This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This book was one of my fabulous birthday gifts I received Saturday. It was great timing as I had finished The Hunger Games and was excited about reading the next one. I finished this one on Tuesday. They are just that good.

Catching Fire takes place well after Katniss and Peeta survive The Hunger Games. They are now part of The Victory Tour, where they will travel to each of the 12 districts and the Capitol. Again, a series of events to remind the districts of their loss in games and that the Capitol has an iron hold on them, except with a sick, twisted "let's all celebrate this occasion".

Katniss and Peeta now live a life of luxury. But they are haunted by the games, the people that died, and the fact that, with Katniss' last play to have a suicide pact with Peeta, that she has essentially mocked the Capitol and the nature of the games.

President Snow, the man behind the Capitol and it's tyranny, makes a surprise visit to Katniss, threatening her and her family, and Gabe (her true love?) because she and Peeta are not really the "couple" they claimed to be during the games. He knows her secrets and has given her, what may be, one last chance to live by doing what she can to make the districts, and Snow himself, that she and Peeta are deeply, madly in love.

The Victory Tour begins at district 11, where her fellow tribute and ally Rue came from, and despite her intended words of sorrow for Rue, leads to a demonstration from one man, then the crowd. The man is quickly killed in front of the crowd, and chaos ensues from Snow's Peacekeepers onto the crowd.

The tour continues and ends back in District 12. But a twist to the next Hunger Games comes in the name of Quarter Quell, where every 25 years a twist is introduced to the hunger games. The twist for this one? Taking tributes from the pool of victors. Each district would provide one woman, one man, from their pool of Hungry Game victors. Katniss is the only woman (girl, still) from district 12. It is guaranteed that she has to go BACK into the arena, to fight for her life again. And it is quite obvious that this is what Snow intended, to get rid of Katniss by putting her back into the games, with pass victors who are KNOWN to be strong killers.

It's amazing how this story just has me hook, line and sinker. It's just never-ending and fast-paced. The fact that I never see what's coming: my heart sank when I read that Katniss was going back into the Hunger Games. I mean, the relief I felt that she survived and would never have to go back...then this bit of twist.

The story goes on about the next game in the arena and it is fascinatingly creative. The arena is a "clock" with each hour bringing on a different threat: poisonous fog, blood rain, rabid monkeys, etc. An alliance is made with the most unlikely characters, but death is still prevalent in the games. It is unreal that a book of this subject matter would be so popular but there is good reason. In the end, it is a tale of survival and it puts the reader into the shoes of a young girl who is just trying to live and fend for her family.

I handed The Hunger Games to Tim after I finished it and demanded he read it. I thought: once he starts, there is no way he could put it down. He did. Night after night. Last night, however, he had gone to bed earlier, so CJ and I stayed up watching Survivor. When I got to bed, he was a good third into the book. I am hoping he enjoys it as much as I did. Not because I want him to like it like I love it, but because there is no greater feeling than reading a book that is just THAT GOOD...and I want him to have the same experience as I did.

I am also force-feeding the book to CJ. She's a little more resistant than Tim in that she will NOT budge. So far, she's been reading it. I dare not ask how she likes it yet. I'll just have to wait and see.

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