Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Catching Fire

This week is Hunger Games week on my blog! With Catching Fire hitting theatres this Friday, I'm devoting every post to my favourite series. 

Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: September 1, 2009
Hardcover, 391 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

If The Hunger Games didn't make you cringe with despair, the sequel certainly will. I don't mean this in a bad way at all, in fact this series quickly became my favourite and still holds that title, but it's brutal, let's be honest, and unlike anything you'll read in the YA genre. Katniss has won the Hunger Games against all odds and she got to save Peeta while she was at it. Her actions did not go unnoticed though and now the Captiol is out for her blood. Her victory tour proves to her that everything they feared is happening. There are uprising in the Districts and President Snow wants her dead. He is sure that everything she did in the game was just a ploy and now it's up to her to prove that everything she did was out of love for Peeta. But nothing is good enough for Snow and when the Quarter Quell is announced, he uses this against her and announces that the Quell tributes will be drawn from only Victors. Without a shadow of a doubt, Katniss knows she is returning to the arena and her mission is to keep Peeta alive no matter what.

Katniss never fails to surprise me. She is at a crossroads at the beginning of the book. Her love for her family makes her want to run away, taking Peeta and Gale with her. Gale refuses to go, knowing that whether Katniss admits it or not, she has feelings for Peeta. When new Peacekeepers arrive and turn everything about District 12 into something unfathomable, Katniss realizes too late that she should have run. When she's shipped back to the Captiol, Peeta in hand, not ready for the next games to come, she does whatever she can to fight the Captiol. What I love is that as Katniss is coming up with her own ways of rebelling, everyone else on her team, as well as the other Victors, are also trying their hardest to let the Captiol know that what they're doing is wrong. There are so many small moments that took my breath away and I was eager to see how the Games would play out. Katniss never stops being strong, never stops worrying about Peeta, and is able to go into the Games ready for him to make it out alive. The way that she propels herself by thinking of Peeta is the most selfless thing she's ever done and it just prove how deep her love for him really is, even if she doesn't know it yet.

The Games in this book blew me away. They were sneaky and strategic and not at all like the previous. Katniss immediately became allies with Finnick, the pretty boy from District 4. Unsure if she can trust him, she goes through a lot of emotions throughout the game, continuously trying to keep Peeta alive. More allies soon arrive, putting Katniss in a very difficult situation. She knows she can only save one person and she wishes she weren't becoming close to more. This has always been Katniss's mindset. She is the kind of girl who does not get close to anyone because she knows in the world they live in, getting close surely means a harder goodbye. But the more time she spends with Peeta, the more she longs to stay with him. She still does not want to lose the boy with the bread. There were spins and surprises every chapter ad even though I'd read the book before, I was still eager to see how it all played out again. Collins is brilliant in her writing and plotting, keeping us guessing until the very last page. The new characters are memorable and unique, their stories all so different even though they have all been through the same thing. The acts of rebellion, the hints of trust, and the subtle nods to how well they all know each other, offered a completely different games with a much harder result to render. 

The cliffhanger ending killed me the first time I read it. Luckily, I have Mockingjay beside me so I can quickly dive back into the conclusion of this fantastic series. Katniss, the face of the rebellion, the Mockinjay, still has so much to go through before she can finally be out of the Hunger Games.

“I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now and live in it forever.”

“My nightmares are usually about losing you. I'm okay once I realize you're here.” 

“I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.” 

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