Thursday, June 16, 2011

Literary Thursday: Catching Fire

Do you remember in last week's Literary Thursday blog how I said I was almost finished reading Catching Fire? Well, just a few hours after I posted that blog, I finished the book... less than four days after starting it. Then again, I read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in less than 24 hours, LOL. Anyway, lets move forward and get to my summary and review of the second book in the Hunger Games Series.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

It has been several months since the 74th Hunger Games ended, and Katniss and Peeta are becoming accustomed to their new accommodations at home. As they prepare for the Victory Tour, Katniss encounters an unexpected visitor from the Capitol... President Snow. He informs her that her final act in the games have caused a major disturbance to Panem and threatens her to behave or the people she loves will die.

As they make their first stop in the Victory Tour, to District 11, they realize that their choices in the Hunger Games have made a bigger impact they have anticipated. The people are standing behind them, causing riots from those who want to overthrow the Capitol. In order to prove that they still have control, the Capitol throws in a twist for the 75th Hunger Games, which is also the Quarter Quell (special circumstances happen every 25 years to the games). They decide to have two victors from each district return to the Hunger Games. Since District 12 has only had 3 living victors, two males and one female, Katniss realizes that she will be returning to the Capitol to fight to the death.

When I started reading this book, I was expecting to see Katniss and Peeta embark on a journey across all the districts, leading to their new duties at the Capitol as mentors to future tributes in the Hunger Games. What I didn't expect (or Katniss, for that matter) was that the berries incident was something that sparked a rebellion in many of the districts. It is first recognized when they head to District 11, which was the first stop in the Victory Tour. After witnessing the Peacekeepers (the law enforcement in Panem) kill someone for starting a symbolic tribute to Katniss, they are rushed back onto the train with very little answers. As time goes on, Katniss and Peeta piece things together and prepare to be seen as symbols for the rebellion.

When it is time for the 75th Hunger Games, aka. the Quarter Quell, I sensed a completely different vibe than the last one. For one, many of the past victors have been friends over the years and to find themselves in the situation that they will have to fight each other is hard to bear. Katniss, who trusts very few people, goes by her intuition to find allies to team up with during the games while others seem to be forced on her by her mentor and partner.

When the games begin and the arena is described, I am in awe. Imagine a pie divided into 12 even pieces, with the center resembling a wheel with spokes. In between the spokes are bodies of water and the cornucopia of supplies are in the very center of the arena. Compared to the last book, I imagine more of a jungle than a forest. Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but the unexpected elements of the games are executed in a "timely" manner and each element is particularly dangerous for the tributes, physically and emotionally.

The book ends with (at least to me) a very unexpected twist. The fact that it came so abruptly made me grab Mockingjay immediately and start reading it. Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

See you guys next week when I review Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games series!!!

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