Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
I had heard some so-so comments about the second book in this trilogy and I certainly believe if you don’t read the books close together, some things might seem.. stretched to the point of disbelief. Particularly when it comes to the relationships Katniss has with Peeta, Gale and Haymitch.
That being said, I actually really enjoyed Catching Fire.
I felt the progression of Katniss growing into her new role as a victor after the Hunger Games was done in a timely manner. Considering it’s nearly been a year since she and Peeta won the Hunger Games, it was interesting to see how she was handling the new found fame as well as the PTSD she’s suffering through.
Many people had an issue with her initial upset at being forced to become engaged to Peeta, her confusion over her feelings for both Peeta and Gale, as well as her overall behavior in this book. I truly felt Suzanne Collins did a very realistic job when it came to Katniss’ responses to everything that was laid out in her path. Here she is, constantly reliving traumatic experiences from the Hunger Games and all of Panem has their eyes on her every move. No one wants to be forced into a marriage and certainly not when they still have feelings for another man. So Katniss’s responses are beyond justified and reasonable.
The part I had the biggest issue with was the Third Quarter Quell. I felt like it was slipped into the book at the last moment and not nearly as entertaining (not necessarily in a good way, but in an intriguing way) as the Hunger Games. Let’s face it, half of the book was about the tour through the districts and leading up to the Quarter Quell. Then as the Quarter Quell begins, the pacing of the storyline seems rushed. The only redeeming parts come in the form of the other opponents who have aligned themselves with Katniss. However I expected it to end, I admit I was surprised to see Katniss and most of the others rescued and whisked away to District 13, which was supposed to be completely destroyed.
Still a great book, just failed to live up to the original.