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on July 21, 2011
In Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins our favorite tributes are back with Katniss and Peeta after they've won the 74th annual hunger games. They begin the novel with embarking on the Capitol's cruel Victory tour around the districts. Picking up where Hunger Games left off, Katniss and Peeta have made history with it being the first time more than one tribute has ever survived the Hunger Games. In the aftermath of their rebellious poison berry act, the 12 districts of Panem are in quite a stir and rumors of an uprising begin to pick up more steam than ever before. Even worse for Katniss is the fact that she now appears to be the primary symbol of the revolution and uprising that everyone is hoping for. Much to the shock of no one, President Snow is not very pleased with what the result of the 74th Hunger Games have caused.

The Capitol becomes increasingly more aware and even afraid of a very real possibility of a major uprising, the likes of which have not been seen in nearly 75 years. After a visit from President Snow, Katniss is made quite aware of the dire consequences that will await her, Peeta, and all of those they hold dear to them if they do not put on an extremely convincing display of love for each other during the Victory Tour.

Soon after the Victory Tour, preparations for the 75th annual Hunger Games are made. However, these hunger games will allow the Capitol to introduce a little bit of a twist with it being the third Quarter Quell. Every 25 years, a Quarter Quell takes place in which the lucky contestants all happen to be previous winners of the Hunger Games and have varying ages from 14 to even 80 years old. There are some very intriguing bits of information in the second part of the book as there are even rumors of a secret district and the intrigue for the reader only gets better from there.

The third part of Catching Fire deals with the 75th Hunger Games. Per usual, there are no shortage of surprises that Collins draws up for her readers. Surprise alliances are formed, romantic relationships deepen, and all new stops from the game makers are introduced. It becomes clear that Capitol will stop at nothing to have one tribute alive yet again and even then that doesn't appear to be a guarantee.

What I liked most about Catching Fire was the coming of age for Katniss as a much deeper and stronger character. I also liked the fact that this book was so much more than just the first book re-hashed. The reader is filled in with a tremendous amount of backdrop information as the power structure of Panem and the people of the 12 districts are explored in much more detail than the previous book in the series. Arguably, there is a case for stating that waiting nearly two-thirds of the book is too long for the real action to start, but as the reader goes along it's clear to see why the book was laid out this way.

As I said before, I couldn't quite give this book 5 stars (even though I did with ratings of 4.5 stars not existing). It's a solid 4.5 stars though mainly because it just didn't have the same shock value and freshness that the first book did. That often can be the case when the first book is great and then the second one doesn't quite measure up. That being said, Catching Fire is no slouch of a sequel and I really enjoyed reading it. I can only hope the finale holds up to the first two!

-Travis S
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VINE VOICEon March 11, 2012
Although slower in the beginning than "The Hunger Games," "Catching Fire," book two of the three book series, ends as a page turner that makes sense and continues both the pacing and themes established in the beginning of the series.

Suzanne Collins is a good, clear writer. Her main characters are sympathetic, and we know who the villains are and why we despise them. Although a teen series, this book serves up entertainment and themes that will keep the adult reader interested. "Catching Fire" continues to explore themes of the individual versus the all-powerful state and what it means to contemplate and take action that moves toward freedom. The heroine Katness Everdeen, and her male cohorts Peeta and Gale, add personal dilemmas that make this a multi-dimensional story.

Like "The Hunger Games," the larger issues are the backdrop for a good action packed story that moves. Think of "Indiana Jones" (Ms. Indiana Jones) being inserted as the lead character in George Orwell's "1984" and you get an idea of the flavor of this book and the series.

Aside: I can't help thinking millions of soon to be and newly registered voters are reading a book that clearly places a large and omnipresent state as the enemy of liberty. It will be interesting to see if this series - given the polarization in our country over the role of government and the individual - will have any impact on the philosophy of young voters.
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on July 28, 2017
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of the book and without going into detail (as not to spoil it) I can guarantee that if you enjoyed The Hunger Games you're going to love Catching Fire. I read Hunger in about 4 days and I think I spent 3 on Catching Fire. I simply could not put it down. Collins has a riveting way of hooking you into the story where you feel like you're cheating yourself out of great storytelling if you put the book down. I was up WAY past my bedtime just cause I didn't want to stop, and I definitely paid the price the next day at work... but it was totally worth it.

Of course the major downside of reading a book early is that now I have to wait even longer for the 3rd book to come out!
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on June 28, 2016
[Spoiler Note: While I intend—as usual--to keep the spoilers minimal (insignificant) for the book under review, it’s hard to review it without major spoilers of the first book in the series—“The Hunger Games.” If you haven’t read that book, you may want to before you read this review.]

As a surviving / winning tribute, life should have been cake for Katniss Everdeen. She returned to her family and friends in District 12, but instead of subsistence living she has a beautiful house and more money than she can spend. Of course, winning tributes are celebrities and have to serve as mentors to future tributes—most of whom will die. Still, the rest of the year she could be happy, except that the gambit by which she managed to save Peeta (one-third of her love triangle) as well as herself in the first book (one of them should have died, per the rules of the Hunger Games), has riled President Snow. Snow intends to do everything in his power to make sure she doesn’t live out her days in fame and comfort. The President might have found it strategic to let matters lie, but each Games brings Katniss back into the spotlight. As the 75th anniversary games approach, she will be back in the public eye, both during a victory tour and the Hunger Games.

At this point, one might be wondering whether a major criticism of this book will be the same as was leveled against “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”—i.e. that it’s a fine story but essentially a repeat of the original with a bigger death star. There’s an argument that that’s an apt description, but there are also counterpoints. The first retort is “What does it matter as long as the story is enjoyable and the tension is ratcheted up?”

The other major justification is that this part is a necessary bridge between the first and the last books in two regards. For one thing, we have to see the dawn of the revolution and Katniss’s—unwitting, but significant--role in it. A couple of the most emotionally intense moments of the book involve the first sparks of rebellion before the Games even begin to be replayed. For another, the love triangle is re-intensified. The survival of Katniss and Peeta hinges on their ability to continue to act out the star-crossed lover card that saved them in the first book—obviously straining the other edge of the triangle.

I enjoyed this installment, and think Collins did a good job of giving readers enough new tension to make the story gripping despite the fact that replaying the Games is at the heart of the story. I’d recommend the book for anybody who finds dystopian fiction appealing—whether a YA or not.
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VINE VOICEon August 15, 2010
Plot Summary: Katniss and Peeta have survived The Hunger Games, and their families are now ensconced in Victory Village. Katniss is doing her best to retain a part of her old life, and she still escapes to the woods whenever she can, but nothing is the same. Peeta won't talk to her after she revealed that her love for him was faked, and now her good friend Gale is jealous of Peeta. Before leaving on their Victory Tour of the districts, Katniss receives an ominous warning that she'd better be on her best behavior, or her loved ones will suffer. Everywhere she goes, there are signs of a rebellion brewing, but Katniss can only focus on keeping her family safe.

(THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY: BOOK TWO)

Has my ardor for The Hunger Games Trilogy cooled a bit? Not really, but I didn't think this second book packed quite the same punch as the first. In some ways Catching Fire felt like a repeat of The Hunger Games, but with that one criticism aside, I will say that it was one of the fastest reads I've had all summer. I've been sitting on this copy for the past eight months because I didn't want to dangle from the tremendous cliffhanger I kept hearing about at the end of this installment. I feel bad for anyone who has been waiting since last September to read book three, Mockingjay. At least our wait is short, and book three will arrive shortly.

Since this is the type of story that I can't review in any kind of detail for fear of divulging a spoiler, I'll just discuss why I like this series in a general way. When the television show Survivor first aired in 2000, I was instantly smitten. I wanted to be on that show and match my wits and survival skills against the group. The Hunger Games are like Survivor, but with the danger ramped up 100 percent, and it's impossible to put the book down while Katniss and Peeta are battling for their lives in the Capitol's twisted playground. I think each of us secretly yearns to test ourselves in a survival situation with no holds barred, and when we're rooting for Katniss and Peeta, we're really rooting for ourselves.
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on March 17, 2014
This book catches up with Katniss six months after the Hunger Games. She and Peeta now both have houses in Victor’s Village alongside Haymitch. Just as she and Peeta are about to embark on their Victory Tour through the Districts, Katniss receives a surprise visitor…President Snow. The President tells her that her little stunt in the Hunger Games with the berries was interpreted by the Districts are an act of rebellion and it is up to her to tamp down the revolutionary wind sweeping the country. If she fails to do so, he will have people she loves killed.

As she and Peeta travel, they witness this rebellious attitude personally and it seems no amount of hamming up their romance for the cameras will make any difference. They even stage a public engagement, which turns on the wedding fever in the Capitol, but does little to change feelings in the Districts. Once they arrive home, they get devastating news…they are both going back into the arena for the 75th Anniversary of the Hunger Games.

Beyond having an exciting story, this book has a lot to say about government oppression, rebellion and how small acts can be interpreted as symbols, setting off unintended consequences. I love YA novels with depth. Each of these characters are dual-natured in that they have both good and bad qualities. Even the dizzy people of the Capitol grow on you once you realize they are innocents.

I love the character of Peeta. (I am definitely Team Peeta all the way!) He is probably the most genuinely good person in the books, yet he is strong and brave as well. He is not afraid to take risks for Katniss whom he loves. While I am still in the point of Katniss not committing her heart to either Peeta or Gale, I definitely see Peeta as the better match for her. They have had such a shared history of the most traumatic times of their lives. Gale seems like trouble to me. His rebellious nature is reckless, where as Peeta’s comes across as smart, calculated and brave. Peeta always frames his rebellion in such a way that the people are on his side and therefore, the government can’t afford to retaliate against him.

Overall, I give Catching Fire…

Plot – 5 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Love Story – 4 bookmarks
Social Commentary – 5 bookmarks

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Kristin Stewart (Katniss), Hunter Parrish (Peeta), Phillip Kelley, my best friend from high school (Gale), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Haymitch), Megan Mullally (Effie), Tim Gunn (Cinna), Chris Pine (Finnick), Kelsey Batelaan (Prim)
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on June 27, 2017
I was also one of the lucky few to get a hold of one of the ARC's. This book does NOT disappoint! Just like the Hunger Games, I laughed, I cried and there were several scenes that gave me chills. The last line of the book STILL brings me chills. It is very well written and there are no "slow parts" to the book. When I was done reading the Hunger Games, I was hoping that Katniss would choose Peeta. Suzanne has written Catching Fire so well that now I don't know who she should choose as Katniss needs both of them in different ways and they both are a big part of Katniss and who she is.
I am not so patiently awaiting the third book.....
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on September 26, 2010
*Note: There are spoilers in this review

Catching Fire is the second in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series. I reviewed the first book, The Hunger Games, a few weeks ago. Needless to say, I was not disappointed by this book. The writing is as fast-paced and exciting as the first novel, and my heroine is the same in all her imperfect, defiant, and gutsy glory. I couldn't put Catching Fire down (and stayed up until 2:30am to finish it in a 3 hour stretch).

In summary, once more we meet up with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, only this time they are victors of the Hunger Games and back in District 12. They live in new houses, have plenty of money, and don't want for much of anything. But with the Hunger Games over and her very public relationship with Peeta in limbo, Katniss finds herself falling for Gale, her best friend, in secret. A best friend who is also in love with her. Unfortunately, it is a secret that is known by her enemies, particularly President Snow. To make matters worse, President Snow hasn't forgotten their stunt with the berries (forcing the Capitol to proclaim two victors in the last Hunger Games), and now he has warned Katniss that she must quell any inkling that the berries were any kind of symbolic act of rebellion against the Capitol, and instead only a simple wish of someone desperately in love. But the spark has been made, and Katniss can no longer contain the fire that results. She is unable to convince anyone otherwise, including the president. To regain control and squash any rebellion, President Snow forces Katniss and Peeta back into the Games, where they learn that they are part of something greater - a far-reaching plan to unseat the Capitol, and one that has its fingers not only in the defunct District 13, but also in the Capitol itself. Fighting for survival, Katniss manages to escape the Games with the help of other District allies but in the end, is separated from Peeta who is captured by the enemy. Book 2 ends with Katniss unwillingly becoming the symbol of the rebellion (headquartered in District 13), and its figurehead...she is the mockingjay.

Catching Fire was thrilling from beginning to end. It was great to reconnect with the familiar characters from The Hunger Games and get to meet some new ones that were just as interesting as the old or even more so. While everything feels familiar, like the same style of narration, the novel is never boring or predictable. It does take a little adjustment and effort to work in the personalities and the ages of the new Hunger Games competitors but that in no means detracts from the pacing or the story itself. I did find that I wasn't as interested in the mechanics of the arena this time but wasn't sure that was due to the complicated nature of its clock structure or whether I was more interested in what was happening with the characters themselves (which is a big compliment to the author).

This book also seemed to be a lot more violent than the first. Death is an accepted casualty, as is walking on skulls or seeing piles of dead decomposing bodies. It didn't offend me at all, it was just something I noticed. That said, I enjoyed the authenticity that it gave to the book - it felt real, like it was a darker and uglier world. Or maybe it was reflective that Katniss was growing up, and she herself was harder and viewing the world differently. I still retained the connection with Katniss in this book - she stayed true to herself (as well as to her personality the previous novel) and while she does seem older and wiser, at the core, she doesn't change. She is still headstrong and compassionate and just as awesome.

Catching Fire was a great second installment of the series! Well worth the read, I would rate it 5 out of 5 stars. I already have Mockingjay in hand so stay tuned for my final review. Hopefully it will measure up to its predecessors.

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on December 23, 2013
Hopefully I don't get ripped to shreds by the die hard fans of the Hunger Games Trilogy. I liked the first book very much. Before I read Catching Fire I had read several reviews saying that the second book was not as good as the first and I agree with that. I felt it to be very boring and not as exciting as the first one. For me to finish the book I ended up getting the audio book to read a long because I was loosing interest. Maybe these books are just not for me or maybe the only really good book in the series is the first one. Since the books are there and available I think it is important to finish a series if you start one but I can't say I truly care much for book 2 and 3. I still consider myself a Hunger Games fan regardless because I loved the first one.
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on September 4, 2009
***MILD SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE***

I read the first book in one day. Then I waited impatiently for six months for the second book to come out; had it on order through Amazon the second it was available to order. Now, I'm sitting here scouring the internet for hints on when the third book might be coming out. I should have waited to have all three books in my greedy little hands before I started reading, because I have no patience for this desperate craving to know what is going to happen next. Of course, I didn't know that it would be so hard before I started reading.

Hunger Games was disturbingly incredible. While I was reading it, I forgot to breathe so many times I found myself getting lightheaded. Catching Fire was, if anything, even more breath-stealing. I cried in book one when I realized that there would be no magical last-minute solution to kids killing other kids for survivals' sake, but the part of me that acknowledges that reality outside the pages of this haunting story pushed me ahead to the end of the book. I was drawn in to a world I could never imagine on my own, but so real that, when one of the featured characters died, I couldn't stop crying -- and I felt like I was crying WITH Katniss. When I reached the end of the book, which was so obviously not the end of the story, I immediately searched for book two, only to discover that it wouldn't be out for months. The second I could, I ordered it, and the minute it arrived, I tore into it. Now I wish, again, that I had waited; the desperation to know what comes next had dimmed a little, and I was coping, and now it's all fresh.

While in the first book, the tension between Katniss's feelings for Gale and Peeta isn't as immediate, because Peeta is present for most of the story while Gale is back in the Seam, in this book, it is prominent, and it radiates out from the pages and wraps tight fingers around your heart. The weight of her responsibility to her family, to her District, and eventually, to the people in all of the Districts and even in the Capital, is tangible; I felt it almost like a weight on my own shoulders. Her feelings of helplessness, her desperation, all of it is so vivid, so relatable, which is an incredible feat of the author given how far from most readers' realities the story is. Even though it is technically a young-adult story, and even though Katniss is technically still a kid, there is nothing immature about her struggles, the emotional weight of each of her decisions, or her feelings for both Peeta and Gale, and each member of her circle of loved ones. I couldn't bring myself to prefer any of her options over another, including which boy to love (I love them both).

All I can really say is that the author's ability to grab you by the heart, and by the gut, and hold on through every single page, is incredible. My heart clenched, and raced, and stopped, and sighed, and raced and clenched some more. I can't even count the number of times the turn of events made me burst out with "Oh my God!" while I read this book. It's one of those rare times that an incredible story somehow gets even better in the second installment. I don't know how I'm going to live with the anticipation for the third book.
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