It’s out! The sequel to Hunger Games is out!
Okay, so Catching Fire has been out for a couple of months, but in this economy one copy of a novel has a way of circulating through many of my friends and family and students before I have the chance to devour it. You might remember from an earlier review that I referred to Suzanne Collins’ first book in this series as “word chocolate”, and the description still applies to the second. Catching Fire had me biting my nails down to the cuticle. (Poor things look like I dug myself out of a casket.) Who would have thought Collins could outdo herself in the sequel. (Isn’t that the great thing about book sequels verses movie sequels? Book sequels are usually worth the purchase.)
To recap the ending of Hunger Games, the brave and resourceful Katniss Everdeen just won the national Hunger Games, although not alone. She and her doting fellow District Twelve tribute, a baker’s son named Peeta, accidentally survive the death match together under the ruse of a couple deep in love.
This is where Catching Fire begins.
Katniss and Peeta return home, go their separate ways, and only pretend to be in love whenever the Capitol is watching. Katniss wonders if she’ll ever even have a friendship with Gale again—the boy in District Twelve that she really likes. Since the rules of the games clearly state that there can only be one winning tribute every year, the president of Panem fumes as this tiny act of rebellion starts catching on in the other Districts. He fears that the Districts will all revolt as a result of Katniss and Peeta’s stunt, so the president leans on her to convince the public of the victors’ love, to legitimize it with sappy sideways glances and passionate on-camera kisses. Will they be convincing enough for the president? Read it and find out.
My one criticism, which you may have already heard from other book lovers, is that the ending of Catching Fire could not be more truncated! I was all geared up for an ending that tapered into a resolution. Instead I found a spray of unresolved problems that snaked around my sense of closure like a live wire. Am I so angry that I won’t read the third book when it comes out? No. The author hooked me with Hunger Games, and reeled me in with Catching Fire. I can only hope the third will grill me with lemon. (Yeah, time to retire that analogy to Florida.)
In any case, Collins is an exceptional, award-winning author. If you can’t wait for the last book in the Hunger Games series to come out, Collins is also the author of the Underland Chronicles Series. Her novels are praised by Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, The New York Times, USA Today, and…me. Pick up your New York Times Bestseller today. Or at least borrow one from a friend.