YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 1st 2009
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (5/5 stars)

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Astonishing and impossible to put down, Catching Fire is a terrific continuation of Katniss’s story from the remarkable Hunger Games. Collins has met, and exceeded, my expectations for Catching Fire. In the first book we watch as Katniss grows into a strong young woman, now she is as strong willed and independent as ever, and I applauded to her for being so resourceful and resilient. In the first half of the novel, we see the lives in the Districts through Katniss’s eyes as she tour the Districts. There are new characters introduced and of course, a villain as well, President Snow. The other characters were very well fleshed out and I was very pleased to see more of Gale in this book (will elaborate on that later).

There was a twist and I honestly did not see it coming. The last chapter confirmed all her suspicions and I didn’t know whether I should smile with joy or burst into tears because of something else.

One thing that irked me in Hunger Games was that there was so little of Gale it was impossible to choose between him and Peeta because he have not seen more of Gale yet. Collins delivers more of Gale in this sequel but I wanted more. I was initially rooting for Gale but I disliked his frosty demeanor. Frankly, I wanted to scream at him “TREAT KATNISS NICER! Can’t you forgive her?”. But in a way, Gale’s behavior is completely realistic, the characters are all flawed, and Gale is not an exception. As Katniss struggles with her feelings for Peeta, I can hardly blame her for it. Peeta is absolutely wonderful guy, he comforts Katniss when she has nightmares and is willing to die for her. Awwww. So I think I am now leaning towards Team Peeta because he is such a nice guy. Nice is an understatement, actually.

The cliffhanger ending is positively brutal! I want a time machine so that I can fast-forward into the future and gets my hands on Hunger Games #3! I am definitely picking up the third and final installment to the Hunger Games on August 24 2010. It will be exciting to see how everything plays out in the end. Collins has written a series that is impossible to forget, full of action, excitement, heart-pounding moments and romance.

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