Book Review: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy.

Carrying on the story from Hunger Games, Katniss is back in District 12 and back hunting. Not that she needs to now she has money and good home for her and her family to live in since she won the Games. However, things are getting harsher in the district and there are rumours of rebellion in the other districts.

Things seem to get worse on the Victory Tour as Katniss and Peeta find themselves struggling to contain the rebellion they may have inadvertently started. When the Quarter Quell is announced, they face going back into the arena and this time, they may not get out.

This book seems a lot more violent than the previous one though slower. The book is split into three again but the titles of the parts do not give away any plot points which the first one did (see my review of Hunger Games to find out what I mean by this). The characters are developed well as are all the new characters introduced in this book. I found myself actually liking Katniss more in this and feel the relationship and Katniss’s feelings for Peeta were growing organically, something that seems to rarely happen in books. The story is well plotted and holds the reader’s attention. The development of the revolution is well written.

Collins seemed to go for shocks in this book, whether it was what happened in the square in District 11 or what Peeta and Katniss do in their individual training sessions. (I am not going to say any more as I don’t want to give away any spoilers).

It is not all positive with this book. Despite being plotted and written well, the pacing seems slow and a lot of exposition was placed in the book as an info dump, especially at the end when it could have been offered in a more active way. Whilst it is readily said in the books that the Games take the same format ever year, I couldn’t help feeling that Collins missed a trick by not switching things up. It felt repetitive and compounded the issues with pacing in the book.

I also got a little confused about what was happening in the arena, trying to keep track of the plan they put in place, why things were happening and even after rereading those sections, it still wasn’t altogether clear.

Catching Fire is written and plotted well and is an excellent sequel to the Hunger Games. It has its issues but the story is well executed and keeps the story going from the earlier book. The characters are developed well and I like Katniss more than in the previous book. Her relationship with Peeta has grown organically and very much believable. If you love the first book, you love this one too.

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