Review: Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Catching FireOfficial Synopsis

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 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.

Review

I was a little disappointed. Not going to lie.

Catching Fire is unabashedly The Middle Book of a Trilogy, and makes no attempt to stand on its own in any way. It picks up shortly after The Hunger Games left off, with Katniss sort of floating about with no direction while an uprising begins everywhere but where this story takes place. Uprising? What uprising? Katniss has boys to think about!

(This review contains minor spoilers beyond the synopsis)

And this is sort of how Fire reminded me why I don’t read YA fiction. What is with this trend of sloppy love triangles in YA? Peeta and Gale are indistinguishable from one another. One bakes, one mines – that is literally the only difference between them. Katniss’ conflict between the two is about as deep: in District 12,  it’s all about Gale. In the Capitol? It’s gotta be Peeta. But then she doesn’t care about either one of them, so why are we even wasting time with this?

The pace picks up dramatically in the final act of the novel, but Collins cuts it off without any resolution. There was some clever work around how the games were set up, but my appreciation of that was lessened by the Scooby-Doo, end-of-the-episode-recap way in which it was explained.

Ultimately, I feel like a lot of promises were made that cannot be kept. I am disappointed that such a large uprising is taking place that we’re not privy to. It’s unfortunate that Katniss is made to be the catalyst of these events, but it was entirely by accident. She had no intention of starting anything, nor is she interested in doing so. She makes a big deal about not being a piece in anyone’s game, but it’s pretty clear that she’s been manipulated from the start.

At this point, we’re just watching Katniss get tossed around with the occasional whisper of how this is effecting the rest of the world. I have faith that the film will fare better with a broader perspective of what’s going on.

And if nothing else, it will certainly provide eye candy. Mmm.

Catching Fire Fan Poster by Nikola Stojkovic

Quotables

“It’s not necessary. My nightmares are usually about losing you,” he says. “I’m okay once I realize you’re here.”

Ugh.

Rating: 2/5 [rating=2]

There were a few surprises, and the last quarter of the book was impossible to put down. But I was satisfied by nothing. Had there been any sort of resolution, I could have given this a greater score. It suffers from a limited perspective, and I can’t help but feel that this will become a rare case of the adaptation out doing the source.

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