From flicker to flame, ‘Catching Fire’ captures reader’s attention

“I really can’t think about kissing when I’ve got a rebellion to incite,” said Katniss Everdeen, tribute from District 12 and the girl on fire.

Creating a fire can be more than engulfing something entirely in flames at one time. A small, gradually growing flicker can make all the difference. It could be seen as silly to compare a book to a growing fire. I would have thought the same thing until I read Suzanne Collins’ “Catching Fire.”

Photo courtesy of (L-R): Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci star in the latest installment of "The Hunger Games" trilogy, "Catching Fire."

Photo courtesy of
(L-R): Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson and Stanley Tucci star in the latest installment of “The Hunger Games” trilogy, “Catching Fire.”

The sequel to “The Hunger Games” opened my eyes to the book’s government that is too controlling, districts with little to no resources and of course, teens ages 12 to 18 that are fighting each other to the death to gain eternal glory.

For most series, I see the second book as a filler book. Usually, it holds information that’s not relevant to the plot line, but there needs to be space between the introducing drama in the first book and the exciting climax and end of the third book. Fortunately, “Catching Fire” shot an arrow right through that presumption.

“Aim higher in case you fall short,” said Coriolanus Snow, president of Panem and overseer of the annual Hunger Games.

Once the 74th annual Hunger Games came to a close and Katniss and Peeta are crowned as victors, all is well in Panem. Because of the rebellious acts performed by Katniss prior to the close of the games, districts around began rebelling.

Katniss is a character that both males and females can relate to. This is why I was so wrapped up in the series. One person can change the world even if they had never intended to do so. Unfortunately for Katniss, it granted her and Peeta the lovely task of participating in the 75th annual Hunger Games, known as a Quarter Quell. Every game that falls on a quarter year is played by special rules. In this Quarter Quell, the tributes were chosen from the pool of previous victors.

“I thought if I stopped being so, you know, wounded, we (Katniss and I) could take a shot at just being friends,” said Peeta, tribute from District 12.

Another relatable theme is the romance. Relationships make the book very appealing. Being human, we all rely on at least one person to help us when we have a bad day. Bad days are frequent for Katniss. Good thing she has Peeta, fellow tribute from home, to help her. In “The Hunger Games,” their blooming romance may have been ‘all for the games’ but in “Catching Fire,” her heart takes a detour down love avenue. She actually takes two detours if we include Gale Hawthorne, the hunky hunter who has always accepted Katniss for who she is. Personally, I’ll always be team Peeta.

Then there’s Finnick Odair, tribute from District 4.  He has the charm and the right amount of mystery to crave his company but also causes you to have the desire for another tribute to off him as soon as possible.

The most important aspect to grasp with this book is the ability to change. Although things are scary, dangerous and even fatal, change can be made when you focus and take charge. Collins gives readers the opportunity to take a scene and an event that they have already grown to know and morph it to focus on the things going on behind the scenes. Sure, we know the government wants to control the people. We know it is because there was once an uprising that took down the government and it took years to rebuild. “Catching Fire” shows that although change is possible and can be what is needed.

The ending of the book threw me for a loop. I had already envisioned the winner of the games and the way the uprising would continue but I never imagined the course in which it would all unfold. On that, there really isn’t a winner. The love plot also takes a nose-dive. I love romance so this was one of the hardest things to read.

Although I met characters that would not live to see the outcome and my heart was drenched in Nightlock juice, a fatal berry if juices are consumed, countless times, I would read and re-read this book until I could quote it during appropriate moments in everyday conversation. I’ll never make an assumption about a sequel after reading this book. I’ve had numerous conversations surrounding this the symbols and topics in the book. I’ve even taken my love as far to wear a mockingjay pin while I work at an entertainment store. A good book will change a person.

“The bird, the pin, the song, the berries, the watch, the cracker, the dress that burst into flames,” Everdeen said. “I am the mockingjay. The one that survived despite the Capitol’s plans. The symbol of the rebellion.”

A strong female character, a love triangle, an attractive ‘off-his-rocker’ man with a trident and 24 people ranging from ages 17 to 80 trying to murder each other in an ocean and jungle filled environment makes for an afternoon read I can’t pass up.

Story by Katrina Yarbrough, Staff writer

2 Comments on "From flicker to flame, ‘Catching Fire’ captures reader’s attention"

  1. Have you read these three books Robert? You should. This is an excellent review and I also agree that the 2nd books are usually just "filler" but this 2nd book was shockingly not the case. 😉

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