Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins

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Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

After Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games, their lives changed forever. They’re now totally loaded, for one, and Katniss and her mother and sister moved out of their old shack into newer, more desirable living quarters in District 12. That means no more scavenging just to make ends meet; no more hunting for food; no more cold showers. They’ve got everything they could possibly need in the district. Everything except freedom, that is.

Even though they’re home, the Capitol still controls their every move. It’s less obvious at first, and life assumes some kind of normality for Katniss and Peeta for a little while. But then the Quarter Quell is announced – another version of the Hunger Games – and Katniss, Peeta and Hamish find themselves in the middle of another Capitol scheme to ensure complete and utter control over all citizens everywhere.

But the people aren’t having it, and those with enough guts and manpower are revolting against the Capitol’s regime – and they’re using Katniss as their inspiration. If Katniss can defy the capitol in the arena, like she did with the berries, then they can too. If Katniss can manipulate the Capitol through her ‘relationship’ with Peeta, then surely they could find a way to do the same. Their freedom, their quality of life depends on it. Katniss hopes like hell they do, because in the meantime, her and Peeta are the Capitol’s pawns. They have to do what the Capitol wants, or they risk the lives of the people they love.

Love.

It’s certainly an issue that is dealt with in Catching Fire. Although he seems to have accepted that Katniss’s affections for him in the arena were fabricated, Peeta still loves Katniss. And it’s not that Katniss doesn’t feel for Peeta, it’s just that she feels for another, too. Does she love Gale? It’s clear that Gale loves her. It seems no matter whom she chooses, someone she cares about is going to suffer. Then the Capitol picks up on to Katniss’s little dilemma and interfere in a way that makes life almost impossible for her. Can’t choose? No problem. Katniss’s choice is made for her…

After the hugely popular The Hunger Games, I bet a whole stack of you have the Mount Everest of expectations for Catching Fire. No problem. Suzanne Collins takes those expectations, stamps all over them, and proves that she’s a force to be reckoned with.

Her prose is effortless and her characters shine brightly in a world of chaos. Katniss is brave, logical, and she certainly has her priorities in order. When the going gets tough, she doesn’t forget what the important things in life are. She’s an outstanding role model for teenagers everywhere.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll gasp, and your heart will break. I can’t wait for the third book. Pity the release date is so far away!

Rating:[rating:5]

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