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.