David's Reviews > Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
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Apr 17, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from April 02 to 07, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Catching Fire was part of Collins' trilogy that was most recommended to me, with several saying it was better than the trilogy's first installment. It is not an assessment that I can agree with after reading the novel. Collins' excellent pacing and tight writing style that I loved in The Hunger Games are missing from at least the first half of Catching Fire. The action fluctuates between moments of well-written tension to a torpid examination of Panem through the eyes of District 12's touring Victors that only highlights that Collins' excellence at staying in the limiting first-person viewpoint are slipping. Katniss Everdeen's internal dialogue slipped dangerously close to meandering plot exposition too many times for my comfort, and it was disappointing after The Hunger Games.

The focus and quality of Catching Fire improves after the announcement of the Quarter Quell and the move toward the next Hunger Games, but it is a bit too late to pull the novel up to the standards of its prequel. The actual Game feels rushed and the intriguing setting of Plutarch Heavensbee's arena is wasted by the short-shrift it is given. Collins' decision to leave the explanation of the conspiracy--presumably orchestrated by Haymitch--among the majority of the past Victors to save both Katniss and Peeta until Mockingjay comes off as a cumbersome plot device used to throw down the escape rope in the last few chapters. The book moves the story of Panem along, but there is strong evidence it could have been handled much better.
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