If you're reading this and wondering whether you want to get involved in this take my word it's worth it written for young people enjoyed by us old timers
Why doesn't Audible allow us to edit our own reviews? They politely tell me to go hang myself.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
The Hunger Games was one of the most gripping young adult novels I've read in a while. Set in an unspecified year in the distant future, the story revolves around a teenage girl selected by lottery for a cruel to-the-death televised game show that's run yearly by an authoritarian capitol district to punish the impoverished citizens of production districts for once rebelling against it. Collins exploits her premise masterfully, turning the traps of the arena, the clever, sadistic manipulations of the games' overseers, and the fragile alliances of the other players into nail-biting twists and turns.
The Hunger Games is also one of the smarter, more classroom-friendly young adult novels out there. Though the book contains plenty of typical sci-fi elements, its world is clearly not intended as a prediction of a likely future. It's more of an Orwellian alternate reality that reflects, indirectly, on today's world, challenging the reader, in an unobtrusive way, to think about how far we are willing to go for entertainment or how an unjust authority might use people as pawns.
Catching Fire is roughly the sequel I would have expected. Since the world of the Hunger Games is already familiar to the reader, the book lacks the shock value of its predecessor, but Collins does a good job of keeping up a sense of fear and tension. While Katniss's victory in the Games has given her a certain celebrity, it's also gained her the enmity of a government that could squash her under its thumb at any time, and isn't coy about pointing that out. Still, Collins holds off on the inevitable confrontation, developing some of the character relationships she established in the first book, introducing some interesting new characters, and digging deeper into the tensions between the districts and the Capitol. It's a bit slow-moving until the action-filled final third, and doesn't so much advance the plot as get all the pieces in place for the third book. Katniss continues to dither over her internal conflicts, including her feelings for the two boys in her life, Peeta and Gale (which is just as well, because the latter never gets much screen time). But, I blazed through it and want to find out what happens in the sequel, so I won't criticize the second-book syndrome too much.
Overall, the series has a few flaws. Some of Collins' sci-fi inventions are a little hokey, the portrayal of the villains lacks much depth, and she indulges in a bit of unnecessary melodrama (the sort where characters act obtuse just so the author can explain to readers who don't get it what's at stake). Also, I remain curious how the citizens of the Capitol, who are certainly shallow and self-centered, but don't seem especially bloodthirsty, aren't more affected by the cruelty of the Games. Is the recent "reality TV" trend really a gateway to a world of Roman Colosseum-style horrors?
These are minor gripes, though; Catching Fire continues a gripping series and I look forward to the final book.
I originally listened to Hunger Games just to learn why if was so popular, and did not intend to listen to the other stories in the series. Before I was finished with Hunger Games, though, I knew I had to hear them all.
Collins does a good of cranking up the action for the sequel without feeling like just a juiced-up rewrite of the first book. Catching Fire definitely does not stand on it's own, though, and seems abruptly cut off at the end (maybe if you consider it like paying two credits for a single book you can just have Mocking Jay ready to play and pretend like it was just a break in the files).
McCormick again does a great job with the narration.
If you enjoyed the first book of the series, then it is pretty likely that you'll like this one as well. However, I do recommend reading the first book prior to this one to get the backdrop for this story, though the author does a good job reminding of events in that book.
The reason for 3 stars rather than 5 is that I found this story very "dark"... there was not as much "hope" for other than a "grim" conclusion to this chapter, lots of slaughter not only in the games this time but in the districts. and much pessimism. Also, I didn't like the direction that Katniss was heading... not so much "fight and anger", but "acceptance of fate (death?)", sadness, resignation. Was it me, or did she seem to be whining as times?
I hope the author keeps Katniss "strong" for the final book... I fear the scales are tipping, and that is a shame. I want a "leader" and "hero" from her character... not an overly sensitive crybaby resigned to doom.
Not as good as the first book, but the charactors maintain their role perfectly. Makes me ready for the third book.
Having devoured all three of books of The Hunger Games Trilogy within days, I will say I absolutely, positivlity loved all 3. It's hard to find any series of books where the sequels are as great as the original. These books are so emotional, so easy to lose yourself in the story. The characters are so well described that you feel you know them. Catching Fire starts where The Hunger Games left off. I've been reading books my whole entire life, and never came across storys like these. I highly recommend these to anyone of all ages, men and women alike. I wish there are more books in this series. But these are books that I can read more then once.
The narrator is smooth, and perfect as she reads as Katness.
You must read "The Hunger Games" prior to this book. So those reading the sequel should already know what they are getting themselves into in terms of story and stylization. My only critique is that the warm up to the meat of the story stretches a bit to long and at some points feels redundant to information gathered from reading "The Hunger Games". My only other complaint stems from the narrator, Carolyn McCormick. As someone who read rather than listened to the first installment, I found her narration very grating. Not looking forward to her narration for the final installment.
The story of Katness, Peeta and The Hunger Games continues. I don't want to say much because I'm afraid to give away how this story evolves. President Snow is one evil man...cunning and shrewd, but no match for the sharp mind of Katness Everdine. But Katness doesn't get all the credit, because she has Peeta and Hamich. What...another game? The Quarter Quell is more exciting and blood thirsty than the Hunger Games. I can't recommend this series by Suzanne Collins enough!
This is the 2nd book in the series. Just as fast paced as the first book with many jaw-dropping events twists and turns. Fabulous story, fast paced, great characters, good morals, ADDICTING!!!!!!!!