CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins [Book 4 of 2011]

Since we’re allowing sequels in this year’s 52 books in 52 weeks challenge, I realized that a shortened version of my usual format might be in order to avoid spoilers. So without further ado, let’s test the alt format on CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins. Let me know in the comments if there are any sections that you think I should add or put back in.

Standing in the series: This is Book 2 of the HUNGER GAME trilogies. I reviewed the first book HERE.

Better Than the First? Yes and no. The writing is once again excellent with huge twists that I did not see coming, but that were well set up. I stayed on the edge of my seat. However, the utter sexlessness of the main character began to irk a bit, especially when the author brings out that ¬†hoary old device of putting her on a pedestal for being so “pure” (read a 17yo virgin) in comparison to another woman who has killed just as she has but is gasp! comfortable with her body and sexuality. And, as with most second-book triangles, you start to get a bit annoyed with the main character who has two hunks clamoring after her. It’s that old Archie comic problem. You can only push a triangle so far before you begin to feel like the main character is a douche for not just choosing already and putting one suitor out of his misery.

Writing Lessons Learned

Second book, bigger stakes. Anyone looking to plot out a series should look at how Collins so deftly raises the stakes in CATCHING FIRE.

Denial of the call. This second book has an interesting plot structure in that it’s basically one long denial of call. Collins basically lets her main character resist her destiny in every way imaginable. But the author knows and we know exactly where this is going for her.

Will I read the third? What’s interesting is that I was getting a bit down between listening to this on my iPhone. listening to SIMA’S UNDERGARMENTS FOR WOMEN (a literary novel about infertility in the 60s) in my car, and reading the non-fiction cancer epic THE EMPEROR OF MALADIES on my iPad. I thought that I might listen to something else first and give the bleak stuff a rest — but the ending was so provocative that I immediately downloaded the third. So here we go…

Click o the pic to purchase at Amazon.