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Catching Fire

A book by Suzanne Collins

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The tiniest spark can grow into an inferno!

  • Dec 9, 2010
Rating:
+5
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, despair, privation and revolution that are the mainstays of these types of novels.

A distant future North America, now called Panem, is divided into 12 distinct economic districts ruled with an iron fist from the Capital located in the northwest Rocky Mountain region of the former USA. Every year, in a bizarre celebration called "The Reaping", the Capital "honours" each district by selecting two children that will be called "tributes", one boy and one girl, to participate in the Hunger Games. The 24 children are released into a wilderness arena and are expected not only to survive but to battle one another to the death. The last remaining child is returned to his or her district as a conquering hero.

The games, reminiscent of Rome's bloodthirsty gladiatoral combats, are televised as an extravaganza throughout Panem on a minute by minute basis. Carefully engineered from start to finish, the sculpted terrain of the "arena" might be anything from arctic or forest to desert or rugged mountains; an unknown supply of weapons and supplies are provided but will have to be fought for and "won" as part of the entertainment; the games are replete with intermittent technologically engineered disasters such as fires, teeming rainstorms, rogue waves, insect infestations or earthquakes; genetically engineered humans or animals called "muttations" are periodically released to provide extra challenge for the tributes or extra entertainment for the viewing audience.

Of course, the entire affair is intended to serve notice to Panem of the continuing absolute authority of the Capital over the Districts. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from the perennial underdog District 12, having acted in an entirely unforeseeable manner, survived against all odds as the first dual Games' winners in Panem's history. Although it wasn't their intention to embarrass the Capital and Panem's ruthless president, that unprecedented joint survival is now serving as a lightning rod for years of accumulated hunger, deprivation, slavery, anger and dissatisfaction in the country. Panem is a tinderbox and the firestorm of revolution is but one careless tossed match from ignition.

In an attempt to defuse the focal point of the growing rebellion, the Games' rules are arbitrarily changed to ensure that Peeta and Katniss are selected and forced to participate in a second Hunger Games. Clearly the fix is in! Katniss and Peeta are only too aware that they cannot be allowed to survive the Games. But it is also obvious that the engineers of the Games' challenges haven't considered the depth of ingenuity that results from an indomitable will to live or from love, honour, loyalty, friendship, courage and heroism. Knowing that this time around, there will definitely be only one winner, both Katniss and Peeta are determined to sacrifice themselves to ensure the ultimate victory of the other!

Readers and reviewers comment on the failings of the second book of trilogies so often that one almost comes to expect it. But, make no mistake, there are no such shortcoming in CATCHING FIRE! If I may say so, the title is an apt metaphor for the continuing effective plot and pacing of the trilogy. The story moves with lightning speed. Katniss and Peeta grow and mature into outward looking young adults, aware of their importance in the political changes that are happening in their country, aware of their responsibility for each other's lives and the lives of their friends and families. They grow increasingly confused about the depth, complexity and even the very nature of their feelings toward one another. They begin to embrace their leadership role in a revolution that is clearly picking up momentum and it is clear that the President of Panem is losing his iron grip on an increasingly hostile and dissatisfied populace.

And, as if the magnificent story of CATCHING GAMES wasn't enough to stand on its own, Suzanne Collins has ended it with a positively hair-raising one line cliff hanger that will ensure her readers gasp and move on to THE MOCKINGJAY still holding their breath!

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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More Catching Fire reviews
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 …
review by . October 21, 2009
Katniss and Peeta's unprecedented sharing of victory in the last hunger games managed, inadvertently, to demonstrate to all of the twelve oppressed colonies that the capitol's wishes can be defied. Now, when they'd really just like to spend time with and take care of their families, the tyrannical president has other plans, designed to demonstrate conclusively that even the strongest among the colonies can be crushed.     This riveting sequel to the intense beginning of Suzanne …
About the reviewer
Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #16
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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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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