Book 2: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Okay, this is the second books I’ve read in one week. While technically the phrase “52 books in 52 weeks” implies that as long as you read 52 books in a year you’ve completed the challenge, we’re technically supposed to read one book a week, and if we read two books one week, we’re still supposed to read another book the next week. I think. That said, I’m still just aiming for 52 books. If I read more, great. If not, I’ll still be happy if I hit 52.
Warning: This review contains spoilers for The Hunger Games, the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Read at your own risk.
Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Page Count: About 400
Genre: Young adult/dystopia
For the first time ever, two tributes have been allowed to win the Hunger Games. All is not safe, though, for winners Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. They have won by defying the Capitol, and the president is not pleased. With uprisings springing up all over the country and the Quarter Quell approaching – a Hunger Games even more horrifying than normal – will Katniss and Peeta be able to keep themselves and everyone they love safe? Or is it already too late?
While this book was just as hard to put down as its predecessor was, I found that Catching Fire wasn’t nearly as dramatic as the first one. Part of it had to do with the fact that I was not crying nearly as much through this one as I had the first. Tears were definitely shed – don’t get me wrong – but I found myself more waiting to see how Katniss was going to get herself out of this mess and less worrying about the other people in the novel. I think this is mostly because of the love triangle that seems to have become quite commonplace in books these days. While there was also competition in Katniss’s mind about whom she liked better – the rebellious Gale, who has been her best friend for four years, or the kind-hearted Peeta, whose only concern in life is making sure that she is alive and happy – a large chunk of the first part of this novel deals with her relationships with those two young men – or rather her lack of relationship.
I will say this for Collins: this is the only time a love triangle has not made me want to rip out my hair and murder the person whose affection everyone is directed at. I’m sad to say that when I think of love triangles, I think of Twilight. Part of what makes this series different (apart from a captivating plot and interesting and dynamic characters) is that Katniss has been thrust into the world of romance rather quickly, and both men vying for her attention have their strengths. They want to protect her, yes, but unlike the possessive way Edward “protects” Bella. Katniss has enough strength on her own that she can offer them just as much strength and protection as they give her – at least for the most part.
That said, I think a large part of why I didn’t mind the love triangle in this one was because I was torn about who she should pick. I can now safely say that I like Peeta better, though that may only be because we’ve seen more of him in this series. I think I just end up feeling sorry for Gale, even though I have no real reason to be since I still don’t think Katniss has made up her mind which one she likes better.
Love triangle aside, this was still an excellent book. It didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had for it after the first novel, but the last hundred pages definitely upped the suspense. I can’t wait to start reading the third book. I haven’t been this captivated by a book since I read Harry Potter for the first time.