I was lucky enough to have gotten my hands on an advanced reader's copy of Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins's second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy (a big thank you to Rob!). Once again, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, and at the end, I still wanted more! I read it too fast!
Before I continue with my review, I have to say one thing. If you haven't yet read The Hunger Games, and don't want me to spoil the first book for you, please don't read any further. I always do my best not to throw any spoilers into my reviews, but I don't think I will be able say much at all if I can't write about the first book. Now that I've given fair warning, here we go.
Once again...Wow. Last we saw Katniss, she was on her way back to District 12, knowing full well that she and Peeta were in great danger. She insulted the authority of the Capitol, and the President himself, when she defiantly pulled out those berries and changed the rules of The Hunger Games. Now, there are rumors of rebellion. Surely, there will be hell to pay.
There is constant tension throughout the book. Even when she is away from the Capitol, Katniss never knows who is listening, and when they are watching. Unfortunately, it turns out they are listening and watching much more closely than she had anticipated. What can she do to make it right and save the people she loves from whatever punishment the Capitol has in store? The danger is everywhere, even when she returns to some of the familiar things that we have already seen Katniss do. It's not the same, nothing is the same.
The 75th Hunger Games is coming up in Panem, as the Capitol continues the annual public execution tournament to remind the Districts of who is in control. Katniss will have some kind of a role. Will they allow her to be a mentor? Who will go into the arena? What will the tributes face this time? How will Katniss be punished for defiance? What will become of Gale? Can they just run away from the cruelty of the Capitol? Will anyone she loves be safe inside or outside the arena?
These are just some of the questions that will come up in Catching Fire. The games become much more important to Panem this year, because of what it will mean for all the people outside of the boundaries of the arena. More than that, this is a book about self-sacrifice for the greater good. In The Hunger Games, Katniss only had to worry about getting herself out of the arena alive; but in Catching Fire, she has to worry about how her actions will affect every single person around her. It seems that the closer someone is to Katniss, the closer they are to danger.
Like its predecessor, I was unable to put this book down. It seemed that every chapter had a twist that kept me turning the pages! When I had only 30 pages left to go, I found myself thinking, No! I'm not ready for the end! And then I realized, we have a whole other book to wait for. Nooooo! It's going to be a long wait, but at least it will give me time to read both books again, so I can catch some of the things I might have missed the first time around. Suzanne Collins has created a very special series with unforgettable characters and a scary world, both of which will haunt you long after you put the book down.