The Hunger Games series. Have you read it? All the cool kids are. I avoided it for a long time. Now the third book Mockingjay is about to be released and I've just finished the second one, Catching Fire.
Just in case you haven't read The Hunger Games, you might want to avert your eyes for this review.
So my dearies, Katniss and Peeta are back at home after their experience with the Hunger Games. But they still have to play along with the love birds story so they won't wake up dead. This requires Katniss to make out with Peeta in front of the cameras. Making out with a brave, smart, charismatic and hot guy. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it. Of course, Katniss has to make this a chore... But wait! There is another hot, brave guy vying for her heart: Gale. Oh noes! What's a girl to do?!
Meanwhile, Katniss gets a visit from The President. He wants to make out with her too? No. He threatens her and her family. And if you think this isn't ominous enough, he smells like blood. What? How is this possible? Eats kittens for breakfast? Bathes in the blood of young boys to keep him young? I thought this was overkill since he could be wearing a fuzzy sweater, smell like vanilla and still be scary because he just threatened to kill her family. Anyway he doesn't believe she and Peeta are in love and that it's all a plot to start an uprising. He wants her to calm people down while they're on their Victory Tour.
The tour commences and instead of preventing chaos, they inadvertently cause more of it. Once the tour is over, the next Hunger Games is announced, this time with a twist, the past victors will compete to the death. That means Katniss and Peeta are back in the arena.
Since I loved The Hunger Games so much my expectations were pretty high for Catching Fire. At first, I was unimpressed but then stuff starts happening and it gets good. Hurray! I was not disappointed. After the slow pace of Part One, things pick up and it's just as suspenseful as The Hunger Games.
We have a good handle on the characters from The Hunger Games. We know their quirks and personalities. So we get thrown some new ones. Is there a Team Finnick? I think I might start one. More age appropriate for me. I wish Katniss would develop more as a character. She's brave and all but she still can't make up her mind between the two guys. It's been a year. How much time does she need? If you like one of them, let him know and let the other one off the hook. Also she still thinks everyone around her just can't handle things the way she can. She keeps secrets and makes deals behind their backs. It's very irritating. She can't stand it when it happens to her either! Trust issues, people.
I'm still Team Peeta. Help me out here Team Gale folks, why? Really! Peeta is all that and a bag of chips. And that little talk he has with Katniss near the end...C'mon! I don't get the attraction to Gale. Plus he calls her Catnip. Gag.
After a slow start, Catching Fire is an exciting sequel. I can't wait to read how it all turns out in Mockingjay.
About the Audiobook: I borrowed the audiobook, narrated by Carolyn McCormick, from the library. At first, I found it odd since I had an idea of how Katniss sounded after reading the first book. The voice of Katniss threw me, she had a kind of 'wide-eyed innocent' voice that didn't suit. But later, either the narrator lost much of that or I got used to it and didn't mind it so much.
Highly recommended for readers of The Hunger Games.