Friday, July 29, 2011

Book Review for Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2009
Pages: 391
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Time: 6 days?

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. [Amazon Product Description]
My Review:
            Wow. I wasn’t expecting that. When I finished the first book in the series, The Hunger Games, I wasn’t looking forward to reading Catching Fire. I was a little scared to. I had a feeling that it was going to ruin my opinion of the first book. Of the whole series. The first book was so amazing, I couldn’t imagine anything that could beat it. But mind you, that was BEFORE I read Catching Fire. J
            Catching Fire is definitely the perfect sequel to The Hunger Games. It takes every aspect of the first book and magnifies it. Makes it so much better. The unimaginable, unexpected twists and turns just blow your mind. At some parts, I was like, “Is that even possible? Is that even allowed???” But remember, anything and everything is allowed in your imagination! I can assure you, I have never read a book before that takes hold of me like this one does. It never lets go all throughout the time you’re reading it. When I wasn’t reading it, it was haunting my thoughts and dreams. I know my poor family got quite tired of hearing me sing its praises.  The whole time I was reading Catching Fire, I felt like I was in a trance. That I lived in Panem. That I was rebelling the Capital with Katniss, Gale, and Peeta. All day long, I did my best to escape the chores and seemingly endless tasks my mom would pile on me so I could go back into Panem, to a stressed and troubled Katniss, to a world enslaved by the Capital. It usually didn’t last for long before I was summoned again. Each night after dinner, I tried relentlessly to ignore the dishes, the distractions. When I finally got to bed, I was lost for hours in the pages of Catching Fire. They engulfed me (yes, like flames!). It took every ounce of will-power for me to turn off my flashlight and go to sleep each night. But even after that, I would lay there awake for a while, worrying about Katniss’ dilemma, practically reliving her torment. In short, the book put me in chains. It was horrible and oppressive and completely lovely.
            It’s not always that a book has the power to bind you. J But it’s pretty freaking awesome when one does.
Warning: I’m gonna gush now. This book is so gush worthy, I can’t write a review without gushing a bit. So if you don’t want any spoilers, I suggest you stop here. I can’t promise there won’t be any in the following rant. J
            Kat’s torment in this book was way worse than in The Hunger Games. Way. Worse. But that made it all the more enslaving. You would feel inhuman if you didn’t finish the book and find out how it ended. You would feel like you left Katniss hanging, like her torment and angst would never end. But I was kind to her, and finished the book. J
            Was it just me, or did you realize the whole ancient Roman scheme going on here? I noted in my review for The Hunger Games that all of Kat’s prep team had Roman names. In this book, I noticed that at the party in the Capital, people would…um, puke…so they could eat more food. That’s what the ancient Romans did too. It’s not really important, but I find it interesting. Mrs. Collins must have a thing for ancient Romans.
Here it comes. You knew it would, one way or another. *swoon* Peeta! He charms me more and more every time! How can people NOT be Team Peeta? I must admit, I was about to be Team Gale after he got whipped, when I saw how tender and close Gale and Katniss were. But really? Do you think that Mrs. Collins is gonna put Katnissa and Gale together after we’ve all gotten to know Peeta so well through the Games? What do we really know about Gale? She has put the spotlight on Peeta so much more than Gale. And that’s why Katniss and Peeta are gonna be together at the end…and because I want them to. J
            I’m gonna be a total fan girl now and quote some favorite Peeta moments:
 “Peeta, who spends much of the night roaming the train, hears me screaming as I struggle to break out of the haze of drugs that merely prolong the horrible dreams. He manages to wake me and calm me down. Then he climbs into bed to hold me until I fall back to sleep. After that, I refuse the pills. But every night I let him into my bed. We manage the darkness as we did in the arena, wrapped in each other’s arms, guarding against dangers that can ascend at any moment.” (page 72)
“You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know.” – Haymitch, page 178 (We know, Haymitch, we know… J)
“So before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss. This time, there is nothing but us to interrupt us. And after a few attempts, Peeta gives up on talking. The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tips of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind.” (pages 352-353)
            Enough about Peeta. I wasn’t sure what to think of Finnick at first…he seemed like such a shallow flirt. But he turned out to be really brave and trustworthy. Johanna, even though she was on Kat’s “side,” she still annoyed me every time she opened her snarky mouth. I loved Mags. I knew from the time the she volunteered for the Games that she wasn’t going to make it through. But I wasn’t expecting her death to be so…voluntary. I wasn’t looking forward to reading about a bloody death for her, so I’m glad she died “peacefully.”
            I felt so many emotions as I neared the back of the book. I wanted to keep reading, to finish it and find out the end. But I didn’t want to endure a horrendous cliff hanger (BTW-thanks for making that nightmare come true, Mrs. Collins). I was scared for Peeta and his life but eager for something to happen at the same time. Then at the end…well, I just wanted to cry. It was one of those moments when the character usually shouts, “Noooooooooooo!!!!!!” But it wasn’t Katniss screaming, it was me.
Quick Content Review:
Profanity: None
Violence: Mild- Heavy (Like I said in the quick content review for The Hunger Games, it’s not as bad as people make it out to be. There is less violence in this book than in the first one, but still…Gale’s whipping is pretty sickening. Beware, you who are squeamish. J)
Sexual: Minor (As you already know, Katniss and Peeta kiss a couple times in this book. Nothing bad- purely innocent. Katniss and Peeta sleep in the same bed a couple times, but nothing happens. It’s not because they want to have sex- it’s merely because they both suffer from horrible nightmares from being in the arena and need comforting.)

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