Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Note, Spoiler Alert: If you have not read The Hunger Games, please do not read this post. Go read it!

In my mind, President Snow should be viewed in front of marble pillars hung with oversized flags. It’s jarring to see him surrounded by the ordinary objects in the room. Like taking the lid off a pot and finding a fanged viper instead of stew.

What could he be doing here? My mind rushes back to the opening days of other Victory Tours. I remember seeing the winning tributes with their mentors and stylists.

Even some high government officials have made appearances occasionally. But I have never seen President Snow. He attends celebrations in the Capitol. Period.

~Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

I waited patiently until christmas because I knew my present from my mom would be the next 2 books in the Hunger Games Trilogy. She picked them up at her school’s book fair. (She’s a VP for a senior school, and I suggested she read them because that’s the age group for the series.) A few days after the holiday celebrations passed, I dove into the book, and devoured it nearly as quickly as the first.

I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I had all these ideas running through my mind. Would Katniss have to sit by while they trained the next tributes? What would happen with Peeta? Would we find out what was happening on the inside? Would Katniss have to train her sister to be a tribute? What would Rue’s District have to say to Katniss?

I wondered for months what Ms. Collins would do with her characters. I predicted a few things, like the whistle in Rue’s district, but I didn’t foresee the crack down that came after it. I especially didn’t predict the Quarter Quell, which makes obvious sense in hindsight. That’s about all I’ll say about the actual plot; I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it. (Seriously, you have to read this series.)

I think it’s the obvious surprises that I like so much in Ms. Collins’ writing. Her characters are honest, true to themselves, and heart-wrenching. But beyond that, her story though foreshadowed, continued to surprise me at various intervals. As a result, I was left once again imagining what she would do next with the story, and dreaming of the characters in my sleep. I consider this my biggest compliment to any author; that I dream of the characters and wonder what happens next.

Catching Fire lives up to the Hunger Games, though the ending feels even more abrupt. I wonder why the series wasn’t published as one book (I know its profit), and whether they’ll ever make a single volume version, much like they have of Lord of the Rings.

As far as the movie goes, I’m debating going to see it in theatres. I’m not convinced based on the trailer that the movie will live up to my own expectations of the novels, however, every time I hear that 4-note whistle at the end of the preview, I shudder.

Seriously, read these books!