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Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsTitle: Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins

No. of Pages: 391

First Released: September 2009

Synopsis (Courtesy of B&N): “Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.”

Comments and Critiques: Four hours. I opened the package from Stephanie, knew enough to wait until the kids went to bed and dived right in. It took me four hours from start to finish. If that is not enough of a glowing endorsement, I don’t know what is!

Still, I found myself having to wait a bit before I could write my review. There is SO much to like about this book, and yet, I found myself slightly disappointed. Katniss, in my opinion, does not appear to be as strong, as decisive as she is in the first book. She waffles and appears weak, which I did not like. In other words, she appears like a normal sixteen-year-old girl, and that (after much reflection), I think is the point. What happened to her in The Hunger Games was extraordinary, but Katniss is still a girl. Ms. Collins does well to remind us of this fact throughout the book. Not only does this help make Katniss more sympathetic, but it also frames the action of the novel and the consequences of her actions in the Games.

Speaking of consequences, they are definitely unexpected. Waiting to see the Capitol’s reactions to Peeta and Katniss was like peering through your fingers during a horror film. You want to know what happens but know you aren’t going to like it once you do. What happens to Katniss and Peeta is no different. Completely unpredicted, gut-wrenching, and heart-pounding, Catching Fire is another page turner.

As with the first book, this one ends in a cliffhanger. Frustrating to the reader but at the same rate, I enjoy these books so much that I’m not certain I want them to end quickly. As with Katniss’ behavior throughout this book, Ms. Collins gives the audience enough food for thought about government and society that we need to take the time to think through her commentary and form opinions about what she is trying to tell us. If we rushed to the end of the story, we would never do that.

This is a definitely must-read! (I also think that in the right hands, this could become a fabulous movie as well.) I feel so privileged to have been able to temporarily get my hands on a copy of this. I will assuredly be picking up my own copy in September and will be reading it again to savor more of Katniss’ dilemmas.

A HUGE shout-out to Stephanie at Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-A-Holic for sending me a traveling copy of this ARC. Love ya, girl!!

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