Saturday, August 16, 2014

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins | Book Review + Discussion

Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication: September 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
Format:  First Edition, 391 pages
Source: Personal Purchase
Plot in a Nutshell:
Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

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.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.
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Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:
I went ahead and read Catching Fire with the notion that it was supposed to be better than The Hunger Games. The feedback of the people I heard and read from, told me that this book was the best one in the entire trilogy and I do agree. I haven't finished Mockingjay yet, but I can already tell that this one will be a favorite of mine. The story of this book was enthralling because of its progression. The characters were all richly written and I got to see other aspects of their personalities which was interesting. Everything just melded well together and the message of camaraderie was transmitted to me beautifully.

Thoughts in Detail (CONTAINS SPOILERS):


~DO NOT CROSS THIS THRESHOLD, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ/FINISHED THIS BOOK! YOU WILL BE SPOILED! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!~

Catching Fire was such a thrilling book to read. I have to admit, I did some whacky stuff (such as flailing and verbalization) because of how excited I was with the pacing of the book. I fell head first in the adrenaline pumping scenes and intense dialogue between the characters. Every scene presented itself with an overwhelming emotional value and I am really happy how everything turned out (and the fact that I bought the box set was a blessing in disguise).

The thing that I really enjoyed about Catching Fire was the incredible plot it had and how complex the characters became. In the first book we only got to see the striving Katniss, but in this book she became rebellious. I felt that she came alive and her character development was really spot on. She became the Katniss that I expected her to be and I finally got to see her kick some ass (like, intentionally).

This book also gave me a more in depth look at Gale's character. I finally saw him beyond his facade of being Katniss' best friend. Unearthing the expected affections he had for Katniss (I always knew he loved her) made me look at him at a new light. The scenes where he was whipped was painful for me (I really hate torture scenes, I just can't stomach it), but it showed Katniss' compassionate side.

Peeta was, as expected, still a sweet guy and I wasn't annoyed by it. He was just a genuine person and Katniss finally saw that in him. It was really different from the conniving image she painted in The Hunger Games. This book greatly reminded of the TV show Heroes because of how important Peeta's life was in need of protection. All I needed was a tag line that says "Save the baker, save the world" and it was all set.

Truthfully I kind of liked how Katniss cared for Peeta, but her lingering affection for Gale kind of threw me off. That was one of the downside of this book. I felt that her love for Gale wasn't as apparent compared with her love for Peeta (I guess it was foreshadowing for what's in store for the next book).

Another factor that made me love Catching Fire was the additional characters. The Quarter Quell's theme was dedicated to a Hunger Games made out of former victors from each district. I wasn't shocked because the ads for the movie version of this book made it pretty obvious, but if I wasn't aware of it, I think it would have taken me by surprise. Anyway, the victors who got to play in the Quarter Quell were all so interesting and we got to know some of them deeply. This was such a painful thing to experience because I grew attached to some of these new characters and I knew that when the games started they will all end up dead.

My favorites were Finnick and Johanna. Finnick was a really funny dude and he kind of reminded me of Percy Jackson. His humor and his cockiness was a breath of fresh air because I didn't get that much LOL moments in the first book. He seems so badass and I am really glad that Suzanne Collins didn't make him a romantic interest, which I was incredibly wary of.

Johanna annoyed the hell out of me at the beginning, but I had a feeling that she and Katniss was about to have a frenemy status, which they did. Mags, Beetee and Wiress were okay, but they didn't stood out enough for me.  

President Snow finally made an appearance in this book and he was creepy. The way Katniss described his stench made me disgusted and intrigued. I just hated the guy yet he seemed really interesting (I am weird like that).

The Games itself was amazing and the way the Gamemakers created their arena was just inventive. Reading the battle scenes were awesome and the traps were just insane.

Here are some other stand-out scenes for me:
  • Katniss' wedding dress turning into the Mockingjay. That moment was spectacular and I imagined it vividly.
  • Cinna's death was just heartbreaking. The way Katniss was forced to watch how he was tortured was unsettling and it really did unhinged her.
  • The jabberjay scene was terrifying and this is where I got a glimpse of the true Finnick.
  • Katniss and Peeta's bonding moments during the Victory Tour was so sweet and sentimental (even though Katniss had nightmares and screaming fits).
  • When Katniss and Peeta watched Haymitch's game. I liked it because it revealed a little bit of back story and uncloaked some stuff from Haymitch's mysterious past.
  • The part wherein Katniss shot the arrow at the force field. That was just pure badassery.
  • The moment when the tributes held each others hands after their interview was so heartwarming. BEST SCENE in the entire book!


Rating:
Catching Fire was so hot I had to give it a...
Incredible sequel and I now see why everyone loves this trilogy.

Have you read Catching Fire? What are your thoughts regarding this book? Do comment down below and share your thoughts!

Happy Reading,

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