Saturday, 22 December 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1-407109-36-7
Pages: 472
Series: Hunger Games #2
Type: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Purchased

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have survived the Hunger Games. Unfortunately for them, their survival comes at a cost as their actions in the Games have triggered a rebellion against the Capitol. Now Peeta and Katniss must play an even more deadly game as the nation watches on. With higher stakes than ever a single wrong move could lead to unimaginable consequences.

This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy (after The Hunger Games) and one I approached with a little trepidation. While I liked the Hunger Games I did feel it had been overhyped so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this, but I actually enjoyed this a little more than the first. The rebellion and pressure from the Capitol create a sense of tension from the first page and I found myself drawn in to what would happen next.

The storyline is cleverly plotted, managing to show how a government can manipulate individuals by making broader changes that affect the people around her. President Snow is incredibly creepy (his breath smells like blood!) and yet he never acts against Katniss directly as it is easier to control the people around her. Some of the twists and turns were surprising, but one major twist was easy to predict from the political machinations at the start.

Katniss and Peeta are recovering from the Hunger Games, part of which entails moving into the luxury winners village on the edge of District 12. But their return shows them things didn't remain the same while they were away, and they are forced to continue their "relationship". Katniss's best friend Gale has become more than that to her and he has looked after her mother and Prim while she was away. I was impressed that Katniss's mother is finally acting like a parent upon her return.

This is the book where the love triangle of Katniss, Peeta and Gale really gets started and for me it is one of my least favourite parts of the book. While Katniss kicks butt and looks after her family, she struggles with any romantic connection and spends most of the book floundering around while Peeta and Gale try to support her. Love triangles are predominant in YA fiction these days and unfortunately this is one of the ones that detracts from the storyline.

The supporting characters have always shined brighter for me in this series than the leads, so I was glad to see the majority of them return. We get to see how Prim is doing, and the winners tour means that Cinna, Effie and Haymitch all have key roles to play. I was thrilled to see Cinna get more development and a storyline of his own as he has always been a stand out character to me.

All in all this was a good read and I'm looking forward to Mockingjay.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 44/50

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