Having enjoyed the films and the first book so much, I was looking forward to reading Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I felt like I knew what to expect more in this book – the surprise of the narration being in first person for the first book was indeed something I was looking forward to seeing how she developed during the second.
And I was not disappointed.
After surviving the Hunger Games the first time around, Katniss thought that she would be able to have a life of peace and relative comfort, something people of District 12 are not accustomed to. But her actions have caused an uprising to begin to emerge across different districts and her life is once again thrown into turmoil when the victor’s tour fails to convince President Snow that her love for Peeta is true and real – that her actions were only of love rather than defiance.
In a twist the victors didn’t see coming, the 75th Hunger Games have their tributes reaped from surviving victors and once again throws them back into the arena to prove that no one is invincible. However, a hornets nest has been kicked as none of the victors are happy with the way they are being treated and there is something far more going on than what Katniss knows. While she suspects something else is occurring by the others attempting to keep Peeta alive, she has no idea quite what she has become part of it.
The first person narration works extremely effectively in this book, perhaps more than the first. Due to Katniss not being sure what is going on, it means the reader is kept in the dark in the same way and it works effectively. She doesn’t have the chance to focus on it too much so although we are aware something else may be occurring, we are not given the time to dwell on it or become frustrated due to the lack of answers.
The characterisations are also handled well, especially considering we are being introduced to the others via Katniss – an opinionated girl who claims more than once she finds it hard to make friends. Yet the characters are not all portrayed as negative and her grudging admiration and respect for some comes across clearly in the way that it is written.
As with the first book, it was clear this was a trilogy from the very beginning as the ending opens up far more questions than anything that has been answered so far, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat as they wait to get their hands on the third book. I for one am enjoying them more than I thought – there is always the danger with long awaited for things that they won’t live up to expectations. Despite knowing some of the twists due to having seen the films, it doesn’t detract from how gripping the books are and I’m eagerly turning each page, anxious to read on.