Series or Stand Alone: Hunger Games series, book two
Release Date: September 2009
Author Site: http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/
My Rating: 5/5
Source: Won from giveaway @ Book Chick City (hence the UK Edition)
Synopsis [from goodreads.com]:
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.
Suzanne Collins is a pretty gifted story-teller in my opinion. CATCHING FIRE is a gripping continuation of the Hunger Games that left me desperately wanting more. As I was coming to the last sixty pages I remember thinking, "NO, I DON'T WANT IT TO BE OVER!!!" . I don't want to go into the plot too much for those of you who have not had a chance to read THE HUNGER GAMES yet (becasue I know there are a few of you still out there).
I enjoyed the spotlight shifting to Gale and Katniss' relationship with him because it provided the missing details of their past. They are definitely closer than best friends and they have helped each other survive in District 12 for so long. It's totally understandable why Katniss feels a closeness and obligation to Gale. On the other hand, the romance between Peeta and Katniss is just as confusing to me as it is to Katniss. I can actually feel her inner turmoil between who she should choose. Which is probably because I myself don't know who to choose, although I am leaning more towards Peeta... So the element of the love triangle is a great twist to have in the story but I still feel there is so much more to develop on. Peeta continues to be sacrificing and chivalrous towards Katniss while Gale and his personality are still shadowed by the overall story...
The Capitol is so easy to hate and I like having a great villain in a story. While I love Katniss for her continued strength and ingenuity I don't find her the greatest heroine ever written. But I admire her qualities and the contrast between her and the Capitol are very well laid out. I can't wait to read MOCKINGJAY. The twists involved in book two kept me on the edge of my seat and while I didn't think the ending was a major cliffhanger, it certainly left me drooling for more. MOCKINGJAY has a lot to live up to being the end of the trilogy, there's many loose ends that need to be tied up and I wish it wasn't a trilogy but a series. Either way, I don't think Suzanne Collins will let us down with the next book.