In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sometimes when I approach a book for the second time I pause for a moment and wonder, “What if I don’t like it as much this time?” THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins was no exception – but within the first few pages that feeling was immediately squashed and, once again, I found myself swept away by the story.
Knowing what was going to happen in the book did not dull the message much at all for me. I remember being horrified my first time through the story and that horror was still there, but a bit muted. I still cried; when Katniss does the unthinkable for love of family, when Rue cries out for help, when Peeta learns of Katniss’ true feelings.
I’m not really much of a Team Girl – but I’ve always learned a little more toward Gale. I like strong characters (and Katniss is a female character I’ve begun to compare all YA females to). Peeta still comes off as weak to me, helpless. This time I read through the story and found myself wondering what Gale would have done, were he in the same situations. Would he have survived?
Suzanne Collins is very talented. She can take a 350+ page book and make it feel like it barely is 100 pages with her ability to create momentum, suspense, a fantastic world that you are able, almost immediately, to grasp. Her descriptions of the food in the Capital had me drooling and I’m not even close to being in the same boat as these teens from District 12. The imagination behind Cinna and the costumes; the strategy of the games – everything is put together so well that, once started, I can’t imagine anyone putting this book down.
This book goes on the yearly re-read list for me. It’s one of those stories that will make your imagination jump around like a 5 year old who has eaten too much sugar.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
In preparation for MOCKINGJAY I’ve re-read both THE HUNGER GAMES and now CATCHING FIRE.
I’m telling you right now, I’d give anything to have Suzanne Collins’ imagination.
So for those of you living under a rock, CATCHING FIRE is the sequel to a story in which Katniss, a teenage girl, gets thrown into a deadly game of “Survivor”. This story begins with the tour of the victors and we are lulled into believing that Katniss is finally safe, that it’s finally over.
Oh no. Suzanne won’t let us off that easily. I think the Games in this book are, in their own way, even more terrifying than in the first. The idea of the island, the players involved and the stakes do so much for the story that I’m sitting here covered in goosebumps. To make matters even worse I know that I’ll be blubbering like a baby on Tuesday because Suzanne Collins has a way of twisting a story so well that you can’t help but get caught up in it.
Fantastic middle book to a brilliant trilogy!