Sunday, September 13, 2009

Catching Fire

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Book 2 of 55 for the Countdown Challenge
Book 4 of 4 for the RIP IV Challenge
Series: Book 2 of 3 (Hunger Games)
#2 on Fall 2009 Children's Indie Next List

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Melissa from Book Nut and I finished this book within a few hours of each other, so we decided to do a little review/chat with our thoughts. I've edited the conversation (I think) for spoilers, but Melissa has more on her review if you've already read it. Needless to say, we both loved this book and there was much gushing involved. Enjoy!

Melissa: Green
Tricia: Purple

So: are you Team Peeta or Team Gale? (Why is it that we feel a need to divide everything up into teams?)

So, going into the book, I was on Team Gale. I can't discount the lifelong friend thing. My parents were lifelong friends and it totally worked for them. But I think one of the things that I really felt like Collins did that Stephenie Meyer didn't manage for me, is really really make me torn between the two. But, because we've really seen so little from Gale in the two books, I'm having a hard time justifying my team. I really love Peeta, especially after reading this book.

That's a good point: you really couldn't root for one or the other, because they were both so good for Katniss.
Gale's never really been given a chance.

OK, so you are on Team Peeta I presume?

He's awesome, and Gale's so much in the background. I thought, too, that Peeta was stronger this time around, altruistic, yes, but also smart, savvy and able to manage himself, which is not something he did in Hunger Games.
I think Katniss needs him more than she needs Gale.

Definitely. There was something a little pathetic about him in the first book that was totally gone this book. Like he really grew up.
I think it will be hard for Gale to ever fully understand how much the Games has changed Katniss as a person, but Peeta will always have that for her.

You know one of the things I really liked in this book was how Peeta and Katniss needed each other to sleep through the night. I also liked that they managed without sex -- that their connection was something more elemental than passionate.

Yeah. That was sort of sexy too. Kind of Twilight-ish.
Were you surprised by what happened in this book?

I was going along the book, and then I hit page 174 and it totally threw me for a loop!

Yeah, some of it I anticipated, and other things just had me shocked. And Collins manages to do it BAM at the end of the chapter so you have to keep reading!

I thought she'd leave the games behind in this book...go political. And she did, in a way. Well, not in a way. She did. Just not in the way I was expecting.

Yeah, I was expecting a more traditional uprising I guess.

And we got some of that. But, the whole ending...... that was surprising.

I think Collins does a fabulous job with the minor characters. Even annoying Effie and the crying stylists. I love them all!

True. Actually, the only person I still really didn't like was Katniss herself. She's still too black-and-white, though she's less so than in Hunger Games.

You know, I never really thought about it that way, but I agree with you. She's still immature. I think this book really highlighted that, especially with Peeta growing up so much.
So, usually 2nd books in a trilogy are a little rougher for me than the rest. But this one wasn't. What do you think made this book so different from normal 2nd books?

Perhaps it's because Collins didn't do what we expected her to do? If you think about it, not much really happened in this book. It's still mostly foundational.

Yeah, she seems like she's got a really clear direction she's headed. She's not distracted in her writing.

No. That's so true. She's a very tight, very descriptive writer. I don't feel like she's telling us more than we need to know, which is probably why it's such an intense reading experience.

Favorite character?

This book: Peeta. Yours?

Haymitch. Because, like in HG, there is so much more to him than what we're really seeing
and that he knows more about getting out of the area alive than anyone else. And then there's the end...WOW

I think his drunkeness is a mask for something bigger, and Collins hinted at that in the end. He's very complex.

I hope he's more sober in the next book though.

I actually really don't like Johanna, and I think that's a good thing. How I can dislike someone who's on the right side?...that's talented writing.

That's a good point.
It's easy to like the likable people and hate the bad ones, but to write someone unlikable who is on the good side...

Favorite scene -- I think I liked the one with Katniss in the woods when she met the escapees from District 8. It gave us a hint of something bigger that was going on, yet managed to not give too much away, and it let us see a bit more into Katniss's world.

OK, I will probably change my mind 1/2 dozen times, but I really liked the scene when the fence goes back online and she gets hurt coming home. And how everyone at home reacts and plays dumb when the Peacekeepers are there. It was serious and funny all at the same time.

Which is really what Collins does best.
Hunger Games was a good criticism of popular society and reality television...But I don't think this one was as much, do you?

No, I felt like it was much more it's own world this time.

Which do you think is the better book?

I think I'll go with Hunger Games just because it was first.

I think I liked Catching Fire better because it was less commentary on society and more a straight-up adventure.

I don't think we could go wrong with either, truth be told.

Source: Purchased


Melissa said...

You did cut all the spoilerific stuff. Good for you! :-) (I couldn't resist...)

Actually, I was talking to Russell and I think I have to agree with you: Hunger Games is the better book. Not that this one is bad, but it's just not as tight as the first one.

It was fun doing this; we ought to do it again!

bermudaonion said...

I love the way you did this. I haven't read the book yet, but my hubby has and he's Team Peeta all the way.

Jaz said...

I'm Team Gale, Peeta is too good for her, and their affection is too unequal. Peeta needs to fall in love with her sister.

Booklogged said...

This was a delightful give and take conversation. I felt like a fly sitting on the wall while you two discussed these 2 books.

My daughter came running upstairs last night very excited about something in the book. I wouldn't let her tell me because I still want to read it, but I'm wondering if she was on p. 174. BTW, she is Team Peeta.

Anna said...

I totally agree with was hard for me to be Team Peeta or Team Gale, but it was so easy for me to be Team Edward when reading the Twilight books. When I was reading about Peeta, I was all for him, and the same thing with Gale. I think I'm Team Peeta, though. LOL

Diary of an Eccentric

Kim said...

I love your conversation. I'm definitely Team Peeta but I could have easily been Team Gale if there had been more interaction between them. I'm such a sucker for romance that I can't help but love Peeta and the way he loves Katniss. I do like Katniss though, even if she is emotionally immature.