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VINE VOICEon 11 October 2011
Soon to be a major film series. Something I found out after reading the first one. I can see it being a good film, although reading up on that and the books more, it seems this series is less of a hit with the male population - on the premise that this book mentions romance.

So, to clarify. I'm a man. I'm not young adult, and I'm not one for reading romance novels. The Twilight series are just wrong in my opinion.

Now we've established that, I can hopefully persuade you that these books are not romance novels. Nor are they just for kids.

This book picks up a few months after the close of the first (The Hunger Games). Peeta and Katniss are still playing up their romance for the Capitol crowds, and getting ready for their tour of the districts. But word is spreading of an uprising in the districts, and now President Snow is looking for blood.

I won't go in to more detail about the plot - you can read that in the product details above, and to be honest, if you've read the first book, and are already here - why haven't you bought this yet?

I've read some reviews saying this book isn't as good as the first one. I disagree, partly. The plot, and the writing are as good, if not better than the first. It lets itself down slightly by The Games being not as involved as the first book - but then I don't think they really are meant to be. They serve their purpose to get us to the start of book 3 (Mockingjay (Hunger Games)), and they do it well.

If you have read the first book, you should read this right now. You'll enjoy it, I promise. If you haven't read the first book, you need to go do that before reading this one.

I for one, am off to the third book.
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VINE VOICEon 12 July 2009
So, the 'Hunger Games'. What a blazing book that was; 'Battle Royale' meets 'Big Brother'. But the first book only really got the story started. The main attraction of the book were the Games themselves, and only tantalising glimpses of the dystopian world were given.

In Catching Fire, we delve deeper into the history and mystery of this futuristic world. We learn a a few things about how Panem came to be, but also many more questions are raised. Did you think things would become less complicated for Katniss and Peeta after the Games ended? Far from it. Everything becomes far more complicated, and events spiral beyond their control.

The genuinely terrifying President Snow, a snakelike being who smells of blood and roses, is as threatening and hateful when he's not present as when he is. He's angry at our heroes, and getting angrier by the day as the unrest in the downtrodden districts grow. Katniss and Peeta are playing figurative chess with their lives as well as their loved ones. But there seems to be no escaping the power of Snow, and the revenge he brings crashing down upon them is horrific, devastating and, I will admit, completely unexpected.

In fact, that's the whole thing about 'Catching Fire', although the first 'Hunger Games' was an excellent book, it was a little predictable. This isn't. Every chapter seems to end on a plot twist, and your breath will catch in your throat as you fear for what could happen next.

On the downside, 'Catching Fire' is the second part of a trilogy, traditionally the weakest book in three because it neither has the advantage of starting the story nor finish it. Stories are followed up from where they left off, and some are started but not finished, obviously ready for the final installment, but 'Catching Fire' doesn't feel like it's own book. Plus, you could practically split this book in half, each half in very different places, with different stakes and different characters, and both almost completely inconsequential of each other, so it can feel a bit...tacked on at times. Plus 'Catching Fire' does sometimes retread familiar ground, making it feel a bit lazy here and there.

But honestly, these are just nitpicks. If you liked the first book, as I did, then you'll be just as delighted (and terrified) by this one. And, without spoiling anything, the last few chapters could be some of the finest, scariest, most heart-stopping moments I've ever read, and left me gagging for the final book.

If 'Hunger Games' left you hungry for more, then 'Catching Fire' will set you ablaze. Essential reading, for young adults and adults too. Not for the faint-hearted!
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After watching the new film, The Hunger Games, my love for this series has been rekindled and I was eager to get back into reading the other books in the series. It is fair to say that I was slightly distressed when 30 pages into reading this novel, the select button on my Kindle decided to stop functioning rendering it useless. I immediately ran for my laptop determined to keep reading this captivating novel and I haven't moved since. Six hours later, I have finally finished Catching Fire, my bum is completely numb from the lack of activity and my laptop has heated up so much I think it might just melt - but it was worth it.

Catching Fire is the second instalment in The Hunger Games trilogy and picks up right where the first book left off. After Katniss and Peeta were both crowned victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games, there have been murmurs of rebellion in all twelve district of Panem and it's fair to say the Capitol is not happy. The whole point of the Hunger Games is to remind the twelve districts of the power of the Capitol and Katniss has seriously undermined their authority by threatening to commit suicide alongside her 'lover' Peeta at the end of the last Hunger Games. The Capitol had no choice but to let there be two victors that year or face having no victor at all but now Katniss and Peeta must bear the consequences. Katniss has become a Mockingjay, a symbol of rebellion for all those in Panem and the Capitol is determined to suppress this. With the 75th annual Hunger Games coming up, or the third Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games with a twist that comes about only once every 25 years, the Capitol's got a trick up it's sleeve to quiet the unrest in Panem, and it's a shocker.

Whilst the first instalment of the series is predominantly a dystopia novel, there were some suggestions of a romance forming between Peeta and Katniss. This is explored much further in the second novel as the pair have to face the Capitol together. Whilst their relationship was all an act in order to survive in the arena (at least from Katniss' point of view), their lives are now forever intertwined by the Capitol. Personally, what I find most interesting about this series is the love triangle between Peeta, Gale and Katniss and since the first Hunger Games is over the focus moves onto this strand of the plot.

As I mentioned before, I literally just sat down and read this book for six hours straight. That is how addictive it is. I was completely engrossed in the novel and was basically dead to the world until I finished it. This book is a real page turner that's really easy to read. The plot flows from page to page seamlessly so you don't even realise how much content you're going through. There were a lot of shocking moments for me during this novel that I, in no way shape or form, saw coming, which is refreshing after reading so many predictable teen novels. This book took hold of me from the moment I read the very first word and I was completely drawn into the world of Katniss Everdeen. There are some really beautiful and heart warming moments but also some which have you tearing your hair out or clasping your hand to your mouth in shock. This book made my heart pound like few books have done before it and is definitely one of the books at the top of my recommendations list. Whilst there are some elements that are similar to those of the first book, this book is still full of completely original ideas and it isn't in the least bit repetitive.

Now that I've finished reading the book and it's review, I'm straight off to read the third and final instalment of the trilogy, despite the mountainous pile of revision I've got to get through. Yep, it's so good that A-Levels have been completely shoved to the back of my brain. If you haven't read the series or watched the film then you are seriously missing out on what's deemed to be the 'next Harry Potter and Twilight' and I highly recommend this book to boys and girls of all ages for a thoroughly gripping read.

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Having survived the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is back home in Sector 12, not looking forward to her role as a mentor for the next year's games. She is surprised to hear rumours that her defiance of the Capitol and President Snow during the Games has sparked unrest and even discord in other sectors. When she and her co-winner, Peeta, conduct a tour of the districts, Katniss realises that her name and her emblem, the mockingjay, are being taken up as a symbol of rebellion and hope.

Determined to crush Katniss's influence, Snow arranges a special new Hunger Games event for the 75th anniversary of the games. All the living winners of the games must return to the arena for a fresh battle...

Catching Fire is the second volume of The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins' highly successful, post-apocalypse, dystopian YA SF series. Collins never intended to write a trilogy, so Catching Fire has some work to do to set up a bigger storyline that will be resolved in the following novel, namely the move from merely being a story set in a dystopia to a more epic story about the overthrow of the oppressive government.

For these reasons Catching Fire has some issues. We're more than halfway through the novel before the second Hunger Games kick off, and we're not able to spend much time with those games before the conclusion arrives. This is a shame as Collins addresses some of the weaknesses of the first set of games, with many more contestants being identified and much better-characterised than first time around. The arena is also far more ingenious, with many more deadly traps. The games section of the novel and the conclusion are both rushed in an attempt to cover as much ground as possible before the final novel, which hurts the quality of this book.

That said, it's still a fast-paced, readable and enjoyable book. We see more of Panem and get more of a sense what life is like for people living there, which is essential to better-establish the wider backdrop of the series. On the characterisation front, Katniss isn't always a sympathetic protagonist and often makes mistakes, which makes her more relatable and real. Other characters, like Peeta and newcomers like Finnick, are also given some solid scenes and character-building moments. The mutual hatred and anger between Katniss and President Snow is also well-handled. However, the Capitol and its rulers are rather dense in this book. Everything they do seems designed to inflame the situation and further the rebellion, which is weird for people who've been in charge for a century and have used the Hunger Games as a form of propaganda and control for seventy-five years, which requires some savvy knowledge of media and PR. Instead, the plot feels set-up ahead of time and both the reader and the characters are along for the ride.

Catching Fire (***½) is a drop down in quality from The Hunger Games, but still an enjoyable and entertaining novel. It is available now in the UK and USA.
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on 1 August 2011
The sequel to the brilliant Hunger Games once more begins in district 12, a town torn apart by poverty, forever in fear of its rulers, The Capitol. After surviving The Hunger games, Katniss and Peeta live a life of luxury and wealth in glorious mansions, no longer afraid of starvation. But do not be lulled into the lie that this is a happy ending, no, Katniss must live a life of deception, convincing The Capitol that she is madly in love with Peeta when she infact has feelings for her life -long friend Gale or shall face the consequences which are frigteningly clear: She and all she loves shall die. In the first novel, you are reasured that none of her family will come to any harm and that the only ones in any signicant danger are Katniss and Peeta. There are no such reasurances in this novel, so in one respect this is a scarier novel than The Hunger Games.
In terms of structure, this is quite a different beast to The Hunger Games, for instance while in the first novel most time is spent on Katniss preparing for the games and the actual event, focussing on the tributes tactics including her own and the events within the games. Giving you only a brief introduction to District 12 itself. Catching Fire focuses on the events outside the arena and the possiblities of revolution. The actual games are a little rushed. There is far less blood letting in Catching Fire but do not be tempted into the notion that because there is less violence the book is in any way lighter than The Hunger Games, as with most trilogies, the books only get darker and this is a very unpredictable and unsettleing read. There are truck loads of suspense and you cannot stop asking yourself centillions of questions surrounding President Snow and his ruthless, uncaring government. I prefer The Hunger Games only by half an inch because it is a little more satisfying and reveals this cruelly imaginative world for the very first time. If I don't start reading Mocking Jay anytime soon I think my head might explode.
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on 28 March 2012
First off, before I get chastised for the heading, this book was very good, but it could have been amazing given the introduction of several new much better rounded characters and an all singing all dancing super new arena in the shape of a clock. As others have alluded to, it was to put it crudely, somewhat of a "rush job".

I won't give a pointless synopsis of the book like so many insist on doing as it is available above. However what I will say is that Suzanne Collins clearly hadn't envisaged turning it into a trilogy and spent about half the book going on and on about life in district 12 post the games, I have to be candid here and say I struggled at times to keep interested. Katniss doesn't really develop as a character nor do the first games seem to have taught her much, she is still the same brash, reactive girl. I gave 5 stars to the original, so I was expecting so much more from the sequel, unfortunately it was not meant to be. It was only when the announcement for the second games finally came about did things start to get interesting again, although by that time so much time had been wasted talking about Katniss's pointless wanderings since her last games that the conclusion was rather hurried.

I have read all three of the books, and therefore I can say with confidence that this in my opinion was the weakest although its saving grace is that I don't really think it's a sequel, more a gap filler between the first and third books. This second book could easily have been amalgamated with the third to make 800 pages, which would have made much more sense to me, rather than waiting another year between them.

Still definitely a prerequisite read to the third if you want to finish the trilogy but just a little flat given the tools at the author's disposal after such a brilliant first introduction to Katniss and Panem.

Thank you for reading my review, enjoy!
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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.
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on 20 August 2016
This book was probably one of the best books I have read in a long time. Even after I had finished it I thought about a lot of the things Suzanne said in these books: about the need for power, what would you do for loved ones and how anyone can take a stand. I would recommend this book even if you didn't necessarily like the first one. (Which is a hard to believe). This book left me feeling like I could do whatever I put my mind to!
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on 7 June 2016
Written by by 11 year old son -

"Part 2 of the outstanding hunger games series, Katniss Everdeen must get used to the upper class lifestyle. But winning the hunger games may not be as grand as at first it may seem.
Even better than the first novel, and that's saying something! New characters introduced, more mysteries and action-packed! Recommended to anyone and everyone. I cannot wait to read the third and final book!"
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on 18 May 2016
Katniss doesn't have long to rest on her laurels as a Hunger Games victor before President Snow's administration comes up with a plan for a special anniversary Hunger Games to try to dispose of her and most of the previous Champions, seen as a potential focus of rebellion. She has unexpected allies, though, and things don't go according to his plans, setting the scene for the final book.
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