blo Teens Read and Write: Catching Fire

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Catching Fire


Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins
pub: Sept 2009

499 pages


Giveaway ALERT! If you've already entered the contest, a comment on this post (within 5 days of post date) gets you 2 extra entries in our MegaBook Giveaway. If you haven't entered yet, go to the contest post (or click on the contest link on the upper right sidebar) to learn about the giveaway and enter! Good luck!


I LOVED The Hunger Games. While I admit that it had some flaws, it's one of my all-time favorite books. Of course, I have to compare the sequel, Catching Fire, to The Hunger Games, and I have to say I was somewhat disappointed.

I know, I know. I am in the VAST minority in saying anything negative about this book and I'm sure I'll be 'catching fire' for some of my opinions...but hear me out.

Catching Fire amplified something I didn't like about The Hunger Games. It started slow, which I can live with if the payoff is soon and good enough, but Catching Fire took longer to grab me. Collins went on with a lot of the things that I didn't want to read about...and it felt like that stuff went on forever.

For instance, when Katniss gets injured hunting outside of the District, she sits in bed going on and on about how she doesn't want to be there, but everyone's being so nice and yada, yada, yada. And what's with the info on the herb book?

She also goes on and on about how she should die, not Peeta. Yeah, we know you're self-sacrificing. I don't need pages about how you don't deserve to live... and everyone's an idiot for thinking otherwise.

Then the things I was interested in were glossed over. For example, when Katniss did the Victory Tour and went to the different Districts. The only one that was given much attentions was District 11. All the other Districts are BARELY described or not at all. I wanted more. I would have especially liked to have seen the District by the sea, District 4. One of the things I love about Collins' writing is her ability to bring to life new amazing worlds. I felt cheated.

I also thought the big reveal about District 13 should have had more depth and detail. Instead it seems like a quick info dump.

Now that I've ranted...

The actual Hunger Games were once again my favorite part. From the moment the tributes are dropped into the arena, the action never stops. Collins puts us right in the middle of battle, as if we are fighting right along side them. Great description and imagination on the weapons, and the arena itself. The brutal action is fabulous and there is a wonderful twist right at the beginning of the games. It's an edge of your seat, page-turning ride.

The characterization is excellent although I did feel like some inner depths were held back in order to add some meat to a third book. But I loved being swept away in this world and joining in the battle.

I thought the romance got bogged down with Katniss' inability to figure out who to choose - she goes on and on about this. And don't you go thinking that I don't like romance. I read the Twilight series...I'm in touch with my softer (dare I say feminine? No better say romantic ) side. I didn't get any real hot factor from the love triangle. And any time it did get hot, Katniss poured on the cold water to smother it out.

Bottom Line: If you compare it to other YA books in general, it's great. No question. But I felt it lacked the WOW-factor of the The Hunger Games. However, I highly recommend Catching Fire for everyone. And if you enjoyed The Hunger Games, you absolutely need to read the sequel...

Trust me - once The Games begin, you won't be able to put it down...I couldn't!

We have a copy of Catching Fire available in our MegaBook Giveaway so go to the contest post and enter for multiple chances to win! Good Luck!

68 comments:

Jamie said...

I am about a 1/3 of the way through it and I am enjoying it so far. I LOVED Hunger Games though!!

Chase92 said...

Great review! Thanks for the extra entries!

Llehn said...

I can't wait to read this one!!

booklover said...

Jake, I know what you mean when you say that this book had some slow parts. And I also know what you mean when you say that the romance was too wishy-washy.

But I still loved the book, just like you. I'd definitely recommend it.

Krista said...

I loved this book! I can understand your points, but Collins writing is still solid and I'm loving where she is taking us! I'm just sad we have to wait another year before we can read the next one! lol :)

Great review, sorry you didn't like it as much as the first one!

Book Whisperer said...

Great Review. I have to read Catching Fire first. I am anxious to read them.

elnice said...

Interesting review. This is the first one that has been less than perfect, and I appreciate an honest review. I have not read either of these yet, but they are on my wish list.

ninefly said...

I was actually slightly skeptical about Catching Fire in the beginning since the summary seemed to focus more on politics rather than battles (that "aftermath business"), hopefully it does not disappoint me
I haven't read the Hunger Games yet, though my friend says it's similar to Battle Royale, so either way these books are a definite to-read for me

- ninefly(at)gmail.com

cait045 said...

I agree. I loved Catching Fire and couldn't put it down.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Goodness I love this book. I'm simply obsessed with it.

Lindsay's Photographys said...

Sound NEAT! I am reading the Hunger Games right now! :D:D

Aik said...

This one is on my wish list!

Dani. said...

Loved this book. More than Hunger Games even.
I understand where your coming from though.

-Dani

Blodeuedd said...

Honesty is the best policy. And few books live up to the first

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Yeah, the ending did feel a bit rushed, but I kind of expected not to hear much about District 13. That's what the next book is for! (I hope).

Sheere said...

I loved this series, but I have to say that I liked more The Hunger Games.. The ending left me feeling odd.. I mean

(SPOILER)
She spends the firts part of the book wondering about 13 District and later, after denying everything, they told her that she was rigth, and that's all. I wanted more explanation, not just 2 lines!

(END SPOILER)

But overall, one of my favourites books :)

TJ said...

I only skimmed, as I don't want spoilers yet. It's the book after the next book on my TBR.

I adored The Hunger Games--and while I have high hopes for Catching Fire--I'm warning myself ahead of time that it may suffer from "second book syndrome". Trilogies are always so hard on the second book...

Anyway, thank you for the review!

throuthehaze said...

Great review! I have this book but still haven't read The Hunger Games...I need to do that.

Nikki (A Haunt of Ancient Peace) said...

I loved both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire so I'm having issues finding anything negative to say about it. After reading this though, I guess I can see your POV. The little things you pointed out could have been better, but I still loved the book.

donnas said...

Great review. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to do this.

elaing8 said...

Great review. I still haven't read the Hunger Games.I need to get my hands on this series.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I LOVED This, though I agree about Katniss's inability to choose. It was really annoying.

Orchid said...

OMZ! I really want to read Catching Fire. :)

Jessica (BookLover) said...

I agree about the romance. I was getting a little frustrated with her inability to pick a side; however, I think that it would have made the book a little less believable if she did. I mean, she has so many things to worry about (from the beginning of the book) that she doesn't have the time to think of what she wants. She knows that she loves them both in her own way, and she knows that she's undeserving of Peeta. But she's not sure she can love either one the way they want to be loved. That's just not her thing at the moment with the world the way it is. But I still enjoyed the chemistry between the characters (especially Katniss and Peeta--as short-lived as it was in this book). :)

I can't wait for Book 3!

Robolobolyn said...

I didn't really mind the slow beginning, I was actually kinda expecting it, but I really wanted more to happen with Katniss and Peeta! Now I'm really hoping something (significant) happens between them in book 3!

I agree with you about the disappointing Victory Tour! I wanted to know more about the other Districts!

Jessy said...

I have to say I agree with you. I thought there was a lot of useless info in Catching Fire and it felt a little repetitive. I loved Hunger Games and I really liked Catching Fire, but I wish something more would have happen.

Eric said...

WOW


really nice review. I really enjoyed Catching Fire and I can't wait for book 3

http://themockingjay.vndv.com

Jake Kirk@Teens Read and Write said...

Jamie – Just be prepared when they get in the arena, it seems like it goes by too fast!

Chase – Thanks and your welcome!

Llehn – Don’t wait too long!

Bhumi – I’m glad you enjoyed it!

Krista – I know what you mean! The ending really got me excited for the next one!

Book Whisperer – Thanks,

Elnice – I try to keep it real.

Ninefly – You definitely won’t be disappointed by these bad boys.

Cait – Once the battle began I couldn’t either! I was baffled when I look at the clock it was claiming that it was 3:30 A.M!

Juju – I’m glad that you could enjoy it that much!

Lindsay – You’ll enjoy it for sure, but be careful sometimes they put super glue on the book cover and you can’t put it down!

Aik – Good move!

Dani – Glad you loved it!

Blodeuedd – Honesty AND comprehensive life insurance are the best policies. You don’t think you need it until you wake up in hospital bed.

Melissa – That what I’m hoping for too!

Sheere – I KNOW RIGHT! But still a great book.

TJ – Don’t count it out yet! It’s not the Jurassic Park 2 of books!

Through the Haze – You definitely might be confused if you didn’t read The Hunger Games first.

Nikki – Overall a great book just a few things that keep it from perfection. That’s what threes for (hehe) right?!

Donnas – Thanks, that’s how roll.

Elaing – Thanks! Definitely jump on the Hunger Games bandwagon before it leaves for the West!

So Many Books – I know, she did so much waffling it made me hungry!

Orchid – It’s definitely a must read!

Jessica – I don’t read for the believableability of a story! I read to be taken away to a magical wonderland of bloodshed and invisible hovercrafts!

Robolobolyn – I was just sort of hoping for a little more excitement throughout then in just the arena, and I WANT TO SEE DISTRICT 4!!! Maybe book 3 will answer my prayers!

Jessy – Still a great read though!

Eric – You and me both.

The Book Vixen said...

I cannot wait to start this series. I must be one of the few who hasn't read it yet.

I'm having a giveaway for Catching Fire on my blog if anyone is interested!

Justine said...

Gahh. I still gotta read this series :)

Brodie said...

I LOVE this series. Suzanne Collins is an amazing writer. Personally, I thought Catching Fire was amazing. Not sure which I prefer out of the two books - I'll have to do back-to-back reread to judge! I agree with wanting more info on the Victory tour, I'm really interested in seeing more of the other districts too. Hopefully we might have more of a glimpse at them in the third book.

The cliffhanger at the end had me GRRing because it's such a long wait until the third book now! I grow a little more insane when left waiting for such important events to unfold!

pepsivanilla said...

I haven't read the Hunger Games, but it sounds like a must read! Thanks for the review :)

rubylovesadventure said...

i got this book from a local bookstore for free! :) however, i haven't read the hunger games yet so i'll include it in the pile i've got to read once i get my copy :)

thanks for the extra points

Sandra Stiles said...

I bought this but haven't been able to read it. My students have kept it checked out and I still have a list of those waiting in line.

Sandra Stiles said...

I bought this but haven't been able to read it. My students have kept it checked out and I still have a list of those waiting in line.

justaiv said...

I finished both Hunger Games and Catching Fire in less than a week. They are both great books.

mariska said...

My sister's just won A copy of Catching fire on another blog. I'm definitely gonna borrow this book. I'd read Hunger Games, it's great!

Sassy CC said...

Suzanne Collins is amazing- I to loved the Hunger games, so good.

Seahn

Alessandra said...

I'm afraid to read this review, lest it contains spoilers for The Hunger Games, which I haven't read yet. So I'll skip reading it, but I'm commenting all the same for the extra entries... he he he...

Seriously, this contest is becoming huge. I don't think I've ever seen such a big book giveaway.

Jasmyn said...

I have Hunger Games sitting on my self waiting patiently for me. The sequel looks just as good.

Milka said...

I just finished with Hunger Games last night and I totally LOVED it. Definitely one of my favorite books. I was really suprised about the fact that I found it from the local library in English. They have Catching Fire of their ordering list so I guess I need to wait for it for a while. Living in Finland sucks because we never get the good books to the libraries/stores at time. :(

Silent Raven said...

I recently received Hunger Games, but had no time to read it yet. But I'm getting more and more curious...

oO Mariana Oo said...

I loved The Hunger Games This book is next in my reading pile, I really want to read it and find out what happens with Katniss and Peeta...

Shealynn Benner said...

I loved this book as well as The Hunger Games. My book club is reading them this month. :)

booklpver said...

I read this as part of a sort of a book club too, Shealynn!

Jake - thanks!

Cherie J said...

I have been hearing great things about this book and about the first one as well. Definitely have to try this series.

booklover said...

Whoops, I kind of messed up my username for the previous comment!

Anyway, Jake - I wanted to say that I think it's awesome that you've read the Twilight series.

YA Vampire Books said...

Nice interview! I've just borrowed Catching Fire from the library, so it we'll be interesting to see if I agree with you! ;)

Jenn-ay said...

I can't believe I'm lagging on this series. Someone needs to kick me in the butt so I'll read it already. Maybe I'll buy it for my b-day/Christmas present for myself...hmmmmm.

jennay1221(at)gmail(dot)com

Teddyree said...

I loved, loved, loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire is on my reading list for next week so I actually skimmed your review, didnt want to spoil the anticipation LOL

Glacia said...

I loved the Hunger Games it was such a good book.

booklover said...

I don't like spoilers either, Teddyree. Or at least, I don't like to read them before I've actually read the book.

booklover said...

I don't like spoilers either, Teddyree. Or at least, I don't like to read them before I've actually read the book.

Bella said...

Like Teddyree, I skimmed. Haven't read the Hunger Games yet, but both are high on my TBB pile! Thanks for another great review!

Sarbear said...

You're right! I'm reading it now and can't put it down ... I LOVE these books more than I imagined.

Alexa said...

I haven't read the Hunger Games yet, but I really need to go out and buy it soon because Catching Fire sounds awesome!

babygirlG said...

*WANTS!*

Jenny N. said...

Nice review. I haven't read The Hunger Games so have to read that befor I can start on this one.

Icejewel said...

I am reading Hunger Games now.I hope I like it.And If I do, I would love to win this !!

booklover said...

Jenny N - You need to read The Hunger Games. It is one of my favorite books ever. It's amazing and super fast-paced.

BrittLit said...

I really have to get a move on and read this series everyone has been urging me to.

booklover said...

Yeah, so do you, BrittLit! :)

You won't regret reading this series. At least the first book you definitely won't regret.

brizmus said...

Oh no! I'm so sad to hear you were disappointed with this one compared to the hunger games. I haven't read it yet, and I have very high expectations after the Hunger Games. Maybe I should lower them. . .

1inseveralbillion said...

I actually loved this more than the first though you're right, it did start very slow and left a major cliffhanger!

Ciel said...

I also thought there should've been more on the Victory Tour, but I stilled loved it nevertheless.

Ajisai.no.Kimi@gmail.com

Kelsey said...

This sounds like a great read :)

kmg1128@live.com

A Life Bound By Books said...

I Loved the Hunger Games and I have this one sitting in my TBR pile. I really need to read it soon. Thanks for the review :o)

-Lisa
alifeboundbybooks@hotmail.com

Bunny B said...

Great review! However, I haven't read Hunger Games.

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