Emily's Reviews > Catching Fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
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Dec 27, 09

bookshelves: horror, sci-fi, young-adult, romance, betrayal
Read in June, 2009

I think I wouldn't be feeling quite so disappointed by this book if The Hunger Games hadn't been quite so close to perfect. But there it is. Must be hard to compete with yourself when you set the bar so high.

Where The Hunger Games is a tightly-plotted, fast-paced dystopian thriller heaped with romance and horror, this book is... well, a lot of the same. A WHOLE lot of the same plot. Redundantly similar at points, only slower moving and far less polished. Too much of the story is told rather than shown -- whole months can go by in just a few pages -- and yet the real action gets rolling about two thirds of the way through the book. There were times when the story actually seemed to PLOD.

That said, this is an ARC and things could change. Here's hoping this one sees some revision before its publication this fall. Collins is obviously capable of great things. And all complaints aside, this is a very compelling read. Fantastic characters, and the setup is definitely there for an interesting conclusion. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

THAT said, marks off for deus ex machina abuse.
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Comments (showing 1-40 of 40) (40 new)

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Joselyn Star I agree with your point about how most of the story is told rather than shown.


Manda I totally agree about things going too fast. Like in one paragraph, they suddenly finish their victory tour? And how quickly it goes from her finding out about the Quarter Quell thing to being thrown into the arena. A lot of it seems really rushed.


Shane I read this review after writing my own, we seem to have a number of the same complaints. :)


Kelsey I completely agree, the first book was so great and sometime I wish she would've left it there. Second book was alright and third was just plain terrible.


Emily Kelsey, I wish that, too. Although, to be fair, I didn't think the third book was any worse than this one.


Ivan I would rather be happy if The Hunger Games is just one book. There are so many series now that us, readers, think that authors are only up for the money. Some series are even so stretched that you can just fit it in one book but still make a good book.


Preetmail Totally, completely, 100% agree with you. LOVED the first book--this book is way too disorganized by comparison and unevenly paced.


Davo Agree with the deus ex machina comment


message 9: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Completely agree


message 10: by Dre (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dre Govender i totally agree, i was reading the dragon tattoo series while waiting for catching fire, and I felt like I had to keep rereading paragraphs. I was always thinking, "What just happened? Where are they?" It's hard to fall in love with Katniss again in this book because there wasn't enough meat on the bones at times. I'd still recommend it though.


Tracy Oh my gosh, this is exactly how I am feeling. Exactly. Oh my gosh, wow, my words exactly. Thank you. I am going to finish it though, Lord willin. I pray Mockingjay is good...


Nicole I agree. This book was merely a stop gap in the series. It's entire existence is to set the stage for the finale. If the first book was the spark then the second is the ignition but not yet the fire.


Tracy I am on pg. 315 now. Last night I started "THe Game" section and yes, it is picking up. I was able and wanted to read, 5 chapters last night before bed. It was all I could do to make it past 1 chapter. Now, it's getting good again. I do love the series and the story. The only thing I would do different next time for any books in a series, is that if book 1 is sooooo fantastic, I will wait a few days before I begin book 2. Because I was on such a high from book 1, that I wanted book 2 to be just as high. It is a great book don't get me wrong, but book 1, is stellar.


message 14: by Jah (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jah H. Yes - this review nails it! I've been trying to explain to people why I'm having such a hard time getting through the series and particularly with reading book 2. I'm currently on my fourth attempt at finishing it, and it wasn't until well over the halfway point of the book that I was able to stop forcing myself to continue.


message 15: by Em (new) - rated it 4 stars

Em I enjoyed this book, but I agree you with on several things. It weirded me out that I was almost done with the book and not a lot had happened, not even the games lol. It is similar to the first book. I haven't read the last yet,but from what I've heard and what I can tell by the ending of this book, is that it is completely different from the first two.


Tracy I just finished The Mockingjay. I can't wait until everyone finished it! I cried, hard, but not for reasons one might think. What a stellar series.


Froggy Totally agree with your initial assessment. The Hunger Games was perfect. I thought this book was a major let down. And Mockinjay was was awful. I'd like to hear your thoughts on the movie.


Emily Froggy, I liked the movie. I thought it was well cast and the look of it was just right. The lead-up to the Games was a little long, and the action was pretty mild, but overall I thought the movie was fun to watch and well done. I'll be interested to see how they approach the sequel.


Froggy I agree Emily - I just saw the movie a couple of nights ago and I wanted to hate it because I loved the book and I always think movies ruin the books but I really liked it. Rough beginning but they did a nice job with the games, although nowhere near as intense as the book. I am actually looking forward to the movie sequels - I think they have the potential to be even better than the books.


message 20: by Tiki (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tiki agreed!


Ammabelle Bless this review.


message 22: by Jake (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jake Ulasich I don't think it's a problem for months to go by in a few pages. You don't have to show everything, and the author does a good job of highlighting, showing the scenes that have the most impact. The problem for me was rather the direction of the story, the lack of emotional investment (especially during the last third of the book) and, as you pointed out, the deus ex machina.


Emily Hm, it doesn’t have to be a problem, but in this case I think it was one, and one of many at that. Hunger Games is so intense, relentless – it sucked me in immediately. Comparatively, Catching Fire was just kind of tedious to get through. Awkward pacing and information dumps don’t work well in action, at least not for me. On the other hand, that clunky pacing prepared me well for Mockingjay…


Debbie This review in interesting as I did not like the first book very much and really enjoyed the second...


Aidan i kind of think that the similarity to the previous book is one of the good things about it. It's got the same formula, but a different story line. And i think i speak for alot of people when i say that the formula hardly needs improving


Sandy Exactly.


laurie I agree completely with Aidan it may not have been the best but it was a fantastic book to read


message 28: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Hand I don't read I do sports


message 29: by Val (new) - rated it 5 stars

Val I agree with a lot of your points, however I still gave it a five star rating as it was just as compelling as the first and read it in a day.


message 30: by Halle (new)

Halle This book was amazingly intense and enjoyable for the reader. I believe it was the best of the series. The first was a good setup for the second, and the third was just plain confusing. The setting for the games couldn't have been better and Suzanne Collins did a fabulous job with the entire series.


Alexis Flowers I disagree. The book was pretty self explanatory. Of course it is going to be told, it's a book not a movie, and of course a couple months go by in a couple pages. its a book. not real life. Notice i said it's a book twice. You expected a bit too much out of a book as if its real life. I mean i understand what you mean, but come on now. you have to admit the book was very good and Suzanne Collins did an amazing job with making it intense, suspenseful, and as detailed as it was. Defiantly a 5 STAR rating from me.


Taylor Mosley I agree but the ending still makes you want to read the third one


Taylor Mosley I agree but I'm not very disappointed by it.
I actually liked it. And the ending makes you want to start the 3rd book right after you finish this one.


Jaylene I agree. It was a little disappointing that the plot was very similar. At some points, it was really predictable. But at the same time, it provided enough that I still wanted to read the third book.


Melissa I agree with your comments. I still enjoyed reading it but definitely didn't end on the same buzz as the first one.


message 36: by Ori (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ori In many ways I wish it was more of the same and then some but unfortunately much of the adventure and survival theme that I liked about The Hunger Games was exchanged in favor of more conspiracy and over-focus on hollywood romance, wouldn't it have been better if they did escape? if they did get lost midst the chaos and uncertainty of the hostile wilderness trying to protect their loved ones? The interesting action came near the end and it was cut short by a Deus Ex conspiracy and aside from that it seemed the Heroine lost some IQ points since Book1 which was disappointing and can not be attributed to the head injury.

Now I feel like the protagonist, I don't know what to think, do I still like The Hunger Games? but I'm angry with Catching Fire concluding in a stupid way... ;)


Julianna I do agree with the fact that the first book was flawless. I think it's really difficult for an author to write a sequel or two after such a good book, or any book. It's hard to get that same feeling and tone. But overall, I thought she did a good job. I enjoyed reading it, and I thought it was paced well.


Jackie D. I actually think that the second book was much better than the first.


message 39: by Arfa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Arfa Saleem I totally agree... the first few chapters were downright boring compared to the opening chapters of the first book... if u force yourself to continue reading, it gets a little better.. still disappointing. first book was perfect. the ending is nice.. but not exactly a cliffhanger, does make u wanna read the third one though....


message 40: by Arfa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Arfa Saleem Ori wrote: "In many ways I wish it was more of the same and then some but unfortunately much of the adventure and survival theme that I liked about The Hunger Games was exchanged in favor of more conspiracy an..."

my thoughts exactly...


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