Saturday, November 06, 2010
Okay, so there's more to it than just "wow." But I do want to start off saying that, by the time I finished the book, I felt that I enjoyed it more than the first one. Again, I warn, there are spoilers ahead.
Overall, Catching Fire isn't as action packed as its predecessor. But that really doesn't make for a less thrilling story. I did think the book got off to a bit of a slow start, but that lack of speed in the beginning was just a cover for the suspenseful journey that was to come.
We come back to our protagonist from The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, fresh off her victory with her fellow District 12 tribute/winner, Peeta. The two are living comfortably in their own homes in the Victor's Village along with their mentor, Haymitch. Katniss has returned to a somewhat normal life before the anticipated tour that she and Peeta will be expected to take of the districts and the Capitol. On the surface, the victors' tour is to celebrate the winners of the Hunger Games. Scratch the surface, and the victory tour is just another way for the powers that be to rub the Districts' faces in the fact that the Capitol has all the control, that the president holds each of their lives in the palm of his hands.
Speaking of President Snow, the leader of the future nation of Panem, he makes a secret appearance at Katniss' new home and delivers a not-so-subtle threat. Apparently Katniss' double suicide ploy that allowed for both hers and Peeta's victory in the arena has sparked some talk of a rebellion among the Districts. The president wants Katniss to convince the world that her attempt at subterfuge in the Games was merely the act of a girl who was crazy in love. By the end of the tour, the president lets her know that he wasn't convinced. She failed in her mission to quell the rebellion that was beginning to spread like fire throughout the country.
In the meantime, the 75th annual Hunger Games were fast approaching. It was time for Peeta and Katniss to prepare to be mentors for the next tributes chosen to participate from District 12. But we learn that 75 is a special year. Every 25th Hunger Games contains what's known as the Quarter Quell. It's a special rule or event that's introduced into the games to exhibit just a little more of the Capitol's power. This year's Quell was supposedly decided 75 years prior, but it seems awfully suspicious when the president finally reads it. The tributes entering the arena would be chosen from previous Games' winners. For our heroes in District 12, this means that Katniss is definitely going back into the arena, as the only female victor in District 12's history. Peeta volunteers to go with her, leaving Haymitch to once again mentor the duo.
The 75th Hunger Games are remarkably shorter and quicker than the previous year. And this year, there are a lot of people in place and events set in motion to make sure that Katniss is removed from the Games. The rebel movement needs Katniss alive and well. Katniss is the symbol for the people of Panem who want to desperately take down the Capitol. She has become the symbol of the mockingjay. It's the bird whose image was on the pin she wore as a token into the arena. It's a bird that was never meant to exist; a bird that descended from a Capitol genetic lab animal that bred out of control. It's the symbol that inspires the public and lets them remember that the Capitol cannot control everything.
And so the book ends leaving the reader wanting more. Luckily there is more. The third book, Mockingjay, is already out and I got it at the same time that I bought Catching Fire. So yeah, I'm pretty psyched about reading it now. So really, if I haven't spoiled the story for you too much in this summary, go out and read it. After you read The Hunger Games of course.