Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Hunger Games - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins


Those who read my Hunger Games review will know that I loved it so there was a lot riding on the sequel. It has taken me a surprisingly long time to get through it (about a month) but this is not due to the book, it's due to the shop falling through (twice), World Book Night and also birthdays (I turned 30! and my wife turned  ****, our birthdays are a day apart). I read the first chapter or two then left it and failed to read for ages then, last week I picked it up and zoomed through 200 pages in an evening. I was hooked.

It follows on from where the Hunger Games ends with Katniss and Peeta about to embark on a tour of the districts as winners. The book is split in three with this all happening in the first part. Treated like celebrities by The Capital and heroes of sorts by the District, it quickly gets to the nitty-gritty politics and balance of power with a shocking scene involving an old man praising them for showing up the Capital and the subsequent punishment. For a YA book it doesn't hold it's punches.

The mid section takes care of Katniss finding what her life will be now, for ever. Suzanne Collins paints the candy-land metropolis of The Capital vividly and peppers it with outlandish characters with faces like cats and 'Auto-puke' drinks, with just enough glimpsed to see how extravagant yet totally unaware the citizens are of the wider picture, much more so than the first book. The third part is where the action kicks in though.

I saw it coming. It's a Quarter Quell where every twenty five years since the Hunger Games began, there is a special rule, a uniqueness to all the other games that came before it. I pretty much guessed it once the Quarter Quell was mentioned but if you don't want to know what the third part is then skip a paragraph....gone? OK, so you must know, Katniss, along with Peeta and all the other remaining winners of past games get put back into this years Hunger Games. Despite the repetitive idea, it feels fresh. From the training right through to when Katniss arrives in the arena there is a renewed danger, a familiar yet completely different approach. Everyone knows what to expect, they've all done it.

I loved it all and have Mockingjay, the third in the trilogy, ready to go and can't wait to delve into it. I gave The Hunger Games an 8 on the comfometer so I'm going to give Catching Fire a 7.5, losing 0.5 just because of the sometime stubbornness of Katniss.

I've also held off watching the trailer until I finished the book and I've just seen it. It looks amazing. Roll on November 22nd!

What did you think?

Michael