After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to their district, hoping for a peaceful future. But their victory has caused rebellion to break out, and the Capitol has decided tHat someone must pay. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless they can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
Reviewed on 20th May 2012
Book two of the Hunger Games trilogy begins shortly after the end of the first, where Katniss is required to take part in a tour of the 12 districts of Panem. Things don't quite go to the Capitol's plan though, as despite threats to Katniss she can't help but put her foot in it, and the Capitol decide they must do something about her.
Catching Fire certainly has that 'middle book' feel to it - that it's a transitional book, purely to set up what's going to happen in book three, and not too concerned about having a self-contained plot of its own. The story starts quite slowly, recapping some stuff from the previous story, re-establishing the characters and lining things up for later, and it's only towards the second half where speed picks up, and there I felt things were moving too fast.
Maybe I was reading too fast, and I know the events were meant to be passing quickly, but this was the part that I thought was going to be the story for this volume, and I didn't feel it has quite the weight necessary for the book to stand alone.
Katniss continues to be an interesting heroine. She's changed slightly by her experiences in the first book; she's grown older, and feels slightly less naïve. Collins is clearly attempting to show her changing, and draws attention through the narrative to some of these changes in a way which seems a little too obvious. As the narrator she was always going to dominate, but it seems like the other characters have become even more shallow - she sees each of them with only one characteristic - Peeta has love, Haymitch has drunkeness, and so on.
I have to confess though that I found it difficult to put down. I'm not sure whether it will survive the test of time, but like Harry Potter, it is a series that is easy to read despite the subject matter, and that's probably why it's doing so well.