Review Blog

Feb 18 2010

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

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Scholastic, 2010 ISBN 9781407109367.
(Ages 12+) (Highly recommended). After the breathless read of The Hunger Games, where climate change has reduced the USA to 12 districts hanging on between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains, and to avoid wars, 2 tributes are chosen each year form each district to fight to the death in an arena where their every move is televised to the whole country, I couldn't believe that a sequel would grab me so much. But it has.
It is a year later, Karniss and her fighting partner, Peeta, have been called to the Capitol to hear that another games will be held this year, involving all the winners from the past 20 years, pitched against each other. No matter that some are elderly, or nearly blind, or have lost limbs, fight they must. Katniss had used all of her wits and fighting skills to keep herself and Peeta alive last time, but this time it is different, there is no way that she will be able to hoodwink the powers or the audience into saving the pair of them.
The love angle presented last time has almost run its course, and now, she and Peeta have had to join forces with several others to survive the appalling arena, full of shocks and death. Just surviving is bad enough, but all the while, at the back of her mind, she is thinking of how to kill the others, and then how to save Peeta. The tension is thrilling and exhilarating, the moral questions abound, as does the realisation all the way through the story that this band of young people are killing others to stay alive. But outside the arena, changes are occurring; the mockingjay brooch that Katniss wears has become a symbol for revolt. The third volume in this trilogy, can't come soon enough.
Fran Knight

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