Thursday, July 7, 2011

Book Reviewed - Catching Fire

(If you haven't read the first book of the trilogy, The Hunger Games, you shouldn't read this review; things will be given away.)

Catching Fire is the second installment in the Hunger Games series. The first book, you may remember, is one that I spoke glowingly of when I reviewed it about a month ago. Because of how much I liked it, my expectations were sky high for Catching Fire, and honestly, I wasn't even remotely disappointed.

Catching Fire picks up right where The Hunger Games leaves off, with Peeta and Katniss returning to District 12 as victors of the 74th Hunger Games, a brutal contest between youths from around the country, drafted into mortal combat.

Their victory was marred by their methods, though; the Hunger Games always has a single victor, and Katniss' trickery was read by many districts as a sign of rebellion. After an unpleasant meeting with President Snow, she sets her efforts on convincing the country of Panem that her tactic was driven by her overwhelming love for Peeta, rather than defiance. Peeta goes along with this, though he deals with the excruciating truth that Katniss was acting in defiance, while his love for and devotion to her is absolute. Their individual anguishes are born of different pain, but the author makes them similarly palpable.

Part of their victory tour takes them into District 11, the home of Rue and Thresh from their Hunger Games. Their presentation to the crowd, and the emotion of the scene, creates maybe my favorite moment in the entire series. I won't spoil it, but if you've already read it, you'll agree with me when I say...

...CHILLS.

The book strikes me as very much the "Empire Strikes Back" of the trilogy, which I guess is how most trilogies work. It continues the original story, and offers a character-building and plot-pushing bridge between the introduction and culmination of the story. It starts much more slowly than The Hunger Games, but finishes with intense and frantic action. I would still say that The Hunger Games is my favorite of the series, but Catching Fire is right there, neck-and-neck.

The Last Word - Listen, I highly recommend the whole series, so it's tough for me to make an individual recommendation on this specific book. But it's great, as entertaining as The Hunger Games. Go. Read it. GO.

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