Sunday, July 8, 2012

Catching Fire

I know that at this point, it is probably unnecessary to explain anything about Suzanne Collins' amazing dystopian Hunger Games series.  I reviewed the first book earlier this year, so that I would have read it before seeing the movie.  I knew before I had even finished the first chapter that I was hooked and needed to start trying to get my hands on a copy of the second in the trilogy, Catching Fire.  I had received my copy of The Hunger Games in a giveaway, and I needed to get the UK edition of the sequels, so that they would match on my bookshelf.  Yeah, yeah...picky, I know, but so what?  I like the covers better anyway.  It was sold out on The Book Depository, but I couldn't wait any longer for them to email me about it being restocked, so I ended up finding it on Better World Books.  It came in the mail last week, and I could not wait to read it - I know those of you who have read it already understand.

I stayed up almost all night rereading the first book, and I started reading Catching Fire earlier today.  And I did not stop until just a little while ago, when I had finished.

Even those of you who have not read the books or seen the movie of the first book likely know that Katniss survived the Games, since you know...there are two books after that first one.  It's no secret anyway, since anyone can pick up the sequels and figure that out from the cover blurbs.  Their final act in the Games which secured their co-victory - something without precedent - has been seen as one of open defiance.  The Girl on Fire may have ignited a spirit of rebellion in the districts and become the symbol of a coming revolution.  But the smoking patch of rubble that was once District 13 makes it very clear what lengths the Capitol is willing to go to, to put a stop to things, and the game they must now play against President Snow may prove to be much more dangerous than the Hunger Games itself ever was.

Catching Fire, just like its predecessor, is absolutely amazing.  The entire series so far is thrilling; Collins writes in such a way that it is very easy to become immersed in the world she has created in Panem:  to visualize the surroundings as if you were there yourself, to find yourself crying with and for characters at emotional moments, to find yourself holding your breath for several pages before finally sighing with relief or gasping and/or yelling out of something else entirely, be it anger, disbelief, or surprise.  There is every bit as much suspense and action as in The Hunger Games - arguably more, even, and the stakes are much higher now that the citizens of all the districts are potentially involved, affected by whatever move is made.  This time, it isn't just about killing or out-living 23 other people.  It's about Prim.  Rue's family.  Gale.  Peeta. Her mother.  Everyone.

There is also something about these books that, after reading them, makes me feel utterly inconsequential and incompetent.  Like I do absolutely nothing of any significance with my life; nothing I do really means anything.  For quite some time, I have honestly been just going through the motions, just to keep myself busy even though I lost any real motivation a long time ago.  Reading dystopian stories, especially the ones like this, that have every potential to become a reality at some point in the makes me think.  Makes me evaluate my life, what I'm doing, who I am.  It makes me think about what's really important.  And maybe it's terrible (okay, I KNOW it's terrible), but the idea of living in a post-war/post-apocalyptic world like Panem - that is something that could really get me motivated.  It makes me want to take up things I've always wanted to try but never had the motivation to go through with - things that could potentially be useful as a survival skill if necessary.  Things that would make me an asset rather than a burden if I made it through the initial chaos.  It makes me want to be truly capable, instead of being able just to function enough to make it through the day.

So, maybe it's because I let myself become so thoroughly absorbed when reading, and this story is still so fresh in my mind, but while therapy and meds have made me able to get out of bed every morning and go to work and classes, and occasionally do something around the house...the thought that one day I might find myself living in Panem (or something like it) makes me want to turn myself into the kind of person I always wished I could be.

Well done, Ms Collins, very well done.




Series Info:  What came before this book?  What's next?
The Hunger Games
- The Hunger Games (Book 1)
* Catching Fire (Book 2)
- Mockingjay (Book 3)

Film Adaptations:
Catching Fire

See what others are saying about it, or buy it now:
Better World Books



  1. You got through this one quick - didn't you just get it?

    1. Yes, yes I did. I did not want to wait! This is tied for favorite series of the year right now.