Catching Fire — Suzanne Collins
What if winning doesn’t really make you a victor?
Katniss and Peeta, victors of the 74th Hunger Games, were all prepped up for the victory tour… but not everything could fall into the right places. Katniss’ seemingly perfect life outside the arena was likely more deranged—Peeta’s coldness towards her, Gale’s aloofness, and, to much of her obliviousness, rumors spreading about the uprising of the districts and, that she, herself, ignited the said rebellion. The stakes were set much higher, and President Snow expects much more than they could give. As the tour would draw to its end, the “star-crossed lovers,” without the tiniest hint of doubt, would have to prove that they were madly in love with each other. If not, the consequences would be unimaginable.
Once again, Collins concocted a mind-boggling story that is fueled with everything that one could ask for. The already multi-dimensional characters were fleshed out more thoroughly—largely lifelike and more picturesque than ever. It takes off immediately days after the games; hence, recaps were unlikely necessary. We get to be vividly cognizant of the other characters as well: Gale, Mrs. Everdeen, Prim, and eminently, Haymitch—what was his story, what provoked him to be constantly drunk all the time, and whatnot. The twist at the verge of the story was utterly unpredictable—I could only imagine the innumerable amount of gasps and exasperations readers had let loose on this part. The concept of the Quarter Quell, as for me, was very much appreciated. It was highly impressive and truly ingenious. Inside the arena, the possibilities were uncertain—who are the enemies, who are the allies? Katniss, being extremely cynical as she is, perplexes over these things. Still, Peeta will move mountains for the sake of Katniss.
On the other hand, we were introduced to a whole set of freshly-comers. Some you will hate and some you will love.
Nevertheless, the foremost highlight of this sequel was the Capitol. Retribution for the uprising of the districts many years ago was the main reason behind this senseless competition. We saw how the Capitol could be so insensible, so nefarious, and manipulative in all the twisted way there is; which on the other hand, manifests the political practices nowadays. The present government may not be that cruel, but hey, isn’t a faint cruelty parallel as to any amount of cruelty?
And may I add, the ending was the most mind-blowing cliffhanger I have ever read. Which kind of reminds me of an Augustana song. Let’s do it the Panem way:
District 12 is burning, burning;
Burning to the ground.
And my head is turning, turning;
Turning round and round.
Katniss’ stomach’s churning, churning;
Like a storm today.
And her mother’s crying, crying;
Closing up the safe….