For those who haven’t read the first Hunger Games, do not read this review since it will probably contain spoilers. Instead, check out my review of The Hunger Games to know why you should read it.
Catching Fire picks up right after Hunger Games left off. After discovering that Katniss’ interactions with him were a performance in the Games, Peeta ignores Katniss and their tense relationship becomes even more fraught with problems, as Katniss’ best friend, Gale, vies for her attention.
At the same time, President Snow warns Katniss of the trouble she caused, when she held out those berries to Peeta at the end of the Hunger Games, which is now being viewed as an act of defiance against the Capitol, and all it stands for.
As Katniss and Peeta tour the districts on their victory tour, they are well aware of the resistance forming in the districts, aware that one act, one word, one misstep could set the whole country ablaze. Fire is catching.
After a breathtaking introduction to the world of the Hunger Games and to Panem, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss, Peeta, Haymith, and Gale with gusto, as Katniss’ world threatens to erupt into flames around her. And its all she can do to try to stop the fire from catching, from consuming her family and friends, and her whole being.
The romance in this book also heats up. People were apparently ‘Team Gale’ in the first book, which I frankly didn’t get, since he was barely in the book; he was just remembered a lot by Katniss. But in Catching Fire, Gale is given much more time and attention, so that readers are able to see the extent of their relationship, which has turned into more of a romantic one of late. Call me a genius, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that there’s another hot-blooded male vying for her heart.
That brings me to Peeta and Katniss. What started as a spark between them in the first book, turns into a flame in this book. Peeta’s steadfastness, his honesty, and power with words will make readers fall in love with him all over again. Katniss has a harder time, but their relationship does blossom and change as circumstances change, and Katniss vows to protect him, like he’s protected her.
You might notice I’m being a bit vague about the plot, which is in fact intentional. And this is because Suzanne Collins throws a big wrench into the plot halfway through, which makes you gape and gasp in shock, wondering if this is actually happening. She does this again with the ending, which I have to say, is one of the most cliff-hanger-y endings I’ve ever read.
I read Catching Fire when it first came out in 2009, and obviously Mockingjay wasn’t out yet, so when I flipped to the last page, at 2 a.m. one night, it was all I could do not to gasp and mutter out loud, as it really leaves a hundred questions hanging, as you’re dying to read the next book. Suzanne Collins is especially good at this in general; every chapter ending in both Hunger Games and Catching Fire left me breathless, wanting more, so that I had to keep reading.
And that’s what reading this book was like. Catching Fire will break your heart. Probably more than once. It once again reminds you the frailty of human life and relationships, and also to cherish all you have. It makes you fall in love with Katniss again, as she struggles to protect everyone around her, while failing to protect herself. It horrifies you as Panem, a country built in the ashes of North America, threatens to crumble again, as the sparks of rebellion and resistance catch fire.
So for that: 5/5
‘Till next time,
P.S- Again, I’m well into Mockingjay so look forward to my review soon!
P.P.S- Also, interestingly enough, a new teaser trailer for the Hunger Games just came out. It looks quite lame, to be honest. All you see is trees. Trees. Katniss running. More trees. And then Katniss shooting her arrow. I hope there’s a better trailer soon!