Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

WARNING: Do not even ATTEMPT to read this review if you haven't already read The Hunger Games. Even reading the SUMMARY will SPOIL IT for you.

Summary: Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 Tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. AFter all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely . And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol--a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the distrcts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. (image from risingshadow.net - summary from book jacket)

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Mindy's Review:

Suzanne Collins. I hate you. You know why.

This book begins where Hunger Games left off. Katniss and Peeta have returned home to District 12. Only they no longer live in the Hob, but in the Victor's Village where they are given every luxury that life in the Districts has to offer. As the dreaded Victory Tour approaches, Katniss begins to get wind of something--rumors of uprisings and discontent among the districts. Something has happened and whatever it is, the Capitol doesn't want anyone to know. They'll do anything to stop it. What the Capitol does to quell public discontent is horrifying, truly, and it'll make you....I better stop there.

I have so many comments to make that would utterly ruin this book for anyone who hasn’t read it but I will attempt to control myself. I will say this --I LOVED IT! I thought it was better than it's predecessor in a lot of ways. I enjoyed the character relationships, the action, suspense, and intrigue and the story made me loathe the Capitol on a whole new level.

I was gripped by this book from the second I sat down. My kids most likely hate me. If one of them wasn't in school right now I'd likely be voted "World's Most Inattentive Mother". There are so many suprising twists in this book that just when I thought I’d recovered from one, Collins would throw something else in the mix and all I could do was sit there helplessly, turning page after page.

If you even remotely liked The Hunger Games you should READ THIS BOOK.

Her rating: 5 Stars. I think of this as a 16+ YA novel – mostly because of the brutality of the subject matter. Dissenters are shot in the head and, like the last book, it gets messy.

Sum it up: Way better than I imagined it would be. This is how you write a book.

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Heather's Review: After a stunning debut in Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta have returned, along with many of the other beloved and despised characters from the first book, The Hunger Games. This time survival seems to hinge on Katniss and Peeta proving their love for each other but it’s a love that is only true for one of them. Pulling it off will mean living life within a concocted fantasy. Failing will mean putting all their love ones in unavoidable danger. If you think this will be merely a heart-wrenching love story you’re in for a big surprise. All I can really say without giving away the plot line is that this is SO much more than a love story. This is a suspenseful novel full of twists and turns that will leave the reader guessing until the end. It’s another very intense novel on many various levels. Trust me, once you have begun this book you will not want to put it down.

The only letdown within book two is the ending, (actually I’m still fuming over it). This story essentially dropped in mid-air. There is no questions that another book is to follow but I didn’t feel like this book was complete in and of itself and I have to say I am disappointed in that. I can’t stop thinking of how just another few pages would have left the reader much more satisfied. I must, however, admit that I am counting the days until the next book is released.My

Her Rating: 4.5 Stars, an ending like that just doesn’t deserve 5 stars

Sum it up: Suzanne Collins has done the near impossible, which is to write a sequel that I loved as much as the first. Please don’t make me wait another year for the next one.

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Kari's Review: I could NOT put this book down. Suzanne Collins moves through the storyline at such a clip that you know something big is going to happen in almost every paragraph. It was so hard finding a stopping place. I felt she developed the characters even deeper, which was perfect. I don't know how she did it, because there is a lot less emotional dialogue in this book, but she has made Peeta (in my mind) even more of a perfect guy than Edward in the Twilight series. I also felt like I related so much more to Katniss than any other female protagonist I've read. She is such a believable character to me: flaws, a good heart, good intentions, but somehow messes things up even when she's trying not to. I appreciate her lack of desire to get caught up in trivial things, distracted by what doesn't matter, or drawn in by frivolties of life--make up, hair, clothing, etc. I can't say I'm exactly like her, but I relate on a some level to this disconnect. Haymitch's character was also delightfully explored. And honestly, I can't believe I used the word delightfully with the name Haymitch, but it's how his character grew on me that makes this description fit.

There were so many twists and turns in the storyline you could never predict exactly what the author was going to do. I had a vague idea how the ending might resolve (which it didn't completely because there's a third book, whoohoo!), but how she got us there was a complete surprise. I will not ruin the story for the reader here. You just have to read this series.I also loved the issues brought up in the book: Humanity, weighing odds as well as less of two evils, family and sacrifice, power and deception. I also fully appreciated that while this is a Young Adult book and it doesn't have swearing of any sort, it is as enjoyable for an adult as it is for a teen.

Her Rating: 5+ Stars

Sum it up: Continuing the ride that is Katniss' life: being a pivotal piece in a nation's possible revolution against tyranny.

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Kim's Review: I have been waiting a long time to read Catching Fire, sequel to Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. Keeping pace with, and occasionally even outrunning, it’s predecessor, Catching Fire throws you back into the tumultuous life of Katniss Everdeen, a 17-year-old girl who miraculously survived the Hunger Games in book one. Collins renews the Twilight-esqe love triangle, giving the book an increased emotional depth that I feared would be hard to sustain throughout the series.

The feeling that I got from Catching Fire was that Suzanne Collins, who occasionally hinted at what happened in The Hunger Games, felt confident enough not to spend a chapter summarizing the novel. In essence, she didn’t allow the reader to cut corners—they would have to pick up the first book to get the whole story. The two books create a storyline that needs to (deserves to) be read from start to finish.

Her Rating: 5 Stars

Sum It Up: Just go BUY them! You’re going to want them sitting side by side on your bookshelf. Can’t wait for the next book….

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Average Rating: 4.875
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1 comment:

alastaircookie said...

Great reviews everyone! I finished reading Catching Fire a few weeks ago and I still can't get it out of my head! =) I didn't think it was possible for me to like Catching Fire more that The Hunger Games- which is why I almost put it off, but it was just as good, if not better! =D I can't wait for book 3 either, squee!

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