by Suzanne Collins
pub: Sept 2009
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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!