Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Monday, October 22, 2012

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I may be on the minority in that I felt Catching Fire was more compelling than the first book in the THG trilogy. It's just that this book made me feel more, made my heart LITERALLY ache, for Peeta and for everyone decent enough to be mourned for. I was reading until 5AM and I couldn't stop and I couldn't bring myself to sleep immediately because I keep pondering what's gonna happen. I felt like the first book was like the pilot of a TV series, wherein it established the grounds of the story, the dystopic world our characters live in, the harshness they face everyday. But this book elevates that and raises all the stakes. An uprising, a rebellion, a revolution, whatever you want to call it, is more intense than any Hunger Games for me, than any Quarter Quell. Because a single Hunger Games, though kills kids, affects only some. But a rebellion, it can wipe out a tyranny, a government so twisted they kill kids for entertainment. Maybe it's just that I just came from a semester full of political ideas and thoughts and I remember Machiavelli wanting to overthrow the current government and establish a republic. It just made for a gripping novel for me.

I didn't cry at the first book, not even with Rue, because I keep on stopping and preparing myself for any sadness that might come my way. But this book didn't allow me to prepare, because it comes out rolling unexpected events my way that I can't help but just swallow them in and man up and toss around a little in my bed and move on, only to face greater pains and fears. I admit I was so stressed by the first part of the book. Case in point: My heart actually aches, as in real pain, just by reading how Peeta gets used and how his feelings are sidestepped and on the sidelines for Katniss. I felt really irritated about Katniss; how can she trample and use Peeta without Peeta asking for any in return and how she didn't give anything to him too. It just felt too unfair to my dear Peeta. I also found Katniss' voice to be different, I dunno, from the first book. Maybe Collins had found it difficult at first to regain Katniss' voice when she was writing Catching Fire but I found it unsettling and weird at first. But that minor gripe was the least of my problems after everything that happened in the book. (Another minor gripe would be the lack of Gale. How can I root for Gale when I know so little about him and Peeta's been causing me heart pangs even with just staying with Katniss as she sleeps. How?)

I had goosebumps reading some parts of the book and I rarely get that from reading a book. I'm more of a visual person, honestly, so that's a feat. I said I'll be putting off reading Mockingjay out of the stress Catching Fire has brought me but I think I can't do that. I need to bite on that book now.

*Originally posted last April 3, 2012

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