Review : Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Pages : 391
Genre : YA, Dystopia
My Rating : 

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.

I read The Hunger Games not so long ago and, like most readers, absolutely loved it. I was more than ready to know what would happen in the sequel, and so on the morning of September 1st, before my first class of the semester, I was at my favorite bookstore buying the Catching Fire. I had some expectations, but mostly I was ready for anything.

Did I enjoy Catching Fire? Absolutely. Did I spent the night up so I could finish it? Yes. Was it unputdownable? Completely. Did I feel satisfied when I turned the last page? Hmm, not really.

Despite being a fast-paced, riveting action novel, Catching Fire failed to impress me the same way its predecessor had. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it and I would absolutely recommend it to fans of the first novel. Sadly, the little things that bothered me, bothered me a lot.

There are a few things that I don’t want to get into too much so that I won’t spoil it for you who have yet to read it; what I really want to talk about, is Katniss. Katniss, a strong, intelligent, resourceful character… oh, but wait. That was Katniss from book one. Katniss from book two, however, is mostly lead by her emotions and is absolutely clueless to what’s going on around her, even when the clues are almost stamped on her forehead. It’s frustrating, as a reader, to have already guessed what is mostly going on while the heroine – who’s also the narrator – goes around making a multitude of stupid assumptions! I get that the author wanted to mislead her readers from the “final revelations”; sadly, everything was a little too obvious and ended up, in parts, predictable.

If I say “in parts predictable” though, it’s because there were still many twists and turns that I couldn’t predict. Some parts felt a little “been there, done that”, but it was fast paced and different enough for me to enjoy it. I also liked the characters, and while I don’t think Katniss is ready to settle with any of the two guys, I liked to get to know Peeta and Gale a little better in this book. While I didn’t fully enjoy the “love triangle” they created, I thought the author did a great job of describing Katniss’ feelings with them. And even more, I loved that we got to learn a little more about Haymitch! Strangely he’s one of my favorite characters.

I’m also really curious about the ending. I won’t give anything away though, but the last few sentences (and more exactly, the last one), have been troubling my mind, because I’m not sure exactly what that meant. (So much so that I’m thinking of creating a post where we could discuss the ending freely in the comments – this way, those who have yet to read it wouldn’t get the spoilers. What do you think? Will I be discussing it alone?)

In the end, I really enjoyed it. The worldbuilding is so fantastic, and despite a few disappointments in the narrator, I still love Katniss as a heroine. I read the book fast, but it still stays with me now, almost a week later, and I know it will stay on my mind a lot longer than that. I can’t wait to read the next book!

Reading order :
The Hunger Games (my review)
Catching Fire

Other reviews
(there are many, and this is just a handful of them in various colorful opinions! Also, some of them have little spoilers, so be careful if you haven’t read the book! ;)) :
WriteMeg!, The Zen Leaf, Insert book title here, Melissa’s Bookshelf, In bed with books, The Book Smugglers

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8 responses to “Review : Catching Fire”

  1. Steph says :

    I really appreciate how balanced and fair this review is. I’ve heard so much about The Hunger Games, so I knew Catching Fire had a lot to live up to. Since I haven’t started this series yet, I might wait until the last book is published (it’s going to be a trilogy, right?) before I start!

  2. Amanda says :

    Yeah, I think it was Katniss’s blindness and stupidity that really irritated me more than anything else. And you know what? I’m all for being on Team Katniss – was it you I was talking to about this the other day on Twitter? I can’t remember…anyway. Sorry for the repeat if it was. Team Katniss! 😀

  3. Juju says :

    Great honest review 🙂

  4. Megan says :

    We share so many of the same reactions to this one! 🙂 Just like you, I really enjoyed the story and stayed up until the middle of the night to finish it. But something was just missing for me — and Katniss infuriated me with her obtuseness on more than one occasion! Still, definitely a great read… and I can’t imagine I won’t run out to gobble up the third installment. Whenever that comes out. 🙂

    I’d be all for creating a post where we can chat about spoilers and such without ruining it for anyone else — you won’t be alone! That last sentence was a DOOZY. I’m so glad I didn’t skip ahead and read it… sometimes I do that, just to torture myself, I guess! Or I input it on LibraryThing as part of the common knowledge section. That would have been a bad idea!

  5. bermudaonion says :

    I’m beginning to think I’m going to be the last person in the world to read these books. My husband really enjoyed them, but liked The Hunger Games more than Catching Fire.

  6. Jackie (Farm Lane Books) says :

    I had similar problems with this book. I think you actually liked it more than me. I hadn’t noticed how irritating Katniss was until I read you review, but you are right – another negative thing to add to the review!

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