One thing about waiting too long to read a book so deliriously talked about by most people is that you get to read more about the reviews and how everyone is raving about it, and so you set your expectations much too high.
Catching Fire is the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy, and almost 6 months after I read the first book, I get to read the sequel. I voluntarily restrained myself (with much effort, of course) from buying the last two books because of a self-imposed book challenge (where I’m miserably failing, as of the moment, boo) I set at the beginning of the year. Thanks to K.D. of Goodreads, I got my second and third books, all for free!
Catching Fire begins with Katniss Everdeen back at District 12 preparing for the Victory Tour. Now and then, she sneaks into the woods and meets up with her bestfriend Gale as she usually did before the Games. Katniss is beginning to finally enjoy her victory from the Games – a new and much comfortable house, plenty of food on the table, and an opportunity to help some of her neighbors. But things are starting to change in her District — the activation of the electric fence surrounding the District, the appointment of a new Head Peacemaker, the demolition of the hob. Katniss then gets a visit from President Snow himself, who directly threatened her if she does not act according to the wishes of the Capitol. Rumors of uprising in the surrounding districts are heard and Katniss is caught in the midst of a rebellion she has not planned to get involved in.
So, as I’ve said, before I got to read Catching Fire, I already have high expectations about it. Who will not, when almost all ratings I see in Goodreads are 5 stars. Sad to say, though, I do not share the same elation.
Catching Fire does not have the same fast-paced action and suspense as The Hunger Games. I find the first half of the book dragging and boring, and this is where I start to get annoyed with Katniss. She just cannot make up her mind. Though, I must concede, she’s been through a lot, not to discount the fact that she has been through near-death experiences in the Games. Still, a 17-year old can make decisions for herself, right? Like when she decided to take the place of Prim during the reaping, or when she decided to eat those berries towards the end of the Games. Why then can’t she make up her mind what she feels towards Peeta? Or to Gale? Then again, that really happens. Being torn between two lovers. Haha. But still, I expect a wiser and more determined Katniss, after all that she went through while she was fighting for her life at the arena. And all that kissing. I may be a little prudish here, but a 17 year-old girl who goes about kissing a guy she says she does not have any romantic feelings for, is for me, a little overboard. Katniss may have been doing it for the cameras, but I think Suzanne Collins here is trying to force the romance angle for more publicity.
If I can divide and rate the book in two parts, I give 2 stars to the first part — before the Quarter Quell, and 4 stars to the second part — the Quarter Quell itself. I love the genius idea of a game that simulates a clock. I love the action and the suspense and how you cannot know who are the enemies and who are the allies. There are characters too from the first book that I have grown more fond of like Cinna and Haymitch and President Snow. I love that President Snow has more appearances here than in the first book. His character is very interesting.
I reserve my final choice whether I am “Team Gale” or “Team Peeta” after I am done with the third book. But right now, I am leaning towards Gale. I am just a sucker for bestfriends-turned-lovers types of love stories. 😛
Catching Fire, despite its seemingly stagnant pace, gives a lot of promise. It provides just the right amount of suspense — teasers — to urge me to immediately read the last book in the trilogy. I am willing to overlook the apparent (and probably, intended) lull in the pace of the story and find out whether Suzanne Collins can actually deliver the perfect conclusion to this amazing saga.
Now, on to Mockingjay.
My copy: Plastic-covered hardbound copy from Kuya Doni. Thanks! 🙂
15/50 2011 Goodreads Reading Challenge.