Book Review – Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Format: Hardback
Written: 2009
Published: 2009

To start off, if you haven’t read Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins then I suggest you don’t read any further, as there will be some spoilers to the first book. Also, before you read this review I recommend you check out my review of The Hunger Games.  Clearly having read Hunger Games, the first book in the trilogy, and liking it well enough, I decided to pick up and buy this book, little did I know I was to be disappointed.

I had certain expectations, when approaching the book and expected Katniss to be similar to how she was in The Hunger Games, and for the story to be equally interesting.  When I started reading the book, I found that Katniss, the main heroine, had gone from a self-sacrificing young woman who was fighting against all odds, to a very selfish and self-centered little girl who seemed to spend most of her time going “woe is me” rather than stepping up and fighting against the wrongs that are in her life.  I will admit that she has been through a lot and had a right to be uspest, but in the fist book she fought and stood up against the wrongs in her life, I expected her to do the same thing again, and yet she didn’t.  Aside from Katniss’ pity party, as I like to call it, there is a lot of debate in the novel of who she loves and wants to be with more (Gale or Peeta).  To complicate this debate a little more she has to pretend to love Peeta to keep herself and her family alive, and keep Gale at a distance.  The whole debate on who she loves and her pity party did not interest me in the least.  Instead of sympathizing with Katniss, I felt bad for the boys who were in some ways being strung along by her, and hating how they couldn’t see Katniss for what she really was, an annoying selfish little girl.

The one redeeming quality of the book, for me, was the state of the world, Panem. I admit, it was a little interesting, as there was rumors of 13th district, and a massive rebellion going on.  In the end though, I found myself reading the book to know what happened to the supporting characters, such as Peeta and Haymitch and other characters that are introduced along the way in this book, such as Finnick .  Not even the Hunger Games that Katniss was thrown back into was that interesting.  It was weak in comparison to the games you see in the first book.

In the end, there were moments that I thoroughly enjoyed, but on the whole Catching Fire is the weaker sibling to the first book. I was disappointed by Catching Fire, but I would still give it a three page rating as it wasn’t too bad of a read.  I was entertained, and invested in the lives of those surrounding Katniss which is sometimes enough to carry a book, but it is not yet enough to cause me to eagerly seek out the third and final book in the series just yet.

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. warpcordova
    Oct 12, 2012 @ 20:18:16

    I kindly offer a differing opinion of your 3 page review of this monstrous abortion of a sequel. http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2012/05/20/catching-fire-making-a-dollar-gripping-story/

    Reply

    • Misheal Crocker
      Oct 12, 2012 @ 20:32:10

      I liked your view and you have some great points. It was a long drawn out set up for the third book which I still haven’t read. I get where you are coming from in your review and my rating was an act of kindness and really the side characters was all I was really interested in. It was also bits like the guy in district 11 whistling that caused me to be kind in my rating. I seriously did debate giving this book a two because most of it was crap but I wasn’t dragging my feet kicking and screaming to finish it like a few other books which I’ll be reviewing soon. Picking up Mocking Jay will be a dragging my feet moment I have had the misfortune of reading the first chapter of the third book due to a free sample and in my opinion “Not-Katniss” is even worse than she was in Catching Fire. Eventually I might read Mocking Jay simply because I don’t like leaving things unfinished and I’ve heard a few things about side characters that I like.

      Reply

  2. Mandi M. Lynch, author
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 16:17:18

    Both of you need to review the third book.

    Reply

  3. Catherine Gracey
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 23:17:14

    And suddenly I feel like the only person in the forum who liked book two. For me this book was all about the psychology, where book one was all about survival. It was the crushing realisation that there was no safety, no way to win, that the game never ended because it was never about the hunger games at all.

    Katniss would have lost all plausibility for me if she had remained the same strong, defiant woman from the initial book, because all along she was fundamentally a strong, defiant child. Suddenly she is growing up far faster than she can deal with, and learning that everything she believed about her world was a lie. I saw book one as surface level, and book two as diving into hidden realms that were far more deadly than the games could dream of being.

    However, I think we’re (so far) all agreed on the third book set up criticism. Do you think this annoyed us because the first book finished so decisively, while this one remained open? It’s almost like the Hunger Games was a stand alone project, and the second two were added on after a surprise three book deal.

    Reply

    • Misheal Crocker
      Oct 16, 2012 @ 06:09:38

      I’m not saying that I would want Katniss to be exactly the same. I agree with you Catherine that her being exactly the same would have been a problem, but to me she did a 180 from what she was in the first book. I mean she barely fought or stood up and had temper tantrums. I mean some whining and crying would make sense to me but all the time as it was was just annoying and not an enjoyable read, and I still hold to the fact that the games themselves were way weaker in this book than the last.

      Reply

  4. Mandi M. Lynch, author
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 00:56:32

    Having not read any of them (I’ve seen the first movie)… I think that the problem is that she went from kickass to – how do we phrase that, Jason? Bella Katness Swan Everdeen. She should have had a lot to deal with, but should she have been a total whiney fluff? Not so much.

    I do agree with the whole standalone thing. I think that’s the downfall of a lot of things – they are meant as single books and aren’t.

    Reply

  5. Mandi M. Lynch, author
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 00:57:11

    Also, Jason, I promise I’ll never ban you from the site. Just don’t hit me. :p

    Reply

  6. Anne Michaud
    Oct 26, 2012 @ 16:04:04

    I think I preferred this second installment than the first – Collins is so creative with the world she created, and gets really nasty with the punishment any rebels get.

    Can’t wait to see the movie, too…hopefully, they won’t screw it up!

    Happy #CoffinHop 🙂

    Reply

  7. Katherine Coble
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 13:16:25

    I’m late to the party but I think it’s safe to…politely say that I really only liked Book 1. The rest of it is….junk.

    Reply

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