My rating 4.5 out of 5
Where I acquired the book: borrowed from the library
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
Synopsis from Amazon.com
Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.
It took me a few pages to get back into this story, which is the same thing that happened with "The Hunger Games" but once I was hooked I read the book over the course of a day. This time, surprisingly, I wasn't quite as full of questions at the end as I was at the end of the last one. I almost feel like I should have more questions, but for some reason I don't.
One thing I wonder about is the envelopes for the Quarter Quells that state what will make each 25th anniversary special or different from the regular Hunger Games. I am not altogether convinced that these were put together after the uprising and stored away. The envelopes perhaps but not necessarily what is inside of them. I really felt like President Snow might have put in the terms for this one as a punishment for Katnis and Peeta and for all the other winners. Maybe to show the people that they are never safe no matter what. I could feel Katnis's horror when she found out that she would have to be a part of the games again, especially with all of the nightmares she was still having. Also, I can't see how she will ever be able to make a choice between Peeta and Gale if it comes to a time when she is even in a position where a choice can be made. I was left feeling hopeful at the end of the story and will keep August in mind for the final installment of the series. I loved Cinna dress creation for Katnis for the interviews and wonder about his fate.