As with my recent re-read of The Hunger Games and going back to re-read my original review of Catching Fire back in 2010, I realized how much my blog has changed over the past three years. (I’ve also realized how poorly proofed my old posts are. Seriously go back and read some of them and laugh at my horrible editing! I used ‘one’ instead of ‘won’ and have ‘wont” instead of ‘won’t’ at one point. As I said in that review, DON’T READ PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT ANYTHING RUINED.
If one of the novels had more potential than any of the others, this is it and this is most evident in the way the writers were able to create an AMAZING film out of a mediocre book. And as with the book itself I wished the movie would’ve spent more time in the arena itself rather than on the outside of the arena, but both the book and movie did have to set up the third book.
Her imagination is clearly there in terms of the story, but the writing never approaches amazing. Where I think Collins shows her strengths in this novel is in the minor characters. You get this in The Hunger Games, but you really see this in Catching Fire and through the countless victors introduced over these first two books. I rarely wish an author would release a compendium or addendum book, but I would love to read a series of short stories about the 75 victors and how each of them won their year. We do get a good idea of a few of them from Peeta and Katniss watching the victors they will face, but I really want to know about the rest!
Where Collins imagination thrives in this novel, aside from the minor characters, is in the arena. I mean where did this idea come from? I honestly want to know if there is anything out there which inspired her or maybe she’s mentioned it somewhere, if you’ve heard please let me know because I’m not interested enough to actually look it up but it’s such a brilliant idea that I’m still in awe of it. (And they did a great job of it in the film adaptation.) And this is why I was disappointed in the re-read and in the film adaptation the shortness of the time spent in the arena (less than 72 hours!).
I understand why Collins spent the majority of the time of the novel outside of the arena, but it doesn’t mean I liked it. Collins needed to set the tone for the final novel by showing Katniss and Peeta’s experience throughout Panam and the unrest in the districts and among the victors. In addition the tour of the districts only serves to provide extra background information of the world and of what could potentially happen in Mockingjay.
Recommendation: Of course you have to read this one. Catching Fire doesn’t stand alone as the first novel does, but keep in mind if you read this novel you HAVE to read the third novel or be left wondering.
Opening Line: “I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.”
Closing Line: “But Gale is not one to keep secrets from me. ‘Katniss, there is no District Twelve.'” (Whited out.)