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Catching Fire (Collins) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Fresh from their improbable victory in the annual Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta get to enjoy the spoils only briefly before they must partake in a Capitol-sponsored victory tour. But trouble is brewing—President Snow tells Katniss directly he won’t stand for being outsmarted, and she overhears rumbles of uprisings in Panem’s districts. Before long it’s time for the next round of games, and because it’s the 75th anniversary of the competition, something out of the ordinary is in order. If this second installment spends too much time recapping events from book one, it doesn’t disappoint when it segues into the pulse-pounding action readers have come to expect. Characters from the previous volume reappear to good effect: Katniss’s stylist, Cinna, proves he’s about more than fashion; Haymitch becomes more dimensional. But the star remains Katniss, whose bravery, honesty and wry cynicism carry the narrative. (About her staff of beauticians she quips: “They never get up before noon unless there’s some sort of national emergency, like my leg hair.”) Collins has also created an exquisitely tense romantic triangle for her heroine. Forget Edward and Jacob: by book’s end (and it’s a cliffhanger), readers will be picking sides—Peeta or Gale? (Ages 12–up.).
Publishers Weekly


(Grade 7 & up) in Suzanne Collins's planned trilogy, set in the dystopic nation of Panem, Katniss has survived The Hunger Games (2008), a fight to the death, and learns that she is now considered a danger to the Capital because she has become a symbol of rebellion. President Snow lets her know he is out to "get her" and those she loves. After she and Peeta complete a victory tour to all of the districts and witness firsthand the unrest and force used to squelch it, she learns that in this year of the Quarter Quell (a special version of The Games), former champions are to be the competitors once again. She enters this game with one goal in mind—to keep Peeta alive. The only problem is that he has the same goal. Suspense abounds as, along with Katniss, listeners experience the games once again, with new secrets and questions about the "true" loyalty of her supposed allies. Katniss's feelings about Peeta and Gale continue to confuse her, sometimes clouding her thinking. While Carolyn McCormick's voice sounds older than one might expect for Katniss, she perfectly captures all of her moods. She is very versatile in voicing Peeta's earnestness, Gale's quiet strength, Haymitch's sarcasm, and the feelings of all the lesser characters. The ending is a cliffhanger, and fans of the series will eagerly await the next installment. —Edie Ching, Washington Latin Public Charter School, DC
Library Journal


World-weary after her historic victory during the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen finds her life forever changed. She and her fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark embark on the requisite Victory Tour, where there are hints of rebellion in several of the districts. Inspired by her earlier example of defiance, citizens have taken to wearing the mockingjay pin Katniss wears. There are twists, turns, and unexpected developments as Katniss faces possible betrayal at every turn. The action in this sequel to The Hunger Games never lets up, with hints of things to come and wrongs to be righted. All of the secondary characters are fleshed out effectively. President Snow's palpable hatred for Katniss oozes throughout his plans for the Seventy-fifth Hunger Games. Readers will groan in frustration at the book's conclusion, since there are so many loose ends. The tantalizing hints of a possible District 13 guarantee more surprises for readers. —Barbara Ward
Alan Review


In the sequel to the hugely popular The Hunger Games (2008), Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, having won the annual Games, are now rich and famous-and trapped in the fiction that they are lovers. They are seen as a threat to the Capitol, their unusual manner of winning an act of rebellion that could inspire uprisings throughout Panem. Knowing her life is in danger, Katniss considers escaping with her family and friends but instead reluctantly assumes the role of a rebel, almost forced into it by threats from the insidious President Snow. Beyond the expert world building, the acute social commentary and the large cast of fully realized characters, there's action, intrigue, romance and some amount of hope in a story readers will find completely engrossing. Collins weaves in enough background for this novel to stand alone, but it will be a far richer experience for those who have read the first installment and come to love Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and the rest of the desperate residents of this dystopia. A humdinger of a cliffhanger will leave readers clamoring for volume three.
Kirkus Reviews




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