Book Review of Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Bk 2)

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Bk 2)
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I am so relieved that comparisons to the Twilight series are unfounded. I almost didn't read this series because so many people said it was a Twilight rip-off, especially the love triangle between Peeta, Katniss, and Gale. But I disagree.

Firstly, Catching Fire, while by no means the literary successor to The Lord of the Rings like I believe the Harry Potter series to be, is still a much more thought-provoking and well-written story than the Twilight series. This book had a different tone than The Hunger Games. While the first book focused more on the barbarism of a televised game that hinted at an unjust government, the second book focuses on the how a revolution is the ultimate end result of all unjust governments. I really liked how Katniss is portrayed as the initially unwitting symbol and spark of the revolution. I like how she never meant to be the famous rebel. I like how brutal she herself becomes in her attempt to outwit the Capital. And I love how, as she becomes more and more embroiled in the eventual revolution, Peeta remains her stolid conscious.

Secondly, I despise love triangles of any sort in literature or film. And I was really worried that I would hate this book based on reviews that it basically boils down to who should Katniss date? I found it to be ever so much more than that. Katniss doesn't sit around wondering who she should end up with. If anything she wants to not end up with anyone, a viewpoint I identified with myself when boys were just beginning to be interested in me and I just wanted everything to remain the status quo. I definitely identify with wanting to not have complicated romantic relationships when the rest of your world is so unstable--like a freaking uprising undermining your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Also, both boys are so likable and have a purpose. I thought Gale would inhabit more pages but he is still so important for Katniss's journey no matter how brief his physical scenes, if for no other reason than he represents the halcyon days of her youth when hunting with Gale was her ultimate freedom from the harsh reality of home. And Peeta, though not a warrior like Katniss, is by no means useless. He is her conscious. The person who doesn't allow her to become another mindless and brutal Career who kills first and asks questions later. If I hadn't unwittingly found out how the series ends I would have been okay with her ending up with either boys or even neither of them.

Thirdly, I loved how we got to know and love many of the tributes even when they weren't very likable. It made the games more interesting and more sad. I felt like the tributes in the first book were so childlike and innocent in comparison with these past tributes. As much as Rue's death was devastating and Cato's so prolonged and disturbing, the deaths of previous winners seemed even more senseless and wasteful.

If you can't tell, I really, really liked this book. It was such a fast read but it packed a lot of punch. Now I can't wait for the movie to come out! I just hope no one else passes it up because they associate it with all the comparisons with Twilight. Really, they are two different animals and the Hunger Games series is far superior.