Friday, 15 June 2018

The Hunger Games Catching Fire...The next instalment

Title: The Hunger Games Catching Fire
Author: Suzanne Collins
ISBN: 978-1-407109-36-7
Rating: 7/10
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Drama
Book: Paperback

"Well, then this is your lucky day,' I say, dropping my game bag on the floor. People are starving all over the district and we still have more than enough. So I've been spreading things around a little. I have my own priorities: Gale's family, Greasy Sae, some of the other Hob traders who were shut down. My mother has other people, patients mostly, who she wants to help. This morning I purposely overstuffed my game bag with food, knowing my mother would see the depleted pantry and assume I was making my rounds to the hungry. I was actually buying time to go to the lake without her worrying. I intended to deliver the food this evening on my return, but now I can see that won't be happening."

I welcomed reading the second Hunger Games story as I had so enjoyed reading the first one. I read the first book in January 2017. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it in about 3 weeks. My review can be found here. So I was really looking forward to getting back into the book and finding out what happened to Katniss, Gale and Peeta.

I had spoken to a number of people about the second book who had told me it was not as good as the first. So I was a little tentative to start it. I did think about leaving the last two books and just enjoying the first one as much as I did. However, the curiosity got the better of me and I had to read them. I can't leave a series unread, so I started Catching Fire being optimistic.

The book starts with Katniss in District 12, in the woods, hunting. Katniss has just left The Hunger
Games and would do anything to not return. She would rather forget they ever happened and she had to do the horrendous things she did in order to survive. However, they did happen and she cannot avoid them as she is about to embark on a victor's tour around all districts.

Katniss is a very confused, angry and scared young lady. She was only 16 when she entered The Hunger Games as a nomination instead of her sister Prim. Katniss has had to do a lot of growing up and quickly since her father's death 5 years prior in a mining accident. It is very easy to forget that Katniss is only 16 and not the adult she portrays herself as. She is very wise for her years and has a good judge of character.

Katniss would love to return to District 12 and live her life with Gale, her childhood friend who she has realised means more to her than friendship. But, President Snow has other ideas. Following a visit from the President, everything changes for Katniss, Gale and Peeta. Peeta is the other survivor from District 12. This does not happen. Only one person can survive the Games. President Snow does not approve.

Katniss and Peeta find themselves in a horrendous situation possibly facing an unheard return to the Games. They survived the Games and now the Capitol wants revenge. However, due to Katniss' success, there is trouble in the other Districts and this must be stopped.

I found the second book in the series took a lot longer to get going compared to the first one. There was a lot of action in the original book and people the Games started very quickly with lots to follow. The second book took a lot longer to actually get to the Games. I noticed I was reading and starting to wonder when they were to enter the arena as I was soon going to start running out of the book. There was a lot of writing and storytelling about what was happening prior to going into the Games. About the unrest in the other Districts, about how Katniss felt towards Gale and Peeta and who her feelings lay with, I personally still don't think she knows herself. I did feel very engaged with Katniss' emotions. Collins does a very good job of involving the reader in Katniss' thoughts and feelings. I could understand Katniss' fear for herself, her family and for her livelihood. However, I did feel sorry for both Peeta and Gale. I felt Katniss pulled Gale along. She did not have a lot of consideration for his emotions and feelings and as long as she wasn't hurting Peeta then Gale was inconsequential. Peeta, however, was very much Katniss' main focus and she wanted to make sure he was safe and alive. I liked Katniss but I think she was very undecided and just wanted everything her way.

The contestants still did not know what to expect and they quickly realised they need to make alliances if they are to survive. The question was had they made the right ones? Haymitch, Katniss and Peeta's mentor has ideas of his own of how he wants them both to perform in the Games. They
either do not know about Haymitch's plans or do not agree with them and want to create their own alliances regardless. The contestants have all experienced the arena before, but nothing like this. It quickly becomes clear how the arena works and the group use this to their advantage. Will this help them survive or will it be a hindrance to the group?

I thought the characters were well written and I felt Collins did a very good job at continuing Katniss' character as self-absorbed and only interested in her own gains. I feel she portrayed herself as wanting what was best for Peeta but I believe she was only interested in what she could get from the situation.

Due to the time it took for the Games to actually start this is why I have given Catching Fire 7/10 and the original book a 9/10. I did enjoy the book and I would recommend it to others, however, I would have liked the story to be longer to make sure justice could be done for the terrible atrocities that happened to the characters in the Games. I am still optimistic for the next and final book and hope I enjoy it as much as I did the first.

Rating: 7/10
10-Word-Review: Another good book in series, hope the next is better

Next, I will be reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I bought this book as a treat to myself in the book fair sale at school. I bought it when the film was in the cinemas. I have seen a number of other people read it but I haven't yet read it and I have only heard good things. I know the story briefly so I am preparing to get the tissues out ready...Steph xx

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