Reading, The Well-Read Child, The Electrical Book Cafe, Reality Bites, Bean Bag Books, S. Krishna’s Books, Insert Book Title, Let’s eat Grandpa, vvb32, From the Bookshelf of T.B., Nomad Reader, The YA Book Blogger, Tif Talks Books, The Book Obsession, The Reading Zone, Babbling About Books, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, In Which Our Hero.
Pfew. SO MANY REVIEWS! Did I miss yours? Let me know and I will add your post to the list.

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11 thoughts on “Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

  1. sakura

    I read all the three in quick succession so it felt like one long story to me which probably added to the fact that I didn’t really feel this was worse than the first. I do see your point about the love triangle. I guess I found the games themselves more interesting than the love story. Still, it’s a brilliant series and I’m looking forward to the film:)

    Reply
  2. Kayleigh Murphy

    I actually preferred book 2 and 3 because the first book is an almost identical plot to a Japanese film that I love (and have seen 10000s of times) so nothing was new or unique or surprising.

    That said, I completely agree with you on your point about Collins’ prose, and the triangle. I never got the feeling that she actually loved Gale, more that it was an obligation of how she should feel given their history. I feel like the whole triangle is actually more abstract, and that Peeta symbolises the Games, the Capitol and all of the constraints that style of life has, while Gale represents the freedom of rebellion. Considering where the book heads in book two (and 3 -but no spoilers!) that’s what stood out to me.

    Reply
  3. Sandy

    The kids and I listened to all three on audio, and we certainly liked the second one, but there was a unanimous groan when we learned they were having ANOTHER Hunger Games. Again!? Please! Still, we were kept on the edge of our seats and were entertained. I wasn’t so impressed by the love triangle, but my teenage daughter was, and has her opinions! For us, it is in the 3rd installment where it all fell apart, but that is just us.

    Reply
  4. nomadreader

    I will say this: expect more love story than should exist in a teen novel (or I’m getting old…) I wasn’t wild about the third one, but after some time has passed, I hate it less. I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts on it!

    Reply
  5. zibilee

    While I liked this book, I felt slightly disappointed with it, and in particular, I didn’t understand why we had to revisit the games again. It almost felt like Collins had written herself into a corner and needed to recapture the magic of the first book. It was a really good read, but I had a few problems with it. Very thoughtful review today!

    Reply
  6. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I felt like with the love triangle in these books they were obviously thematically driven which made it, idk, not too big of an issue for me, because it’s interesting to discuss on a thematic level. I won’t say anything else until you’re read the third one though!

    Reply
  7. buriedinprint

    Your response is quite similar to mine, although I did enjoy it overall. I read it around the same time that I read Hiromi Goto’s Half World, though, and it was so wonderfully refreshing, to have a novel that was targeting the same age group, with a fantastic heroine who is perfectly imperfect, that did NOT rely on a romantic subplot; I think that might have made me even more impatient with the triangle in this one than I would have been (possibly) otherwise. But you know how often the way that you feel about one book bleeds onto the next…we can’t help it. And, in the end, I found CF wholly entertaining, so I’m not complaining!

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Book Review: “Catching Fire” « The Cheap Reader

  9. Pingback: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins | Iris on Books

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