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Hunger Games Trilogy: Catching Fire

February 20, 2011

The first book in the trilogy, Hunger Games, was fantastic. A complete page turner, I was hooked from the first chapter. Catching Fire, I have to admit, wasn’t quite the same for me. If you haven’t read Hunger Games and don’t want to know what happens, don’t continue reading this review. Just a warning!

Catching Fire starts off with Katniss and Peeta embarking on the victory tour after winning the Hunger Games. The first book ended after the couple defies the Capitol’s barbaric games by threatening suicide to end the contest, leaving no winner, which they figured (correctly) the Capitol wouldn’t like. This second book recaps the victory tour in a whirlwind, slams through the announcement of the Quarter Quell (the special Hunger Games featured every 25 years), and speeds through training and yet another Hunger Games.

I’ve talked a lot with two friends who also just read these books and we have some thoughts about Catching Fire. My friend from work said that she thought the book starts out slowly but quickly picks up when the Quarter Quell is announced. I agree. The beginning wasn’t as much of a page turner as Hunger Games, but it does pick up and gets you interested. Just in not the same way as HG.

After much discussion, my boyfriend and I came to some conclusions about CF. First, we think that since HG took place in the span of a few weeks, the action was face-paced and invigorating. CF takes place over a much longer span of time and the author skips quickly by summing up months at a time in a paragraph or two. Second, the concept of the Hunger Games in Book 1 was completely new and horrifyingly interesting, so you were hooked immediately. In Book 2, you’re like, “Really? Haven’t we already done this?”  It’s not nearly as gripping and compelling as the first time we’re taken through the Games. Last, we hate the skipping of months or explaining how things happened in a quick recap paragraph. It’s not nearly as interesting as reading through the action or story first hand, and it’s kind of a cop out on the part of the author. Actually, I think Catching Fire as a whole was a cop out. Don’t get me wrong, I still read it in a few days and was engaged with the story, but not nearly in the same way as the first book. It is still a good plot, the characters are still interesting (although Katniss’ lack of understanding what people are thinking is beginning to drive me crazy), and the narrative is still engaging and I’m, of course, glad I read it. I just wanted to love the second as much as I loved the first.

I hear the third book, Mockingjay, is just as amazing as Hunger Games, and I’ve already started reading it, so stay tuned!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tiny Silver Hammers permalink
    February 20, 2011 5:30 pm

    Hurry up and read Mockingjay before I steal it away in the night!

  2. February 23, 2011 12:09 pm

    I am a bit of a bandwagon reader, so I haven’t read this series yet as only a couple of people I know have mentioned them. I often feel the same way about sequels as the hook just doesn’t seem to be there in many. But like you I think it is a bit of the fact the 1st book introduced you to a knew world and you are engaged in figuring out its secrets, but with the second the author has to really work at not making it feel like “been there, done that”.

  3. February 23, 2011 2:45 pm

    I really enjoyed Hunger Games, but I haven’t gotten to read the others yet. I’m going to read both Catching fire and Mockingjay before I post my follow up review (I’ll put a link to the original below), based on what I’ve been hearing from everyone else. I don’t want to be disappointed in Catching Fire and let that take away from my enjoyment of the trilogy as a whole.

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