Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

21 March 2012

{For my thoughts on and experience with The Hunger Games, please click here.}

Anyone who has read The Hunger Games should know that I couldn't very well finish the first book and then go back to living life in my merry way, without finding out how this very intriguing story was going to end. So I read Catching Fire, book two in Suzanne Collins' hugely popular series, and here are my thoughts.

Catching Fire
By Suzanne Collins
*Summary from

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create. 

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. 

My Thoughts: I didn't quite enjoy this book as much as I had the first one. I'd like to get that out in the open before I say anything else. The plot seemed a bit more scattered and less organized than the first, and it was easy to get a little lost at times. It was definitely still interesting, but it could have included a bit more planning beforehand. Also, CF fueled my slight irritation with the main character and protagonist of this story, Katniss Everdeen. Her relationships with both Peeta and Gale began to seem more selfish to me, almost as if she wanted the best of both of them combined into one person (which, as I said to a friend of mine several days ago, is unrealistic at best). 

However, something I did like better about CF in comparision to THG is the conversation. That may sound a bit confusing at first, so please allow me to explain. In the first book, there is so much action at all times that there is hardly a moment for the characters to get to know each other outside of this horrific arena. In book two, we are given more of a chance to get to know the characters as people and understand why they do what they do. That definitely helped in shaping the story.

Pros: Though the beginning is a little slow at points, once you get into the story, it keeps you hooked and is rarely boring. For the most part, good and evil are very clearly defined. Peeta continues to be a good example, despite the actions of those around him. He constantly puts his life in danger for Katniss' sake. Gale is also a good example of someone who will risk his own well-being in order to stand up for what is right.

Cons: Certain indecenies that I was willing to overlook in The Hunger Games I found myself less willing to ignore in Catching Fire. Besides several kisses (in order to keep up the impression of being in love), Katniss also repeatedly has Peeta sleep in her bed when she is troubled with nightmares from the Games. Thankfully, nothing beyond this happens, but I still found this breach in propriety inappropriate. Though I understand that Katniss longs for familiarity and comfort after her horrible experiences, I can't agree with the way in which she seeks out that comfort, and I found this to be an unnecessary addition on the author's part. There is also some violence in the second half of the book, and some mentioning of alcohol. Several characters are not the most — *cough* — modest.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 15+, again with parental consent.

A Bit O' Reading for the Day:
“You've got to go through it to get to the end of it.” — Catching Fire

4 epistles:

  1. I too didn't like this book as much as the first. And I too think the best quality about it is that we get to see and know the characters more. For that reason, it is an important book in the trilogy. The whole fake romance thing does bother me a bit -- but mostly because I wish it was real. For this reason, I don't like the love triangle aspect of the books much. And, I agree -- Katniss does annoy me in this book, but I have to say, I would probably be as indecisive as she, especially if I went through the Games!

    As per Peeta in Katniss' bed, I really liked the innocence behind that, and the sweetness. But, now that you've put it like that, it is a bit of a breach in propriety. Nothing bad happened, and neither character had poor intentions though.

    Liz B

  2. Great review Lizzy! The main reason I liked this book was because of Peeta's wonderful lines, and the brilliant arena. And Katniss annoys me every bit as much as she does you.

    As for the bed...yeah, when I was reading it, the first thing I thought was "Whoa! That's a bit inappropriate!" It was innocent, and it was sweet, but it made me a teensy bit uncomfortable.

  3. I just found your blog and fell in love with it. I love your style of writing; and not to mention your design - it's gorgeous.

    In Christ,


  4. So, I know I already commented, but I wanted to share this link/review to hear your opinion. You and I think along the same lines about the books, and I think this woman presents some interesting points of discussion about THG books. And things to think about as Christian ladies.

    Liz B


"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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