Still hungry? Listen to more Hunger Games.
©2009 Suzanne Collins; (P)2009 Scholastic, Inc.
"Collins expertly blends fantasy, romance and political intrigue (so who needs vampires?)." (People Magazine)
"Catching Fire not only lived up to my high expectations, it surpassed them. It's just as exciting as The Hunger Games, but even more gut wrenching, because you already know these characters, you've already suffered with them." (Stephenie Meyer)
"...enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment." (School Library Journal, starred review)
Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!
As I write this review, "Catching Fire: The Hunger Games Book 2" has almost 25,000 Audible ratings and, between Audible and Audible UK and electronic and print text reviews, more reviews than I have the time to count or read. I like the reviews by teenagers who are enthralled with Katniss Everdeen. Both of my children read the trilogy at 13, and absolutely loved it - even the one who only reads because her school makes her.
"The Hunger Games" trilogy envisions a post-nuclear North America where, three quarters of a century, teenagers are forced to compete to the death for both the amusement of the conquering 'Capitol' and as a way of keeping the vassal districts in fearful obedience. Katniss, scared and scarred by the avoidable but accidental horrific death of her beloved father, takes on the role of head of provider for her mother and younger sister. She is a tribute (competitor) in Book 1. In "Catching Fire", there is a 'quarter-quell', and the Capitol tries to rid itself of previous Hunger Games victors, who have become quite dangerous to the elite.
Should you 'let' your children read this trilogy? The answer is absolutely, hands down, YES.
Suzanne Collins' books are encoded with references to the Roman Empire (27 BC to 476 AD), and a casual nudge that the names of Capitol citizens ending in 'us' are Latin and have hidden histories will turn a fan reader into a history detective. The plant names Collins uses for the protagonists - Katniss, Primrose, and Hawthorne, for example - are well worth the search.
Katniss is an especially strong character because she has a strong moral base that overcomes her personal fear and doubts - and she knows her weaknesses and works to overcome them. And she's just plain kick-a** with weapons - no squeamishness about them at all.
Setting aside the historical and scientific references, the story is engaging and lively. Period.
The only question about these books is 'When' to let your kids read the books. If they've already seen the movies, of course. The movies are much more graphic. If the standard is nightmares, that won't work - these books gave me nightmares, although they were 'mom' nightmares that my children were tributes. I'd say the emotional standard is being able to tell fact from fiction, and perhaps at least a nascent appreciation of politics and political history. Vocabulary? Seventh to ninth grade, but a 7th grader would know what the words mean, and a 9th grader would understand the concepts.
Suggestion/life hack: if you've got a kid who just doesn't want to read, sit them down with a text copy and Carolyn McCormick's Audible narration. My oldest wouldn't have gotten through Erich Maria Remarque's "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1929) without Frank Muller's Audible narrative (1994). Perhaps it was Remarque's then-and-still innovative use of the present tense, which Collins uses so adroitly in her books.
"The Hunger Games" Book 1 (2008) is 15 AR (Accelerated Reader) points; "Catching Fire" Book 2 (2009) is 16 AR points; and "Mockingjay" Book 3 (2010) is 15 AR points (source: arreader dot com).
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There is not best way to review it without comparing to the first book. First book started with the selection of youth to participate in hunger games which is shocking, and grabs on to reader’s attention. Second book however starts with the president having interest in Katniss. This topic takes up a good chunk of time in book sometimes being redundant.
Also, Katniss’ character does not seem to be as self assured confident young lady as we have come to know her in first book.
Story moves on to how her act of defiance for her love actually sparked a rebellion. President, in effort to crush the rebellion, tries to crush the symbols of rebellions which are represented by previous winners of hunger games.
So eventually, there are another set of hunger game involving all previous winners. There is a good time spent discussing clothing / make up / tv commercials .. etc. The games themselves do not seem to hold the same sense of life ending seriousness as the first book. In fact, there is a time when participants seem to be having a picnic during the game.
One of the weaknesses of the book is that it is mostly told from Katniss’ perspective. In first book it worked out ok, but stage is bit bigger in this book and book does not provide enough perspective from other characters that are taking significant actions. Therefore, at times, a lot of event that already took place just come to reader's attention when Katniss character learns of them. It is ok, but it seems a bit hand wavy strategy in author’s part.
Narration is acceptable at best. This book would have been great in Kate Reading’s voice that Carolyn depiction of Katniss does not seem to convey the range of emotions that author trying to convey. Worse yet, other characters’ portrayal sometimes seem cartoonish.
This is a 3 star book as a whole.
Narrator can be VERY annoying, but I ended up loving her. She's really melodramatic. But it's ok, the story is great. In case you missed all the hype.
This book was awful with a self centered whiny main character not helped by the lackluster narration.
I will not listen to the third book. I could hardly wait for this one to end.
The Hunger games from book 1 cannot be recreated without the story getting boring. Unfortuately this is not the end. I see there is a third book, which I have to read for the story to reach a conclusion.
Hopefully it was just me, but I find Carolyn McCormick's voice annoying because of the constant changes in voice and dialect. Especially the voice of Haymitch is tiresome to listen to. Please just read!
Lets see.... quite believable characters.
I am hoping the story will come together after reading the third book.
Definitely from Suzanne Collins but I will not listen to a book narrated by Carolyn McCormick.
The narrator was barely two dimensional and I ended up hating Katniss. She sounded whiny and petulant. I felt better about her character once I went to the movie which I think is terrible! Sorry Carolyn, but you missed the mark on your reading of this book.
Audible is the soundtrack to my busy, city-walking life!
A page turner
Peeta. He is strong willed, intelligent, and has tremendous integrity.
The narrator sounds like a middle aged woman, not a young, insecure, scared teenager. She does not get the inflections of a young girl's voice at all; at least not a modern girl. I was very distracted by her. I read the first of this trilogy on paperback, then listened to Catching Fire on audio, and had to go back to hard-cover book for Mockingjay, because I just couldn't get into the story with that narrator.
All of it.
Great stories, need new narrator who actually sounds like Katniss would!
Give the characters the opportunity to grow up--and the story with it.
I feel compelled to put this review out here to spare you the indignity of having suffer through this book. That is of course, unless you're suffering from insomnia, extreme boredom, or are trapped on a desert island with only this book to read. And maybe, MAYBE, if I was under all three conditions simultaneous, I might actually finish this book. Maybe.
Unlike the Harry Potter novels where the storyline grows up as the characters grow up, this series actually gets dumber, more juvenile and more predictable the longer it goes on. So if you feel compelled to read this book because 1) the first book was somewhat interesting, 2) the rest of the world is reading this book, 3) you suffer simultaneous from the three aforementioned conditions, then I will save you the credit: DON'T DO IT.
Move along, nothing to hear here.
I am an avid listener. I listen between 75-100 hours per month on my iPhone: 60% fiction to 40% non-fiction.
De ja vu
Chacater connection continues to be the strong of this suit this trilogy.
On the third and final.
doubtful. Characters are too simplistic. Great idea for a story, but Katniss turning into Joan of Arc with only selfless motives gets old, quickly, particularly at the end of the book.
A bit too dramatic
First of all, let me just say that I love the narrator Carolyn McCormick. She's doing a great job and I love her voice, tone and rhythm for the Hunger games series! This first part of the second book was not as action packed as the first Hunger Games, but it was not in the least uninteresting. I wanted to keep listening until it was done! I am also very excited about the second part of the recording which promises all the action to come. I think this book was really enjoyable - would recommend it.
I'm really enjoying these audio-books. They are wonderfully read, and very well written. I think Suzanne Collins did a great job with the characters, especially Katniss. And just when I think I know how the story is going to go, she goes in a completely different direction.
"A gripping listen"
So, I already own the paperback and have recently purchased The Hunger Games on audiobook, so the next step would be to acquire this one, the second in the trilogy. A great Narrator makes this a much more enjoyable listen than some I've come across. We have listened to it a few times now and think it will become a great addition to our audio library.
"It gets interesting..."
This books needs no introduction. You can't not read it if you've read the Hunger Games. My comment is specific to the audible version: Carolyn McCormick does a fine job with the reading. Her voice adapts well to all the different characters so it's always pretty clear who's talking. The slightly husky tone to her voice adds an edge to the prose, and definitely makes you feel that you're listening to more than a kids' book. A pleasure to listen to.
"A thoroughly gripping book"
I would surely listen to Catching Fire again. the story is fast-paced, the characters are well developed, the language is beautiful and the symbolism in the story is impossible not to get inspired by.
The mere thought of drawing a parallell between the symbolism in this book and the rampant development of entertainment in the modern world is gripping.
No, I have not.
The story itself makes my heart race. The overall theme of the book is a mix of inspiring and depressing (in a good way!)
Nope, I'm good.
"Not as good as the first book"
The first book is so gripping that I can't imagine not reading this second installment, but, although decent, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the first book. Katniss lacks the cleverness that got her through the first games and the plot contains too much same old same old to make it special.
This was as good as the Hunger Games,but i never exspected the ending like it was cannot wait to listen to the final book.
"Bit of bridge to the fantastic 3rd book"
As I've found with most trilogies the 2nd book tends to be a bit of a bridge betwen the excitement of the first book and the climax and thrill of the 3rd book. This one is a bit of a scene/background setter ready for the 3rd book, but is still unput-downable and is completely believable for a future American world
"Predictable - but still very entertaining"
As equally enjoyable as the first
Story – 3.5/5
Once again I found this story very entertaining, and I couldn’t switch it off. The only reason for not giving a very high score is down to a few issues that didn’t detract from my own enjoyment, but may do for others.
Catching Fire has followed on very nicely from the first book. It flows smoothly from the end of the first novel and the plot is equally, if not even more, intriguing than the first book.
I found the story to be incredibly predictable throughout. I am not sure if the small hints to how the book was going to end were supposed to be as obvious as I found them, but the ending didn’t have quite the impact that it could have had for me.
Once again, it is the little details that make this trilogy enjoyable. The known characters are developed further quite nicely with a few more intriguing characters entering into the mix. Whenever little snippets of history were told about these characters history, I was always left wanting more.
As with the first book, I didn’t find the love elements of the story very convincing, and there is more of it in this book if it bugged you in the first. I personally still didn’t find it putting me off.
Performance – 4/5
Carolyn McCormick is an excellent voice actor and narrator. If you enjoyed her in the first, you will enjoy her in this. All characters had distinctly recognisable voices, and she was able to portray the emotions of them very well throughout.
There were still the same issues of younger characters seeming too whiney at times by over elongating and over emphasising some words, but again, this may be a fault of the writing, and not the narrator.
Overall – 3.5/5
"Not the best"
I've listened to the first book and was enthralled.
It was a little too recap heavy for me. It was also repetitive and this lost some of my interest. It seemed like a bridge to the final book. I also lost some of my support for Katniss she seems to be very self absorbed in this book.
I was not fond of the Katniss' voice, it sounded a little weak and whiny, which I'm sure was not the intention for the heroine of the story.
Yes it was worth the listening time.
I afraid I'm not going to listen to the third book in the trilogy but I'm sure it will tie up lots of lose ends. I just fear it will be another chance to revisit the old plot and stories.
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