Sunday, April 4, 2010
Catching Fire: Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire is the second installment in Suzanne Collins’ riveting Hunger Games series. Having tricked The Capitol into allowing both herself and Peeta to win the Games, Katniss has become a symbol. To the people of the poorest districts, she is an heroic rebel, outwitting the tyrannical government and inspiring nation-wide rebellions. To The Capitol, Katniss is a rebel who must be publicly squashed as an example of the government’s complete power. When Katniss receives President Snow in her home, her friends, family, and her very life are threatened. Amidst her fear, Katniss learns that the next year’s Hunger Games will be played by previous victors, which must involve herself and Peeta. It is devastating news and Katniss is immediately resigned to dying in the Games.
To be honest, it took me awhile to get into this second book. I’m not sure if it’s because I already knew the characters and the idiosyncrasies of the setting, or if the writing just wasn’t as good. However, once the Quarter Quell Games are announced and Katniss is informed that she will have to compete in the Games again, I couldn’t stop reading. The Hunger Games are filled with action and danger, making every chapter an edge-of-your-seat ride.
Catching Fire is far darker than the first volume Hunger Games. Having been introduced to the evil of The Capitol, the reader knows that the people in Katniss’ world are scared into oppression. However, it is Katniss herself who becomes a symbol for what a person can do against the tyranny that everyone has endured for seventy-five years. When she outwitted the Gamemasters and managed to keep both herself and Peeta alive, she proved that The Capitol could be fooled. There is a definite message of protest in the pages of Suzanne Collins’ novels.
There is also the ever-present romance in Katniss’ life. While she is publicly engaged to Peeta, she can’t help but harbor a flame of love for her childhood friend, Gale. When she is pushed back into the Games, Katniss suppresses her feelings for Gale and directs all of her energy on Peeta, knowing that Gale has to sit and watch as Katniss and Peeta carry on a romance for the largest reality TV program in the country. It’s heartbreaking on one hand, but I also hold a lot of hope for Katniss and Peeta. They have great chemistry and I’d be interested to know what their future looks like.
So, if you’ve already read this novel, you know that Katniss, Peeta, and a handful of others escape The Games and are headed to the supposedly deserted District Thirteen. Gale, as well as Katniss’ mother and sister have already been transported to the rebel district, and are awaiting her arrival. I don’t know what Collins has in mind for the future of these characters, but I have hope that it involves a national rebellion that overthrows The Capitol and abolishes The Hunger Games forever.