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'This is no place for a girl on fire'...
on 23 December 2015
Currently, I am re-reading the entire 'Hunger Games' series for the third time. With most trilogies, after having already read the books twice, they would be undeniably dull by the third time, but not 'The Hunger Games' and certainly not 'Catching Fire'.
Katniss Everdeen has returned to District 12, living in a huge house in the Victor's Village, with all the food, money and luxuries she could want- her reward for being joint champion of the last Hunger Games, alongside fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark.
But Katniss is far from happy. She is barely speaking to her supposed 'star-crossed lover', subsequent to an argument they had on the train, in the previous novel. Security has been heavily enforced in District 12, leading to increased suffering and punishments for all its residents. And there is unrest in the districts, stirrings of an uprising against The Capitol, that Katniss has unwittingly caused.
With the threat of the snakelike President Snow hanging over her, Katniss knows she must face up to her actions and pay the price for the spark of rebellion she has created. And pay the price she does, but not in the way that she expected...
An unexpected twist in the third Quarter Quell, the 75th anniversary of The Hunger Games, means that Katniss and Peeta are once more thrust into the arena, alongside 22 other tributes, all of them victors from past Games. This time, Katniss knows she has no shot at survival. Is this the end for the girl on fire?
I really love this action-packed sequel to the brilliant 'The Hunger Games', although it is not as good as its predecessor, in my opinion. It does come a close second though.
My favourite character is still Katniss, and she has really come along as a character, and the way she handles certain situations, such as her speech in District 11 and the news about the Quarter Quell are very mature and well-written, so it's as if you're experiencing each event through her eyes, and the same goes for all the horrors she faces in the arena. You forget you're sat against your radiator at home- Suzanne Collins' storytelling makes you believe you're fighting for your life in a ticking timebomb of an arena, alongside Katniss, Peeta and their team of allies.
I have also gotten increasingly fond of Peeta, as well. His relationship with Katniss has developed a lot and a sweet friendship lies behind their ongoing staged romance. I liked the way Katniss was striving to sacrifice herself, so that Peeta could be crowned victor, whilst Peeta was determined to give up his life for Katniss.
I loved the development of my other favourite characters too. In fact, one of my favourite parts of the whole book was when Katniss and Peeta were watching a replay of the second Quarter Quell, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Games, in which District 12's very own Haymitch Abernathy was crowned victor. I liked this bit because I discovered more about Haymitch as a character- how he managed to become champion, how the horrors he witnessed in the arena made him into the sarcastic drunkard he is today, and how there is actually a sensitive, emotional person underneath his cold, prickly exterior.
I also liked the introduction of new characters, particularly Finnick Odair. He made a great addition to Katniss and Peeta's team, and within the space of a few chapters, he developed from the shallow, self-absorbed prettyboy that Katniss and the rest of Panem sees him as, to someone friendly and helpful, who has real feelings and a deep concern for others. I particularly felt for him during the jabberjay scene.
I really liked the concept behind the book, particularly all the thought Suzanne Collins has clearly put into the arena and the horrors it contains. Each chapter brings a new key event in the story- there isn't a dull moment during the Games.
But here comes the problem, just the little teeny problem I have with this book. The bit which is the actual Games only begins about 3/4 the way into the book. The book is 472 pages long, and the Games begin on page 321. Only the last quarter or so is in the arena. That leaves a big chunk of the book to talk about Katniss adjusting back to life in District 12, and her Victory Tour. Whilst all this stuff is engaging and interesting, I felt it was dragged out too much and I wish there had been more arena time. But that's the only issue I have and it isn't enough to drastically bring down my rating.
Definitely a worthy successor to the incredible 'The Hunger Games', even if I did prefer the original.
I would rate the book.....
9 stars out of 10.