Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins was published in 2009 by Scholastic Inc., one year after her immensely popular, Hunger Games. Where Hunger Games took us into a personal relationship with Katniss Everdeen, Catching Fire begins to allow us to see how others see her. The best aspects of the first book in the trilogy are still in existence. We still have a bird’s eye view of Katniss’ world because of the first-person writing. However, because Katniss is forced to look at herself differently and interact with people in more diverse roles, we get to see Katniss from a broader perspective. She starts to see herself a bit differently as well.
We begin our story with Katniss relatively safe. Having won the 74th Hunger Games, she gets to live in one of the twelve beautiful houses in the Victor’s Village. Her mentor from the first book, Haymitch, lives in the Village, as does Peeta. It is hard not to be grateful that Katniss’ mother and sister, Prim, are with her in the new house, eating well and wanting for very little. It is a struggle, though, to realize that Peeta and Katniss are not staying close during the days after the Games ended. Once the cameras leave them alone, they essentially part ways. That is, until the Victory Tour, where they have to spend time together visiting all of the Districts in celebration of their win. Of course, the fact that there are two winners for the Victory Tour is absolutely unprecedented and causes the beginnings of unrest in some of the Districts. The President threatens Katniss and her life just gets more difficult from there.
One of the things about books that involve romance is that it is never simple. For Katniss, she feels something for Peeta. But she is also beginning to understand how important her best friend, Gale, is to her as well. Gale has expressed his love for her but Katniss’ life is not meant to be easy. No love triangle turns out perfectly and tragedy of one form or another decides how the love triangle will dissolve into a straight line between two people.
Catching Fire takes Katniss and Peeta back to the arena as the 75th Hunger Games, named the Quarter Quell, takes victors from all Districts. These are people who have already won the Hunger Games and never expected to be back in the arena. Amazingly, before the 75th Hunger Games are completely over, chaos ensues and a rebellion takes Katniss away from the arena. And away from Peeta. We are left wondering if he will live or be tortured. We are left wondering how Gale and Haymitch are involved with this amazing “rescue”. We are left wondering what District 13 has been doing all of these years. We are left wondering how Katniss will finally find peace. And maybe even love. Yes, this book was definitely very interesting.