Catching Fire (Book #8)

CAUTION:  SPOILER ALERT!!!

Seriously...if you haven't finished or even read The Hunger Games do not continue reading!  I warned you...that's all.

Suzanne Collins's sequel to The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, does exactly what it sets out to do:  catches everything on fire.  The reader is brought back into Katniss Everdeen's life as she gets ready to embark on her Victory Tour, along with Peeta Mellark, her District 12 co-champion, for winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games.  They survived and outlasted 22 other tributes from various districts by employing a tactic that showed, though unintentionally, a strong sense of rebellion toward the Capitol, thus placing the two of them (more-so Katniss) on the governments Black List, all so they could return home and live in luxury.  Little does Katniss, or anyone else know, that luxury is not exactly on the agenda.  Yes, when the duo first return home, they are given new homes in the Victor's Village of District 12, along with their mentor and previous Hunger Games winner, Haymitch Abernathy, but that is short lived.

The pair, together with Haymitch and several other individuals from their Hunger Games prep team, are required to take part in the Victory Tour of the districts.  As they journey through the districts, inevitably getting closer and closer to the Capitol, they witness varying levels of unrest in several.  This escalates in District 8.  Once Katniss and Peeta make it to the Capitol, they must put their "game faces" back on and impress the citizens and prove to the leader, President Snow, that they aren't a threat to security.  Unfortunately, Katniss is unconvincing in Snow's eyes.

While this is playing out there is also the question of the Quarter Quell.  Every 25 years the makers of the Hunger Games put together a special series; a ramped up version of the Games, if you will.  The rules are different for every one, have been planned out since the beginning, and are revealed at the Capitol after the final interviews from the Victory Tour.  The 75th Annual Quarter Quell Hunger Games are a whopper.

As Plutarch Heavensbee, this years Head Gamemaker, reads the rules laid out for the Games, a shock falls over the entirety of the districts.  Only previous Victors will be fighting; one male and one female tribute from each district.  This, inevitably, throws Katniss back into the Games by default as she is the only female victor from District 12.  Peeta then volunteers to be the male tribute for the district and the two of them are back in the Games.

Once again there is the fight for survival as soon as the victors are all thrown back into the Games.  Only this times it's more difficult for them to kill one another because they all know each other.  There are new horrors introduced and new parameters that the Gamemakers have included within the arena and time is running out.  Several of the players team up and work together, thus prolonging their survival.  But, as this is not the goal of the Games, things are forced to escalate.  Those paired up with Katniss, namely Peeta, Johanna, Finnick, and Beetee, put together a trap to kill the remaining victors, but things go array.

Katniss ends up performing a very bold, and decidedly defiant, act against the Capitol which causes the entire arena to explode and leads to mass confusion among the players.  As she's transported from the arena, both reader and character alike question what's happening and where she's being taken.  We eventually find out that she's been evacuated by rebel forces to District 13, the district that supposedly doesn't exist, along with Finnick and Beetee, because District 12 has been destroyed by the Capitol.  Peeta, instead, is taken to the Capitol.

Thus ends Collins's Catching Fire.  We are left questioning what will happen to Katniss and to Peeta.  Along the way there are deaths of characters beloved and hated alike.  We must remember that a revolution is coming...

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