Friday, September 11, 2009

Catching Fire

Catching Fire starts where The Hunger Games leaves off. Katniss and Peeta have to go on tour and act deliriously in love with each other. They have to convince the Capitol and President Snow that the outcome of the Hunger Games was an act of love, not a subversive act of rebellion. However it was meant, the effect reverberates throughout the districts, whether they view the couple as star-crossed lovers or rebel icons. Is Katniss’s fa├žade convincing enough and how long will she have to keep it up? Also, what other horrors is the next Hunger Games, the Quarter Quell, going to bring?

When I read The Hunger Games, I liked it, but considered it a watered down version of Battle Royale. Catching Fire, however, elevates the series for me and leaves Battle Royale in the dust. This novel shows what happens after the Hunger Games are over. If you think the victors are safe and the trouble is over, you are very, very wrong.

The tour that takes Peeta and Katniss to the other districts illuminates the drastic difference between the rich and poor districts. The setting for the novel is in the future, so these people have many more luxuries and technology than we have. The Capitol is the height of luxury. Its inhabitants have shallow, materialistic worries and have more food than they know what to do with. At parties, it’s typical to see people induce vomiting multiple times to stuff themselves with more of the extravagant food. They have no idea about the hardships the other districts deal with every day. These districts are the polar opposite of the Capitol. If I hadn’t known the setting for the novel, I would have thought that the poorer districts were stuck back in time, being deprived of the luxuries of our own time. It’s shocking to me that despite all their amenities and technological advances that people are still left to starve or die from very curable afflictions.

This book is much more brutal than the last. Because of Peeta and Katniss’s gesture, the police are overpowering the more rebellious districts with beatings, torture, and even killings. I was on the edge of tears for most of the novel, but I was pleased to see a young adult novel push the envelope far beyond what I thought possible. President Snow is one of the cruelest characters I have ever encountered in literature. I was so surprised by the twists and turns of the plot and eventually just gave up trying to predict what was going to happen. The shocks just keep coming, right up to the very last page. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait for the next one!



vvb32 reads said...

ooo, glad to hear you liked it. i just got it in the mail this week. don't know when i'll get to it though. working on a vampire kick right know along with zombieeeesssss.

titania86 said...

Vampires and zombies are awesome, but it's nice to read something else once in a while.