Book Review - Catching Fire

By Suzanne Collins

I have been looking forward to this book since I read the first in the series, Hunger Games. That book set some pretty high expectations in my mind, and usually I find the second book in a series disappointing. Catching Fire absolutely blew me away. If possible, it was even better than the first. In fact, Catching Fire smoothly ushered me back into Katniss’s world from the first sentence, and I was thrilled to return. Once again, Collins creates a tightly-plotted story with characters so real and action so vivid I feel as though I am there, living the fast-paced story through the viewpoint character.

Katniss is still torn between her impossible-to-dislike partner in the Games, Peeta, and her lifelong friend, Gale. But Katniss’s life is no longer her own, and she soon discovers that the choices she makes will affect not only those she loves, but will ripple through all the districts and even – or maybe especially – the Capital. The refined and ruthless President Snow reveals that she has become the unwitting symbol for the unrest that simmers beneath the surface of a populace that is not as beaten down as she has always assumed. Snow tells her that she must convince the world that the love she and Peeta faked during their Games is real. If she doesn’t, he will kill Gale. When faced with grim proof that the ruthless leader will follow through on his threat, she realizes that her life must be dedicated to protecting those she loves from harm. But then, in a plot twist that stopped my heart and riveted my eyes to the pages of this excellent book, Katniss is plunged even deeper into events that are spiraling out of her control – and into a nightmare she thought she had put behind her when she emerged as a victor from the Games.

The futuristic society Collins has created is at once fascinating and frightening, and totally believable. Once again, my only complaint is that this book’s ending leaves the reader hanging, wondering what will happen to Katniss and Peeta and the rest of the characters we care about. Whatever happens, I’ve come to trust Collins to deliver a riveting, pulse-pounding story with twists I can’t even begin to anticipate. I have one message for this talented author: write faster!

A note to readers: Since I write Christian novels, I always feel compelled to tell people when I recommend a book that isn't classified as Christian fiction, and this one isn't.