For American YA literature, The Hunger Games was fresh and exciting. Yes, there was the Love Triangle that was further continued in Catching Fire, but it wasn’t distracting. Nor was it in the sequel. In fact, it actually helped to propel the storyline.
When we meet Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire, it is six months after she won The Hunger Games in the last book. She and Peeta Mellark are now living separate lives while they prepare for the Victory Tour. After Katniss pulled her stunt to allow both her and Peeta to become victors, something that has never been done in the 74 years of The Hunger Games, she now has a big red target on her back.
For starters, the book moved too quickly. I don’t mean to say that it was fast paced, but in the span of a single chapter we have moved several days and weeks. In a single paragraph, we have moved several hours. This is something that has always grated on me as a reader, regardless of who the writer is, what the genre is, who the target audience is. The fact that Ms. Collins did this repeatedly pulled me out of the story and kept me from being able to enjoy the book in the same fashion as the original story, particularly since this is told in first person present.
Secondly, instead of creating an all new plot for the book, it is a rehash of the previous one. Katniss and Peeta are once again thrown into The Hunger Games. I must give Collins credit, though. Instead of making it an obvious retaliation for her defiance, she created a MacGuffin to propel the story. Ignored in the first book of how their mentor, Haymitch, was chosen, or the details of his match, this book goes into details, and how he won.
Much of the book deals with Katniss’s internal struggle with who to trust and how to get Peeta out alive while she sacrifices herself. The beginning of the book held a great deal of potential with the discussions of rumors of uprisings around Panem, but, sadly, the book fell short of its potential.
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