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Catching Fire

A book by Suzanne Collins

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Better than the first, but still not great

  • Aug 25, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+1
I had serious problems with the first book in this series, "Hunger Games". I thought it was a trite rip-off of "Battle Royale", complete with an asinine, unworkable premise and a veritable checklist of sci-fi, distopian future cliches. My opinion of it remains unchanged.

Thankfully "Catching Fire" is somewhat better, but only somewhat.

The story picks up with the end of the first book, showing Katniss (what a stupid name), and her friend, Peeta (what a stupid name), traveling across Panem (what a stupid... oh, you get the idea), on a victory tour. They're basically being sent out to quell any notions that the local districts might have about rebellion. Hmmm... the government rounds up and basically murders large groups of children every year and, surprise, there's a rebellion? Big shock, and just part of why the premise is fatally flawed, but moving on.

Eventually it's announced that there's going to be a Big Super Special Hyper-Mega Cool Hunger Games this year with several of the survivors from the earlier games going in to compete. Guess who ends up getting picked?

Mostly the book is just rather dull. There's some interesting scenes, like Katniss meeting up with the President and a nice moment involving a wedding dress, but even some of the more interesting scenes just come off as retreads of the first book. Even the set-piece, the Games, aren't that interesting.

There's also an odd morality to this story. There's a huge amount of violence in the book, as there was in the first (way more than one would want any kid under a certain age to read, and I'm surprised Scholastic publishes this), but there is no sex at all. None. Katniss is seventeen and when she gets kissed at one point towards the end of the book, it's like she's having her first orgasm. She's allowed by the author to go around killing people, but clearly must remain a virgin. Yeah, that had me rolling my eyes. Also amusing; there's no Bad Language in the book.

I'm sure fans of the first book will be wetting their knickers with the chance to read this one. I'm sure if they liked that, they'll like this, since large parts of it are pretty much the same. Anyone else, probably not.

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More Catching Fire reviews
review by . December 09, 2010
Dystopia, Big Brother and post-apocalypse are themes that have been included in novels so often that it could well be a life's work for a librarian to prepare an exhaustive catalogue of titles. But, in terms of quality, the devil is in the details and Suzanne Collins has justifiably taken the world by storm. Suzanne Collins HUNGER GAMES trilogy, inspired by the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, is an innovative, dare I say unique, young adult twist on the recurring themes of violence, cruely, …
review by . November 13, 2010
Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, has survived the Hunger Games saving not only herself but also her fellow tribute, Peeta Mellark.      But there can only be one victor in the Games and her desperate move has made Katniss a target not only of the Capitol's anger but also of the fledgling rebellion. Saving herself and Peeta set off a spark that is spreading quickly through the other districts. A spark that the girl on fire is not sure she wants to put out.      …
review by . August 29, 2010
"A visit from President Snow. Districts on the verge of uprisings. A direct death threat to Gale, with others to follow. Everyone I love doomed. And who knows who else will pay for my acions? Unless I turn things around on this tour. Quiet the discontent and put the president's mind at rest. And how? By proving to the country beyond any shadow of a doubt that I love Peeta Mellark." -- From Catching Fire    In the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss, Peeta, …
review by . June 16, 2010
Catching Fire is the 2nd book in Suzanne Collins’ fascinating Hunger Games trilogy. This book picks up where The Hunger Games left off. After winning the Hunger Games with Peeta Malarck, Katniss Everdeen is back in District Twelve with fame and fortune, but Katniss soon finds she has created an uprising in Panem, something she hadn't counted on. She may be famous for winning the annual Hunger Games, but she has become the symbol for a revolution that threatens to overthrow the government.   …
review by . May 10, 2010
"Catching Fire" is a rare case - a book where a sequel lives up to (and perhaps exceeds) the standard set by an excellent first book.    The story picks up only a few months after "The Hunger Games" leaves off, and wastes little time before setting of at the same breakneck pace, in unexpected directions. Suzanne Collins has a talent for efficient, clever plotting with lots of twists and turns, and she shows a unique understanding of her characters through clever one-off lines …
review by . August 27, 2010
My Summary (SPOILER FOR 1st BOOK!): After surviving the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta both try to live their lives as normally as they can. Only problem is that everyone is supposed to believe they're in love, some Districts are starting to unsettle and rebel against the Capital, and it all just might be Katniss's fault.    Katniss struggles with her feelings before she's off for the victory tour, unable to truly love Peeta, but things with Gale aren't going well either. Yet, …
Quick Tip by . June 21, 2010
Fantastic! Even better than Hunger Games. Awaiting the next one.
Quick Tip by . June 12, 2010
These are going to make great movies. Quick moving and well put together in action and characters
Quick Tip by . June 04, 2010
Suzanne Collins is a fantastic writer, bringing about some serious topics that gets you thinking without the reader even realizing it.
review by . September 25, 2009
In 2008, Suzanne Collins came out with The Hunger Games.  A startling dystopia about a sadistic capital that puts kids in an arena to fight to the death for the sake of entertainment.  The winner was given fame and fortune.  It placed us in the shoes of Katniss Everdeen, as she went into the arena with a boy named Peeta.  Against all odds, she survived... and so did Peeta.  What she's unaware of is that her little stunt which allowed them both to survive in the first place …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
Ranked #60
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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Wiki

Starred Review. Gr 7 Up--Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. InThe Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified.Catching Fireis divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to pleaseHunger Gamesfans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0439023491
ISBN-13: 978-0439023498
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Children's Books, Teens
Publisher: Scholastic Press
First to Review

"Collins has done it again"
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