Ally’s #29: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

A gracious friend let me borrow the last two books in the Hunger Games series…I can’t say I didn’t immediately open the book the second I got home :) I think I’m going to work hard to never have to pay for another novel again.

Anyhoo, I’d have to agree with previous reviews that the first half is rather “love triangle” heavy. In my review of the first book, I included this quote:

 “For the first time, I allow myself to truly think about the possibility that I might make it home. To fame. To wealth. To my own house in the Victor’s Village. My mother and Prim would live there with me. No more fear of hunger. A new kind of freedom. But then…what? What would my life be like on a daily basis? Most of it has been consumed with the acquisition of food. Take that away and I’m not really sure who I am, what my identity is.”

Indeed, Katniss spends much of book two figuring out what her identity is. As a victor, she thinks she can breath easy, but as the time of the victory tour draws near, Katniss receives and unexpected and somewhat frightening visit from President Snow. The man reeks of blood and chemically enhanced roses–perhaps the latter to cover the scent of the former that seems to ooze from his every pore. Since Katniss’ act of rebellion in threatening to deny the Capitol of a Hunger Games victor, a seed has been planted and thoughts of revolt are sprouting up all over the districts. Threats are made, and Katniss aims to pacify was she unintentionally started, but by the end of the story, she’s fully embraced that she is a symbol of revolution.

There’s also some subtle foreshadowing in Peeta’s potential future as the mouthpiece of the revolution. The harder the Capitol presses in on Katniss and the people of Panem, the more convinced she is that Peeta is the very person to influence the masses with his goodness and endearing words. Katniss is resolved to lay down her life for Peeta, the same way he risked everything to protect her in the arena, to preserve him as a leader for Panem.

I guess I can’t expect too much from a girl of seventeen, but there were times in the story where I just wanted to shake Katniss for being so wishy-washy with the men in her life. I suppose when a person is forced to bear responsibilities and weights far beyond their age, they limp behind in other areas.

I don’t want to spoil the book and/or future movie for anyone, so I’ll just say that the second half is a whole heap of unexpected turns. The celebration of the 75th Hunger Games has rule adjustments beyond what anyone could have expected. The Capitol is intent on proving it’s power and quelling any attempt to challenge it in the future.

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