Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 2/5 stars

“Catching Fire” contains absolutely zero character development and produces very little in the way of furthering any meaningful plot.  This was surprising to me as I really enjoyed its movie equivalent.  I can report that all the stuff that I thought would be explained better in the book than in the movie was not.

The plot for “Catching Fire” can best be described so: The Capitol is watching you, Katniss, you made us look silly.  I’ll be good.  Oh, look, rebellion!  Oh, look, another Hunger Games and the twist is Katniss and Peeta are back in it!  I will save you!  No, I will save you!  No, I will save you!  No, I will save you!  No, we all will save you!  Game over!  There’s a rebellion?  The end.

The…whatever it is between Peeta and Katniss…is especially vomit inducing.  It’s like a romance between two kindergarteners.  Peeta has always loved Katniss even though you could count on one hand the number of words the two had exchanged before the first Hunger Games.  Katniss at least has conflicted feelings for how/why/if she loves Peeta, but she keeps up the whole “does he love me or is he playing a game” thing no matter how many times he chastely sleeps beside her.  Why in the world would she want to risk all to save him?  Because he’s a good person.  Ignore all the doubts Katniss expresses throughout, there’s a book to write.

The Quarter Quell, what each 25th year of the Hunger Games is called, is a complete waste of time.  It’s used solely as a mechanism for producing intrigue when any thinking person would have made damn sure there is no intrigue to be had this late in the game.  The design of the Arena is pretty cool at least with its hourly horror shows.  Even that is spoiled, though, by the absolutely preposterous plan thought up by a supposed genius to kill the final two remaining Career Tributes.

The book ends with one of those “oh, so that was the plan all along” moments followed quickly by “boy, was that stupid”.  And with that it reminds me why it’s classified as young adult fiction.  But this is young adult fiction that thinks young adults are shallow.  If I weren’t a completist, I’d probably skip reading the third book, but alas, I will power through the third.  There is a war coming after all.