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Catching Fire (The Hunger Games) Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Gr 7 Up--Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Reviewers were happy to report that the Hunger Games trilogy is alive and well, and all looked forward to the third book in the series after this one's stunning conclusion. But they disagreed over whether Catching Fire was as good as the original book Hunger Games or should be viewed as somewhat of a "sophomore slump." Several critics who remained unconvinced by Katniss's romantic dilemma made unfavorable comparisons to the human-vampire-werewolf love triangle in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. But most reviewers felt that Catching Fire was still a thrill because Collins replicated her initial success at balancing action, violence, and heroism in a way that will enthrall young readers without giving them (too many) nightmares.
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So onto the narrator, while Carolyn McCormick makes for a great narrator, her tones and inflections were great for other characters, she didn't make a good Katniss. She made Katniss sound too old, when she is just a teen! I really think that they should have cast someone a little younger sounding because Katniss came across as too jaded. She did make a great Effie though!!!
Despite this, I would still absolutely recommend the audio to people. This series is one of a kind and no matter which way you read it you will instantly love it!!!
But the first two books were good right? YES. So, from there you're probably left thinking, "Now we have a team of the most proven, charismatic, skilled assassins escape, join a rebellion, and get ready to use their leadership and warfare skills to bring an end to hundreds of years of horrible oppression! Within that is a tense love triangle and characters evolving in important ways. Just imagine how great this could have been! How could you go wrong with such a promising premise?! But it does go wrong. If you liked the first books, this probably *isn't the ending you're searching for*. It shows Collins is skilled when dealing with a smaller story with a more focussed group of characters, but something as large in scope as a whole WAR is outside her comfort zone.
In the end, the story arc of Katnis Everdeen is not satisfying. Mockingjay spends time in the wrong places, has characters' story arcs end abruptly without payoff or meaning, and it is even logically flawed. Even when trying to make an anti-war point, it trips over its own feet. Instead it just paints a picture of a situation where war is necessary to bring peace, and rather than admit that fact, it tries to rearrange the events of the ending to show "See, both sides shouldn't be fighting!" What? I wish this book could get an "undo", and we could get a do-over.
Is this book Real or not Real? I wish, not real. Sad. Hopefully whoever makes the Mockingjay MOVIE will say, "Thanks for the first two books, we'll take it from here."
I'm glad I did.
The books are great. I really am impressed and not due to the hype surrounding the movie and book series. The books are really well written. Suzanne Collins really expresses the mood of the characters in her writing. You feel the gloom and anxiety in "The Hunger Games" as if you are there. You just feel the mood of the books. Not many writers can do this. Hemingway is perhaps the master of this in his writing style, and these books are near perfect in expressing what the characters are feeling with very concise style.You simply feel the emotion of the books. It's hard to explain. Only the best writers can pull this off.
The pacing of the first book is just great. The story just flows. I never felt like putting the book down, in fact I finished it in a couple of days. I can see why the book has caught fire and will be devoured by hordes of readers. It is that good.