Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My apologies that The Hunger Games have taken over the blog this week. I just happened to read the second book and see the first movie within the same week. Also, my thoughts below contain spoilers, so skip it if you haven't yet read Catching Fire

I do a lot of my reading in the evening, usually devoting an hour or two before I go to sleep to reading. What I've come to realize about reading the Hunger Games series is that they give me wicked disturbing nightmares. When i'm actually reading the book I'm not scared or overly shaken, but I think the notion of killing other humans to survive and the setting of this dystopian future must manifest itself in my brain and bring these crazy dark thoughts forth when I fall asleep. 

Anyhow, beyond the nightmares, I did like this book, but I thought the first was better. I felt like the first half of this one lagged and didn't really pick up until it was announced they would be going back into the hunger games. (Even the hunger games in this book weren't nearly as exciting as they were in the first.)  It's also a pet peeve of mine when authors reiterate plot points from the first book in a series into a second, as if the audience forgot main parts of the first book. Suzanne Collins did just that, quite often, which got on my nerves. 

But once I got beyond that, my interest was sparked after Katniss met the two women from district 8 in the woods and they related their belief that District 13 was never actually demolished, citing the mockingjay that continually appears in the upper right corner of the screen. That was really the first scene when I thought okay, this is going to get good. I also liked how it examined the life of the winning tributes beyond the hunger games, and what kind of live they eventually live. 

I think Catching Fire might be more of a bridge between the first and third novels of the series than a stand alone gem, like Hunger Games. It lacked the magic and and excitement that the first exuded. I do plan on reading Mockingjay. I'm thinking this one will detail a full-on revolution of all or most of the districts in Panam. I'd love to see Katniss lead this revolution, as she has unknowingly become a sort of martyr for it. I'd also be happy if she ended up with Gale. I can't help it, it's the 16-year-old girl in me. 

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2009


  1. I started (and finished) the Hunger Games series this weekend- I couldn't help it! Still haven't seen the movie but want to- it was part of the reason I decided to the read the books. I might go today, actually.
    I really liked Catching Fire, actually. I felt like everything was falling into place- in relation to things that happened in the first book and as setting it up for the third and final (like you said).
    I was also annoyed by Suzanne Collins alluding to the plot points of the first book. In my head actually kept thinking, "Why would you not read the 1st book and start from the second?" (in any Trilogy, for that matter).

    I didn't have any nightmares, but I know what you mean. When I was reading "the Road" I had to stop reading it at night 'cause I'd have awful nightmares....

    Hope you enjoy "Mockingjay"!

    1. I liked Catching Fire also but I just thought the first book was better. Since I haven't read the third I can't say, but it did seem like it bridged the first and third books together rather than standing on its own.

      Also, I have The Road at home but haven't read it yet. Now I'm dreading the nightmares!!

  2. I basically agree with you EXCEPT that I think the arena in Catching Fire was a lot more interesting, and by interesting I mean HORRIFYING and AWFUL but really creative! Also, I would say that I thought the fact there was going to be another Hunger Games that Katniss had to be in would be awful and crappy, but actually I think the premise for that was pretty good AND just the kind of twisted thing that Snow would do. So yeah.

    1. Laura you're right the arena was very interesting in Catching Fire, more so than the first.

  3. Brenna,
    I agree. The first was certainly better than the second. I thought it was a little gimmicky- being pulled again? IDK. It is Panem though. And the nightmare situation.. I dreamed I could travel through time every night when I read 11/22/63. Justin even woke me one night when I had drifted off on the couch and I literally thought (I was still pretty much asleep) that we could just time travel to start the day again (and said this aloud). Very strange. Nightmares are no good though.

  4. The whole rehashing the plot of the previous book thing drives me nuts too. I'm glad you enjoyed this one though. I read it back to back with Hunger Games a few years ago and loved them. I'm really interested to see what you think of Mockingjay. It's completly different from the first two and people tend to either love it or hate it.

  5. I totally agree with you--I thought the first book was way better than the second one. Mostly I just got upset because I thought Collins was almost cheating. It was clear to me that her literary strength was in writing the excitement and pacing of the Arena, and when she contrived to get Katniss sent right back in I was actually frustrated. The arena sequences are really interesting and all, but it was like she was going back to her safety zone instead of pushing into new places, and I felt kind of cheated. I actually felt like that at the end of the first book too, when I was really confused about why they hadn't started a rebellion against the evil empire! Not that it's not all good--she just has a very specific strength, and I think the scope of the series goes quite a bit further than that strength, much like Katniss actually.