Title: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2)
Author: Suzanne Collins
When Katniss pulled out those berries during the Hunger Games, she made history. For the first time ever there are two victors and her and Peeta both get to go home. Katniss just wants to forget what has happened and go back to life with her family, but it's not going to be as simple as that. Her stunt with the berries has been seen as an act of defiance and rebellion towards the Captiol and is causing unrest in the districts. Peeta and Katniss are about to embark on the Victory Tour, that will take them to every other District, and Katniss must show the people that the only reason she did what she did was because of how madly in love with Peeta she is. If she fails to calm them then she will have President Snow to answer to, and the consequences will be devastating, not just to Katniss, but to everyone she knows.
I actually really enjoyed rereading this book before the movie. It is such a great sequel and is full of tension and action from the beginning. After reading The Hunger Games, I was certain that the second book could not live up to it, but it exceeded my expectations.
After the horror of the Games I was really intrigued to see what would become of Katniss after that, it's quite obviously not something she can just get over. I was interested to see how it would affect her as a person and the people around her. What would become of her relationship with Peeta? How would her relationship with Gale develop now she was back home?
One of my favourite scenes in the book occurs near the beginning, which is when President Snow visits Katniss. He is such a great character as far as the villain goes; so easy to hate but so cutting and clever at times that you have to applaud him. He warns Katniss that if she is not able to calm down the other Districts and stamp out any thoughts of rebellion that her stunt with the berries has ignited; then she and the people she loves will suffer. He explains it so well:
"Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire, you have provided a spark that, left unattended, may grow to an inferno that destroys Panem."
The Victory Tour was really great as well, and I loved the visit to District 11; it had me choked up just thinking about poor Rue. It also provides us with many great Haymitch moments, as well as Effie ones. They are both hilarious characters for these books and both provide great comic relief during the tougher, more serious parts of the book.
The Peeta, Gale & Katniss love triangle is played out so perfectly in this book. I found myself changing my mind as much as Katniss did. In the first book we see minimal Gale because she spends most of her time in the Games, so it's nice to get to know him a bit better in this book. Gale and Peeta both show their devotion and love for Katniss so much during this book, you kind of feel bad for them both because she doesn't seem to truly feel that way about either most of the time.
Gale gets a lot more time in this book, and so does the feelings that Katniss has for him. She switches between the two so much that it kind of makes your head spin a bit with trying to keep up. At one point I am almost certain that poor Peeta is going to have to forget any thoughts he has of himself and Katniss being together.
"Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable."
She changes her mind so often, or spends her time so indifferent to either of them that I found myself feeling so sorry for both of them. Katniss, well let's be honest, she didn't seem to deserve either of them. Haymitch said it much better than I could ever say it myself:
"You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him, you know."
Now the Quarter Quell, which happens every 25 years of the games, is something that we hear about during the beginning of the book, but it doesn't really become important until about halfway. Honestly, this is a 472 page book and the Quater Quell doesn't become an important event until about 200 pages in. I was actually surprised by this turn of events in the book, because of events that happened earlier on I was sure this wasn't where the book was going. Katniss meets two escapees from District 8, who plant the idea that District 13 may still be out there somewhere.The first time I read the book I was certain that this book would take us out of District 12 and follow Katniss as she hunted for District 13, not back into the Games. But I am really glad it did, because it all just worked so well in this book.
Something I really did love about this book, it finally answered a question I had been asking since book one. How did Haymitch win his Games? I didn't see how it had not come up before, or how Peeta or Katniss weren't desperate to find out from someone, anyone. I was really glad that we got an answer to that question in this book.
Sequels can be very hit and miss, especially when it's the sequel to a book as amazing as The Hunger Games. This book had a lot to live up to and it delivered for me, and still does every time I reread it. I am so happy that the movie adaptation did the book justice as well. As far as book sequels go, this really is one of my favourites.