Book Review: Catching Fire

Outline of a bird against a yellow orb set on a red background
Collins, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, the sequel to her ever-popular "Hunger Games" novel, certainly bears a heavy burden of doubling-up on the success of her last installment. When I first began reading the novel, I dreaded that my interest in the story might slip away from me. However, as I continued to read, every turn of the page seemed more enjoyable than the last; and eventually, it became clear to me that Collins has done a phenomenal job with sustaining readers' attention and transitioning the story into a new narrative.

When readers left off in the last novel, Katniss and Peeta, in unison, emerged victorious as the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games. As Katniss returns to district 12 though, she struggles with accepting the realization that her life will never be the same. Her feelings of dread culminate when she shares a conversation with President Snow, who threatens the life of her family if Katniss does not abide by his orders.

Snow, and other leaders in the Capitol, have seen Katniss' acts as rebellious, and will do whatever it takes to suppress uprisings. Namely, they devise a plan to host a special for the 75th hunger games, composed of the victors of previous rounds. This puts Katniss in a convenient position for the Capitol leaders, as she is the only female tribute to have ever won from district 12.

Katniss, Peeta, and the district 12 mentors find out about this news during their victory tour, in which Katniss is paraded over Panem and forced to keep peace amongst the districts. Helpless, Katniss and Peeta eventually come to accept the reality of their situation and prepare for the games. Under the council of Haymitch, they make allies with the other tributes, and as the story continues, their defiance manifests into a full-fledged rebellion.

I started reading this book immediately after the last and can say that I am pleasantly surprised with it. Collin's was able to meet the fans' expectations with this new novel, while also throwing in a number of unforeseen plot twists.

One complaint I might file with this novel is that the story parallels the first book in the trilogy too closely. At times while reading, the plot felt repeated, as if Collins' was reusing many of the same plot points from "The Hunger Games".

If you decide not to continue on with this next novel, I would pin my recommendation on "The Maze Runner". The story is similar to "The Hunger Games", but unique enough to engage your intrigue.

Overall, Catching Fire stands to be an excellent sequel to Collins' first book in the trilogy. While it's true that at times this book feels like a repeat of the last, I can say with near certainty that it will surprise you in ways you will not have expected. In the way that the first novel gave you a glimpse of Panem, Catching Fire truly immerses you in the story.

Grade 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Ethan M.

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