As with many trilogies, the second book just doesn't live up to the expectations set by the first. This is not a bad book, by any means, but it could certainly have been better. The pace was a bit slow at times, and the main character seemed to lack depth in this book which made it difficult for me to connect with the main character in this book.
First and foremost, if you have not read/downloaded the Hunger Games first, you will find yourself lost by this book.
Catching Fire is great sequel to the first story, propelling the reader into to all the places where I'd hoped after the first one ended. The stakes are higher and the scope is as well, focusing more on the entire territory of Pannem and less on the District or Arena. That said -- it definitely was the "middle story of a trilogy"... coming to a conclusions which really was just meant to set up the third book. But hey -- it was certainly as addictive as the first one. Last word of warning, and one which may other reviewers seem to miss prior to downloading -- THIS IS A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL! The dialogue is simple and the plot is concrete (there's nothing subtle about it). That's the audience it was written for. Not sure why there are so many people reviewing it as if it weren't intended to be that way.
Tell us about yourself!
I loved Hunger Games; I urge everyone I know to read it, gave it to someone for Christmas, and turned my boyfriend onto it, so of course I couldn't wait for the second book and I wasn't let down. This book will be a bit slower going in the beginning because the last one focused mostly on the game itself and quickly became a frenzied page-turner. But now that Katniss is a champion we see more of her day-today life while getting an idea of what's going on with the government and the people who suffer it. But this doesnt mean I was ever bored, it's just differently paced. The best part about this "downtime" is that you learn more about the characters. I especially enjoyed hearing about Haymitch, so much so that I think he's my favorite character now. Be patient though-without giving away any spoilers I'll just say the second half really gets exciting, and the ending will blow your mind. I didn't see it coming, and I am literally counting the days until the next book comes out.
Enjoyed the first book. Second didn't appeal to me the same way. Third is mostly about the nightmares, the kisses, the nostalgia and was a big let down for me. Instead of elaborating on the war against the capital and uncovering the actors that double crossed her, the lead character wallows in pain, suffering and self pity. The author could have taken the subsequent books to a new level instead of using the same old formulas over and over again.
I like (not love, like Book 1) the story and character but the reader Carolyn McCormick puts too much of herself into Katniss. Her emotional renditions seem unauthentic and whiny quite often. I actually began to cringe when I felt she was ruining a given part, which increased in frequency over time. Also, I feel the story and situations become predictable in the 2nd and 3rd book of the trilogy. I found myself wondering what the story would be like if reading and avoiding the overlay of the reader (too heavy in general).
While this book in the trilogy is still an exciting tale, I found myself being irritated by the narrator's acting and the repetitiveness of the writing.
Drama! -- I thought the narrator did a pretty darn good job on the first book. For the second book she seems to wail and overdramatize every event in the book turning Katniss into a whiny, unsympathetic brat rather than a 17-year-old, resourcefully enduring terrible events.
More drama! -- Like the narrator, the writing also is a bit overdramatic and repetitive. Blood, blood, blood. Every third sentence seemed to have blood in it. OK, we get it. There is a lot of bloodshed. The overuse of the gore and the narrator's delivery didn't add to the story. Rather it was distracting because it seemed so lame. It made me chuckle thinking of Hyperbole and a Half's tale where Allie tries to come up with a scary story to tell her little sister.
Repetition -- The author recaps Katiniss' thoughts again and again as if we are unable to retain any memory whatsoever. This made it seem like she was trying to pad a few extra pages in the book. It didn't advance any storyline. I'm ok with the slow start to the story, but after it started going this repetition ruined the flow and just felt like a waste of time. I'm hoping the 3rd book will be better.
I love to read. I also love to write. I'm a harsh critic and very, very, very rarely give five star reviews to anything. Three stars for me is an average representation of literature and not a bad review by any stretch.
Only two things detracted from this story. They were not major, but they were more than minor. First was the overplaying of Katniss' confusion over whether or not she is in love with Peeta and how she deals with it. I now officially feel as if I have been beaten sensless by this whole part of the story arc. It needs to be there, but it needed to be done in a less heavy handed fashion. It was almost too over the top. Secondly, the story is overly predictable. As soon as elements are introduced you know how they are likely to play out. As soon as you learn about the wire (for example), well, you knew where that was going to lead to. And come on, you know how the President is going to try to push Katniss and Peeta before that moment comes. I think Collins did as good a job as possible working around those problems.
Her performance of Katniss is still superb.
Look, I think the biggest problem this book had was trying to live up to the first one (which it didn't do in my oppinion) It's still good, but it suffers from how good I thought the first one was. Catching Fire is a quality story at about 3.5 stars, but aubile doesn't let you give half stars.
The trillogy really starts to insist upon itself towards the end of the second book. The saving grace for me is that based on the set up for the third book, which I plan to read some time soon, that the trilogy is going to rectify that problem.
I recommend this book IF you liked the frist one.
(Warning: Review contains slight spoilers for The Hunger Games.) The second in a triology, Collins continues the story of Katniss and Peeta. The first dual victors of the Capitol's Hunger Games, the plot picks up with them living in the victor's village. Katniss struggles with her relationship concerns between Gale and Peeta and finds herself bored without the constant struggle to survive. However, the Capitol is not pleased with her and it doesn't take long for action to begin as tension rises in District 12, most of which is centered on or around Katniss. Like the first book, conflict rises gradually, and steadily increases throughout the book until the end. And, as in most "middle books" of any triology, it does its job in continuing the story to prepare the reader for the last book. I found the book to be equally well written and just as captivating as The Hunger Games. I read it straight through in two days. If there is any real criticism of this book, it is in the critical thinking skills of Katniss. Chronologically she is a year older, yet these skills as they pertain to relationships do not improve as one would expect. And this encroaches slightly on her ability to determine any revenge the Capitol will take on her and what role she may be playing for any rebellions afoot. In this regard, the reader would like to slap some sense into her. But it doesn't minimize the well written tale, again respectfully read by McCormick. The description of violence is somewhat more graphic than The Hunger Games, but still handled in a way that young adults should be able to manage. I recommend this book as highly as The Hunger Games and even suggest that if you haven't read either them, buy them both together. The cliffhanger at the end of Catching Fire will make you impatient for August 2010, the scheduled release date for the third book, title as yet unknown.
There's no doubt that she made a good go at writing a sequel that stands up to the first. Personally, I think it pales in comparison to the first, BUT it does make me think that there is the potential for a very good third book.
Both my sweetheart and I were happy that it didn't get hopelessly bogged down in the Gale/Peeta drama. Simply avoiding that pitfall is a mark of success as far as I'm concerned.
I think the plot was a bit choppy, but I also think the flaws are easily forgiven. Certainly, neither of us were bored. For the sequel to a young adult novel that could have completely degenerated into a teen love triangle, the author deserves credit for keeping her focus.
A good read, but not as captivating as the first in the series. I am intrigued to finish the trilogy and to discover if the story continues on its trajectory. Note - thanks to Carolyn McCormick for dropping that baby voice she used when speaking for Katness in the first book. She's a teenager, not a toddler.