Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Review: "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

This second book in the Hunger Games trilogy really wowed me. I was impressed by Hunger Games, the first book in the series, when I read it earlier this year, but Collins definitely outdid herself with this second book. It's amazing how well-written and intricately plotted a book this is, considering that many books traditionally geared for the "young adult" audience skimp a bit on quality. (Haters: I said many, not all.)

When the first book in the series ended, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark had emerged victorious from the annual Hunger Games, a government-sanctioned, brutal fight-to-the-death that pitted two young people from each district against each other. Katniss outsmarted the Capitol by ensuring that two people survived the Games for the first time, and this has caused ripples of rebellion to ignite all over the country. So the Capitol enacts its revenge by turning Katniss' world upside down, throwing her challenge after challenge, and putting all those she loves at risk. (This is a super general description because so much of the book works when it comes as a surprise.)

What impressed me about these books is Collins' creativity in dreaming up the setting, the Hunger Games and the characters, as well as the maturity her characters showed. These aren't sniveling, whining, pining people (most of the time) and you find yourself getting truly emotionally invested in what happens to them. So now there's one more book left—Mockingjay—and much as with other series of books, I find myself torn between wanting to immediately tear into the next book and holding off, since it's the last. We'll see which part wins out...

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