I joined by first “read-along” this weekend with the rude awakening that I really have no clue what goes on in this part of social networking. But, in all the fun, I gobbled up Suzanne Collins’ second book of the acclaimed bestselling “Hunger Games” trilogy in short order with my typical T-Rex method of reading.
“Catching Fire” picks up shortly following the end of the original “Hunger Games.” The heroine Katniss finds herself as victor now on tour for all to see, the winner, brushed and shined up to be beautiful enough for reality TV, along with her fellow victor and protagonist, cute guy Peeta. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that the methods she and Peeta used to beat the Games makes for political awkwardness in this totalitarian state, as she sees districts beyond that of her own and gets too close for comfort in the ways law and order is enforced.
Back at home, she’s able to provide a better home for her family, and sees her other almost-love-interest, Gale. Between some dreaming of running away and dreaming of an uprising, the world of Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and mentor Haymitch evolve into a nightmare. Katniss and Peeta find themselves where they started; playing the Hunger Games again, but this time, with other victors.
While the Games itself is harrowing, the backdrop nightmare of food shortages as punishment from “The Capitol” for suspicious uprising of the people make for the larger tragedy. The teenage-level “love, but not in-love” Katniss feels between the fellows willing to throw down their lives for her is a reminder of “Twilight,” for good or not.
When all is said and done, “Catching Fire” is entertaining, easy to read, a little faster moving than the original “Hunger Games.” It’s a story of bravery, sacrifice, and love; with a bit of “me against the world” thrown in. Four stars!