Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.
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 districts 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.
In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.
This installment of the series is my favorite, it will always be my favorite, and for the same reason most sequels are my favorite part of a trio – character development!
I talked about how I don’t really think Katniss changes much in THG, but here we see her finally come to a realization about the repercussions of her actions, the potential influence she can have within the country, and a clear point of decision where she decides to stand up for herself and the districts against Snow and the Capital.
I’m not saying it’s an easy path, and Katniss is pretty annoying in the first part of the book to be honest, but I love when she finally accepts her lot. She’s a person with many emotions, but lacks the understanding in herself to really process what they mean. She knows she loves her mother and Prim unfailingly, she knows she has an undeniable bond with Haymich, she knows she cares deeply about Gale and Peeta; but she doesn’t know how to manage what these people mean to her as individuals and as players in her life.
It’s hard to watch really, that fact that she has been in survival mode for so long that she can’t appreciate the caring people around her, or enjoy the sense of comradeship, trust, and partnership that they provide her.
This is also the book that I think is the worst about the Love Triangle. Katniss and her high running emotions that she has no control over have her hurting people left and right, and because she’s unable to comprehend what she really feels, she can’t see it. Honestly, I hate Gale for Katniss. He reminds me of Dean form Gilmore Girls, and I hate Dean. Gale is so moody, and whiny, and ‘why doesn’t she love me?’ Get over yourself Gale, there are other fish in the sea, and they just might be better for her than you are – this really becomes clear in Mockingjay I think, but that’s a discussion for Thursday. Luckily, the angsty love triangle is a moot point once we enter the Quell.
I think we see the bulk of Katniss’ growth preparing for, and during, the games. She has accepted her death, she is determined for Peeta to survive, and she is slowly beginning to see how much of an impact she can have on the downfall of the Capital. I love the where Katniss and Peeta just, get to be. It’s so refreshing in these books where there is constant danger, constant political maneuvering, and endless repercussions, to see them get to be teenagers, enjoying each others company and getting to know one another outside of the games and their mutual experiences.
Beyond the characters and their developing relationships, I really like how we get to see the districts. What’s going on with them, how they differ from 12, what the people are like. Like THG, these segments are often more of a telling rather than showing part of the story, but I still think Collins is able to do it in a way that really works. Seeing the foreshadowing to Mockingjay is also really fun, as it always is discovering new parts of a story with a re-read.
It’s practically a perfect book.