Heather's Reviews > Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
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Sep 15, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: 2009, ya, dystopian, ala-s-best-books
Read in September, 2009

Catching Fire was one of my most anticipated books of 2009. I loved it's predecessor, The Hunger Games and was so hopeful for this intstallment. I wasn't disappointed per se, but it did fail to meet my expectations. Here's a few reasons why...

I don't know what it is with authors and their recent need to load up their books with a hundred or so pages of filler, but I really wish they would cut it out. There is lieterally about a hundred and some odd pages of this book that should have died on the editing room floor. The 9 months that Katniss spends in District 12 only serves to let us know that uprisings are occuring and she has been targeted by The Captial, all of which could have been summed up in a chapter or two.

Second, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that about 90% of those of us who read and loved Hunger Games were team Peeta all the way. Though we knew Gale would be an issue, we were hoping Katniss would "wake up" and realize what a worthy, fine specimen she has in Peeta, well, it doesn't happen that way, and to say I'm bummed is an understatement. I'm kinda pissed.

Katniss doesn't grow in this book at all. She is still a brash reacter, instead of a logicl thinker. I didn't mind it so much in the first book, because who wouldn't be, but the Hunger Games taught her nothing it seems, in either the way she responds to situations or in reference to how she really feels about the people in her life.

Next, I get that Peeta was never much of a badass, but was it really necessary to injure him 10 seconds into the games? That irked me like nothing else. In hindsight, Peeta is one of the strongest characters, menatlly, if nothing else, and yet Collins reduced him to an invalid so that Katniss could rise up to the challenge. Please. It only made me roll my eyes and steam over the fact that I was going to have to read Hunger Games part duex, which wouldn't have been bad except for the fact that I was expecting something more.

Which leads me to my last complaint, the games. Though I could see everything in this book coming, I thought it was rather brilliant to send them back to the games. What wasn't brilliant however, was the games themselves. They started out well enough, but after the crazy fog and freaky monkeys, Collins sort of lost me. Who cares if there is death traps all over the place if you know how to predict it and can avoid it? Not scary.

Basically, this booked lacked the magic of the first, and failed to wow with new material as nothing new really happens. Yeah we learn a little more, and the last few pages shake things up a bit, but I shouldn't have to wait until I've read to the end to finally learn something interesting. There were moments where I would catch a glimpse of what made me love Hunger Games, and for that I give this book three stars. But I can't in good conscious give it more for it lacked character development and basically just served as a pit stop between books one and three. Hopefully the third will be better.
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Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

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Tatiana There are some reviews from people who have already read ARCs. I can hardly stop myself from looking...

Heather I know. But don't do it! I read an arc review of COG and wished I hadn't. I still adored the book, but I missed out on being surprised one one thing cause I knew it was going to be resolved. Control yourself!!!!

Tatiana You are right. I will have to keep constraining myself...

Heather I doubt there will be spoilers. They can't put spoilers in reviews, they put them in the discussions associated to the book ;)

Tatiana You think they can't? I know you can't post any early reviews on Amazon (but in discussions it's ok), but I thought anything is allowed on GR...

Heather I think its a condition of receiving an ARC. I think you have to consent not to give spoilers.

Tatiana Heather, I don't think Collins is a goodreads author

Arlene Collins is not a Goodreads author. Usually it indicated right next to their name if they are. For example, Mandy Hubbard is and it shows right next to her name.

Arlene Another GR author is Laurie Halse Anderson.

Arlene Heather, I'm shocked you didn't like it. :( But I'm glad you finished it.

Heather I'm shocked I didn't like it too, given how much I adored Hunger Games but this book was boring and lacked any development whatsoever until the very end. I'm not going to give it 5 stars because I loved the first one and the characters are back.

message 12: by Anna (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna Your review was spot on and completely mirrored how I felt at the end! Thanks for putting it so well and capturing my exact thoughts! :)

message 13: by Tori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tori I totally agree, especially the part about peeta. He is the coolest ever, and Katniss just spends all her time worrying about gale. Im not going to say it all again, but you completly nailed it. peeta all the way.

Michael This book suffers a lot from middle book in the trilogy-itis.

Lots of treading water...

Chanel Earl Good points, my only objection is to your claim that Katniss didn't change during the book. Even her desire for Peeta to live instead of herself was a huge leap from the first book. Her instinctual, consuming will to live has been replaced with a desire to help the districts rebel, even if it kills her. It is as if her initial gut reaction to save Prim in The Hunger Games has (excuse what follows) caught fire. She isn't a kid anymore. During this book, she became a free-thinking and confident adult. (Or maybe I just hope so, we'll see when the next book comes out.)

message 16: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Heather you obviously didnt like the book but ur whole review was insults and your review was 7 paragraphs! talk about filler

message 17: by Lori (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori I wanted to tell all my friends how great Catching Fire was, but I have to agree with Heather. I was disappointed. The first few hundred pages were slow. And the whole triad between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale reminds me of what Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight. I don't want to read this so I kind find out who Katniss finally chooses. The story has interest by itself.

message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa I loved your review however I couldn't put the book down. Now that I'm done reading I have to agree with a lot of your points. It's funny how I can be persuaded so easily. ;) There was a lot of filler that could have been done away with but I think I was just so anxious to find out what happens next that I didn't notice while I was reading.

I do think Katniss grew a bit but not as much as she needs to. I kept wanting her to want to make friends with the other tributes and convince them all that they need to not fight but she just doesn't see things that way. She has a difficult time seeing things beyond what they are now. I've been guilty of this thinking in my life so I guess I forgive her a bit for that. And I suppose there wouldn't be much conflict in the book if everyone instantly joined forces.

I can see why Katniss is conflicted about Gale vs. Peeta. Until recently she had never even thought of boys in a loving way and so she is having a difficult time sorting these feelings out. She has been in mother mode, protecting and providing for everyone, way too long and just doesn't know how to be a teenager in love.

The character that has driven me crazy is Cinna. I want to really like him but I feel like he is one of the least developed characters in the book and that he needs more depth. We have learned he is a rebel but we don't know the whys and we don't know anything about him other than he designs fabulous clothes. And what do he and Katniss talk about on the phone? One of those conversations could tell us a lot about him. I really hope he is developed more in the next book.

Tamara Hart I could've written this review myself. I almost put the book down when the Gale romance became too strong.

Heather It's good to see that I am not the only one who was disappointed by this book. Thanks to those who liked my review, too bad for those who didn't :)

Tamra I couldn't disagree more with most of your points (other than the filler one. Bring on the story already!!), but I loved your review. Kudos.

Sarah I totally agree with you about everything! The games were so boring this time! And I feel so horrible for Peeta, what is WRONG with Katniss. Jeez!

Kelsie Lori wrote: "I wanted to tell all my friends how great Catching Fire was, but I have to agree with Heather. I was disappointed. The first few hundred pages were slow. And the whole triad between Katniss, Peeta,..."

I definitely agree with you about the whole love triangle thing...It resembles Twilight so much and I hated it.

message 24: by Shannon (last edited Dec 25, 2009 06:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shannon I thought about all these things while I was reading the book, too, but the thing that bugged me the most was how Peeta was injured right at the beginning of the games and then was made to look so wimpy the rest of the time. Also, I really agree with Lisa about waiting for Katniss (and/or Peeta, for that matter, since he is supposed to be the one who can convince anyone of anything) to step forward and lead.

January Glad to see that I am not the only one irritated by this book!

message 26: by Nico (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nico Bah! I read this review before I read Catching Fire. You expose some big plot twists here. I suppose it is my own fault for not being able to stop myself from snooping in reviews, but you really should highlight the "contains spoilers" box at the bottom of your review so that it is hidden. My enjoyment when they announced the re-entry to the Games was spoiled.

Dacia Nico - seriously, you think you would have been surprised if you hadn't read this review. It was obvious from the moment that "Quarter Quell" was mentioned that Katniss was going back to the games. I didn't really mind this, as you have to expect that YA fiction is going to lay on forshadowing pretty thick.

The Peeta Gale thing drove me nuts too! Does EVERY author have to have a teenage girl who can't decide who she loves?

The biggest problem I had with this book, however, is that there is no resolution. It is a "placeholder" book, and not a good entity of itself. I'm most of the way through the 3rd book now, and I'm hooked, but I think I'll be glad when it's over.

message 28: by R.J. (new) - rated it 2 stars

R.J. Craddock Finally someone else who agrees with me! Man why does everyone love this series?! I don't get it. But then I'm hard to please when it comes to YA books. I thought Hunger Games had a great concept but personally I think Katniss as the personality of a paper doll. I agree that there was little to no growth emotionally or mentally in the book for Katniss. I for one think she makes more sense with Gale than Peeta but she completely doesn't deserve either one. She's so boring. I think her only redeemable trait is her strong willed determination. She’s a survivor. That I can dig, but she has little to no thought process, no depth. Anyways I kind of thought it was a cop-out to send her back to the games. It seemed like hunger games part two as you put it. But the beginning of the games was intense, yet I totally agree the whole clock thing made it seem less suspenseful. There was one true attack on Katniss and Peeta and then all of a sudden when you think there’s finally going to be some action she blows up the force field and it's all over! What?! That was Lame. I was hoping it would be worth the read, but all it did was give us the cliffhanger that makes it so you have to read the third book even if you hated this one. Anyways great review said everything I wanted to and more.

Neerav Vadera great review

message 30: by Gloria (new)

Gloria Diaz The second book didn't wow me like the first. To me, it seemed like a rehash. I'm reading the third one right now, and I'm having to push myself through it. This is not a good thing. I thought the first book was enthralling, but basically "Catching Fire" is Hunger Games part 2 and "Mockingjay" is Hunger Games part 3.

message 31: by Gloria (new)

Gloria Diaz The second book didn't wow me like the first. To me, it seemed like a rehash. I'm reading the third one right now, and I'm having to push myself through it. This is not a good thing. I thought the first book was enthralling, but basically "Catching Fire" is Hunger Games part 2 and "Mockingjay" is Hunger Games part 3.

amleen dhot Ummmmmmm... this book was good, buuut I really was hoping for katnisss to go without Gale instead of peeta. Gimmick was also my fave, what a tragic story.

Georgia Brenner The second book was probably my favorite. Fantastic.

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