Thursday, September 17, 2009
Book Review: "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins
If it wasn't for book bloggers and Twitter, I would have never discovered this wonderful series. I had never heard of The Hunger Games or Catching Fire before. While I read YA fiction, I tend to read more of the YA chick lit type books. Therefore this series totally would have passed me by. However thanks to all the recommendations and praise I kept hearing about left and right, I finally decided, well if all these people are talking about it, it must be good. And boy were they right. When I read The Hunger Games, I finished it in about 2 hours. And LOVED it. So see, book bloggers DO make an impact. You may say, well it's a popular book, bookstores have it featured everywhere, yada yada. Well just because a bookstore says it's good, that doesn't mean I'm going to read it. Only because of people I know and trust did I read this book. Book bloggers give a personal touch when they read, review and recommend books. This is why book bloggers are important. So thank you, to every book bloggers who blogged or tweeted about this series.
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.
I want to start off first by saying, this book (and the first book) would have gone totally unnoticed by me had it not been for book bloggers. Their recommendations totally got me interested as so many people were praising the book. I'm really glad I listened to them because this has become one of the best YA series I've read in a while and gives almost the same fervor for me as the Harry Potter series did. The Hunger Games left me totally shocked and amazed. This sequel did exactly the same thing.
Katniss has become one of my favorite heroines ever in a book. I really like how the story is told from her point of view. She is a character I really feel for and because it's in first person, I really feel as if we get to know her. There are so many new discoveries in this book about the Capitol and the other Districts. The whole issue about District 13 got me REALLY excited. There is lots of suspense and action in this book. Like the first in the series, there are deaths, so it's not for the faint hearted. There has been debate as to which guy you would choose, Gale or Peeta and people have been picking teams. I however cannot decide. Each choice would lead to joy for Katniss, yet it would also leave heartbreak. Perhaps the best solution would be to choose neither as it it is one of those situations where there would be no happy ending.
I think the best thing about the story is the fact that it's not a kid's story. Many people dismiss YA fiction because they think it's aimed at teenagers and they are above it. However there is so much more in this book, and it says it better than a general adult fiction book. There are good literary YA books out there and this is one of them.
If there was anything to complain about, a minor quibble would be during the last few chapters I felt a little lost. It just felt like something big had happened and I had somehow missed it and found myself having to flip back a couple chapters to regroup. Other than this however, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was lucky that I had read The Hunger Games recently so that way it was fresh in my mind when I started this book. Unfortunately for me now, I am dying for the third book to come out and am totally left hanging. If you think young adult fiction is too juvenile and you are too mature for it, I challenge you to read this series. It will totally change your mind about the genre. VERY HIGHLY recommended.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is published by Scholastic Press (2009)