Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
In my review of The Hunger Games, I explained that although it was a good book, it did not “wow” me. I feel very much the same way about Catching Fire. It’s actually quite hard to explain (which is why it has taken me 3 days to write the review) but I am going to try anyway.
Catching Fire continues following Katniss post-74th Annual Hunger Games. As the synopsis says, her victory at The Hunger Games was in obvious and blatant defiance of the Capitol. This causes some major problems for our girl. Imagine living in a place and time where 1 sole governing body governed EVERYTHING. Not just basic laws but right down to the food you consume. Katiniss pissed them off and they are making her life hell.
This book is filled with one pitfall right after another for Katniss. Just when you think she may have something figured out and might finally get a break, not so much! The Capitol opens door number 3 and reveals the giant drooling monster that’s about to consume you. It’s beyond frustrating through the entire book. It’s not as simple as 1 step forward, 2 steps back. It’s more 1 step forward, 10 steps back…. through dog shit, tripping on a bear trap and falling flat on your face into a flaming pile of mutation manure. By the end of this book, I was extremely surprised that Katniss hadn’t contemplated offing herself. I would have.
To top it off, there was soooo much action in The Hunger Games that Catching Fire seemed so bloody boring!! Whine, whine, whine, half a page of action, whine, whine, whine, half a page of action, whine, whine, whine, meet some cool new characters, whine, whine, whine….. See? You stopped reading, didn’t you??? It’s awful.
But but but!!! The shining upside to this book is this – without this book, there would be no bridge between Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Boring as it may be, Catching Fire is an extreme necessity because there are a lot of quiet events and conversations that the reader needed to “hear”. For one – we get to know Haymitch a lot better. We also meet some of the other victors. I particularly like Finnic. However, I also find myself wanting to slap him around a little because…..well, just because. You’ll see.
Overall, I gave Catching Fire another 3 stars. Not bad but not great.