Monday, March 1, 2010

The Hunger Games

Book No: 57
Title: Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Science Fiction
Completed: 11/01/09
No. of Pages: 391
Rating: 5/5*****

It must be difficult to write a hugely popular book, like The Hunger Games, and then having to produce the sequel and not suffer the dreaded Sophomore Slump. Suzanne Collins need not worry, for Catching Fire is a terrific follow-up to book one. It’s hard to keep up the pace in the middle book of an expected trilogy, the first book lays the groundwork and the final book is the resolution and frequently the middle book has none of that excitement, but that is not the case here.

It’s also very difficult to review a sequel that gives nothing away from the first book and doesn’t reveal any spoilers for the second book. Therefore I will note here that there are spoilers ahead for The Hunger Games, so if you haven’t read it yet stop reading here. There will be no spoilers for Catching Fire, just a general review of the story and characters.

***SPOILER SPACE for The Hunger Games***

At the end of Book One Katniss and Peeta have upended the 74th edition of The Hunger Games, placing the Capitol in the position of letting them both be declared winners. Upon returning back to district 12 the two try to pick up their lives, but everything has changed. They are celebrities now and we rejoin their story as they prepare for the Victory Tour through the Twelve Districts. As they make their way through the tour, visiting one district every month, it is clear that there are signs of unrest and rebellion, fueled by Katniss’ act of defiance during the last competition. It’s seems as though the Capitol and President Snow have not forgotten their stunt either and have planned their revenge; it is an act of retaliation that sends tremors through all of Panem.

To reveal anymore would ruin the book for all. However Collins manages to keep the tension ratcheted up as the 75th Hunger Games begin and we are introduced to more characters to root for and against. The triangle between Gale, Katniss and Peeta is ongoing and there are twists, turns and betrayals that you won’t see coming. The ending is a cliff hanger that will have you clamoring for the next book now!!

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