September 1, 2009
"Review from Ashia" By The Romance Reviews 2 years ago
CATCHING FIRE is the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy, and the story picked up about six months after the first book ended. Unexpected twists and turns make this book as exciting and engrossing as the first.
Katniss Everdeen prepares for the Victory Tour with her co-winner, Peeta Mellark. A visit from President Snow makes her aware of her precarious situation with the Capitol, owing to her unintentional defiance at the end of book 1, and she and Peeta have to continue their staged romance in order to stay alive. Unintentionally as well, she became the symbol of hope for the oppressed people of Panem, and her face the rallying point for the rebels. Just as she decided to stay and fight, she and Peeta were thrown back to the Games once again, not as mentors as originally thought, but as tributes, and this time, there will be only one victor...
The adventure continues, and Katniss thought she could rest and go back to the way life was before. Yet, in the deepest part of her, she must've known there is no going back. Events are on the move, and she is carried along with them, whether she liked it or not. Her life and those of her family and friends are in jeopardy, yet through it all, through the tightrope that she balances, she never lost her humanity, her compassion and her sense of justice. Here, she made a stand to continue the fight against oppression, and a Katniss with all the fire and fury of her rage is a sight to behold. There are also touching and memorable moments here, such as the visit to District 11 and the people's three-fingered salute to Katniss, the private times with Peeta on the train and on the beach, and, of course, as always, the interview wherein Peeta dropped a bomb once again and when all the victors held hands in defiance of the Capitol.
Where Peeta made an impression in The Hunger Games, here, he totally claimed a spot in my heart. Though seemingly helpless, a tribute, a pawn of the Capitol, yet he proved once again the power of his words, his strategy and his wit -- all done to protect Katniss. Never had I seen someone love another so totally, even when he knew that Katniss might never feel the same way for him. I am rooting for Peeta all the way!
In CATCHING FIRE, we can see more clearly Peeta's role in the story. He's mature beyond his age, able to see things that people don't normally see. Like his determination not to be a piece in the Games and that though he is under the Capitol's rule, he determined to do things on his own terms, fighting within the confines under which he is held. Where Katniss is rage and fire, he is cool and calm, and both together make a formidable team.
Like I said before, Gale is not bad. He's Katniss's best friend, after all, and they have shared a lot together. Because of this closeness, they have developed a rapport such that sometimes, they don't even need to speak for one to know what the other is thinking. Gale takes care of Katniss's family as his own. I can definitely empathize with Katniss for having the dilemma of choosing between two fine young men. Not that she chose, for...well, to reveal the reason would be to give a spoiler.
Because the tributes were reaped from the existing pool of victors, we meet the victors from the other districts in previous games, and I have to say, the atmosphere of the games is different. Here are adults who have previously won and who know what they're doing. The tension racheted up, and the intensity of the games was increased. The stakes are even higher now for Katniss, because these are people who know what they're doing and who would fight to stay alive, as opposed to the children tributes in the first book. Added to which, Katniss has a new goal: to save Peeta at all costs.
CATCHING FIRE is just as exciting as the first book, though here we see events moving forward, such as signs of uprising from the rebels, and we know Katniss's world will never be the same again. A point of disappointment is the lack of Katniss's scenes with Prim. It would've been good to know more about Prim, to see the sisters becoming even closer after all that Katniss went through, yet it seemed that after Prim served her purpose in the first book, she is set aside until further use is made of her. A scene or two showing Katniss and Prim's further bonding would have solidified the premise upon which The Hunger Games stood, because after all, the reason Katniss was even in the Games was primarily to save her sister.