ImageTitle : Catching Fire

Author : Suzanne Collins

ISBN-10: 0545586178

ISBN-13 : 978-0545586177

Paperback : 400 pages

The Plot :

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins is the second book in The Hunger Games series. In the previous book we see that Katniss and Peeta are crowned the victors of the 74th annual Hunger Games. They are the most celebrated people amongst the population of the Capitol and the districts but President Snow sees them as a major threat. They were crowned the joint victors when they show up the Capitol using some lethal berries.

This books starts a couple of month after the 74th Hunger Games have ended. Katniss, her family and Peeta have moved into the victors village in houses next to Haymitch. Katniss and Peeta continue to pretend they are in love with each other when the cameras are on but in private they barely acknowledge each other’s presence. They both are recovering from the previous games as they both suffer from nightmares and flashes of the brutalities they witnessed. Katniss is still unsure of her feelings for Gale.

Soon the team from the Capitol is to arrive to prep them for the Victory Tour to all the districts and the Capitol, but just before they arrive President Snow visits Katniss to warn her that he is watching her every move and he wants her to make sure that she is not the cause of a rebellion amongst the districts. Frightened for the lives of her friends and loved ones, she and Peeta prepare for the tour.     

During the tour, Katniss and Peeta do their best to follow the instructions from the Capitol but they soon realize that their acts in the 74th Hunger Games have given rise to sparks of a rebellion amongst the districts. They see riots ensuing after each of their public appearances and brutal punishments levied on the citizens by the peacekeepers. Knowing this would have surely angered President Snow, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch decide the best way to show that they are on the side of the Capitol is to publicly announce their engagement.

As the Victory Tour goes home to district 12, Katniss finds out that people in District 8 are verging on rebellion. She realizes that her mockingjay pin has becoming a symbol of rebellion. She has become a symbol herself without ever wanting to. She tries to convince the Capitol and President Snow that she is excited about the upcoming nuptials. In the meantime, President Snow is furious and decides the only way to put an end to the rebellion is to kill Katniss.

He announces the next Hunger Games, a special version called the Quarter Quell. The Quarter Quells celebrate anniversaries and are extra gnarly versions of regular Games. In this one, the 75th Hunger Games, former winners form each district will have to re-enter the arena and fight to the death. This means Katniss has to go back and risk almost certain death for the second time. Initially in shock, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch are all hysterical but eventually they come to their senses and start to prepare. Katniss makes Haymitch promise that he will help her save Peeta in the arena this time around, no matter what.

They work out to get into shape and strategize as much as they can. They study tapes about each of the other victors who will be their rivals in the upcoming games. They learn their strategies and think of ways they can be beaten.

Then Katniss and Peeta have a bit of time to train for the Games. Haymitch wants them to select allies, but they’re not really into it. They evaluate the other players, but Katniss really just wants to be alone with Peeta. Peeta and Katniss get closer and closer. Then it’s time for the last public event before the Games: interviews. At the televised interviews, each of the tributes takes a dig at the Capitol when it’s his or her turn to talk. Katniss makes quite a sensation with her costume: she’s wearing a wedding dress that transforms into a feathery mockingjay outfit. Then Peeta goes even further by telling the audience that he and Katniss are already married and that Katniss is pregnant. This really pulls the audience’s heartstrings and fuels further unrest throughout Panem.

Soon they are all thrust  into another arena with its own challenges. They must fight to the death and only one will survive. As they try and figure out the weird things that happen in the arena including poisonous gases, blood rains, lightening and storms etc. they are tortured physically, mentally and emotionally. The only difference in this game is that the actions of the other tributes don’t make sense to Katniss and Peeta. It almost seems like everyone is trying to help them win. But only one can win and Katniss is sure she wants it to be Peeta, while Peeta has also made a deal with Haymitch to save Katniss.

Overall the book is amazing. It is so fast and gripping that it is unputdownable. It is beautifully written and the locations and costumes are described in such an amazing way that you feel that the story is actually taking place around you. The characters are so well laid out that you feel every pin prick they go through. This book ends at a cliff hanger and leaves you craving more. This is definitely a must read. My next read is for sure, the third and last book in the series ‘Mockingjay’.


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