What can I say about this book besides how awesome it was? I absolutely loved it.
Catching Fire picks up a few months after the Hunger Games, the day she goes on the victory tour with Peeta. She is visited by President Snow at her home and is informed of the possible rebellion(s) she started in the arena. So basically he tells her that she better convince people she is totally in love with Peeta and diffuse the rebellious feelings in the district or he will kill everyone she love. So she tries hard to please the president but she finds out that what she does is not enough. So in a effort to get rid of her President Snow declares that the new tributes for this year's special Quarter Quell games will be chose from the victors of other games from each district. Since, Katniss is the only female victor in district 12, she has to go. Then the action really starts.
I love Katniss's character. She is still the same tough cookie but she has changed a lot because of the games. She has finally forgiven her mother for those years of hardships she caused. She is now on better terms with her mother. She is still not sure about her feelings for Peeta or Gale. I like this about her because it is so rarely seen in YA books anymore. Now everything is insta-love. I like how Katniss has to sort out her feelings and how confused she gets. This is how a real teenager feels at this time in their life. I also love her mood swings especially when she talks to Gale. Its funny how they fight and make up like an old married couple. I was glad to see the softer and more vulnerable side of Katniss in this book. In the first book, she was so tough and brave, putting on a face for everyone. In this book she shows how much the games affected her by the constant nightmares where she woke up screaming and that the only thing keeping them away was when she slept with Peeta. I like how she trusts him completely and has come to rely on him as well.
I really felt her pain in this book when she realized she would be competing in yet another hunger game. Her screams, her running and the way she curled into a ball because of the news made me feel so sad for her and angry at President Snow for putting her through that. We also see her usual defiance and bravery when she throws herself in front of the whip meant for Gale and gets her eye swollen shut. Her bravery and fiestyness help her keep Peeta alive the Quarter Quell.
I really like Peeta a lot. He cares so much for Katniss that he's willing to sacrifice himself for her. When he finds out that she will be going into the quarter quell, he immediately goes to Haymitch's house telling him that between them two, no matter whose name is called, he will go into the games to protect Katniss. He is completely deovoted to her. In the beginning of the book, even though he loves her, he apologizes to Katniss for the way he's been behaving after he found out that she isn't sure what she feels for him. Then he asks her if they could be friends again. He again is willing to sacrifice his life and give her everything she could want in life, when during the quarter quell, he shows Katniss his locket containing the pictures of her family and Gale. He is ready to let Katniss go and be with Gale if it means her survival.
" But Peeta's intention is clear. That Gale really is my family or will be one day if I live. That I'll marry him. so Peeta's giving me his life and Gale at the same time. To let me know I shouldn't ever have doubts about it." pg 351 in Catching Fire.
Peeta protects Katniss with everything he has and loves her completely. I love his goodness, kindness and his way with words. Katniss could never find a more perfect guy.
As for Gale, even though he's in this book more than before, I still don't like him. He rubs me the wrong way. He's annoying and whiny. Where as Peeta is kind understanding and patient with Katniss and her feelings of "love", Gale is quick yo get angry and whiny. When he tells her he loves her and Katniss explains that at the moment, she's not thinking about love because hello, the president is threatening to kill her and everyone she loves, he gets all distant and drops her hands. WTF guy? Give it a rest. But i do feel sorry for him when he gets whipped almost to death. No one deserves that. I also like the way he teaches Katniss and Peeta how to set up snares while they are training for the Quarter Quell. He even sorta admits that Peeta is a good guy by saying "It'd be better if he was easier to hate." Even so, hes ehhhh for me. I'm team Peeta all the way!
Now for the new characters. I like Wires and Beetee. They're super smart and teach Katniss how to spot the weak spots in barriers which plays a huge part later on in the book. Johanna is hilarious and I love her attitude and sarcasm. She sound a lot like me. Finnick was the classic pretty boy, but man he was with it and he could fight. I liked how he took care of Mags and she looked out for him. It was so sad when she died. I was a little upset. The new peacekeeper Thread was a huge ass. How I wanted someone to kill him. I don't like how he turned district 12 into a sort of torture chamber, whipping people and hanging them. Who know maybe in the third book I'll get my wish and find out he's dead or I'll get to read how he gets killed. I like the idea of the other districts rebelling but I don't like that people have to die.
I like how Prim has grown during this novel, helping her mother with the injured people (caused by Thread) and even having her own patients to care and heal when her mother becomes overwhelmed with all the people streaming into their house with injuries. She had to become an adult quickly.
Now for on to the romance. While Katniss says she doesn't really know her feelings for Peeta, its clear she loves/likes/cares for him much more than a friend. There are many instances where this can be seen. She sleeps with him on the train for more reasons than keeping the nightmares away. She feels safe in Peeta's arms and when the tour of the districts end, she misses sleeping with him. (when I say sleeping, I mean just sleeping not sex). She spends a lot of time with him, when she's recovering from her foot and tailbone injuries, letting him draw the pictures in her family book. When they're in the arena, when Peeta is showing Katniss the pictures in his locket, he tells her that she needs to survive because "no one really needs" him. But Katniss feels that "Only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me." How can she be damaged beyond repair if he dies if she doesn't love/like/care for him in a romantic way. This thought is in her head right before she kisses him. And the kiss is the kind that makes her want more of him. So they actually make out...yay! Here's what Katniss says while she's kissing Peeta
"But there was only one kiss that made feel something stir deep inside. Only one that made me want more......This time, there is nothing but us to interrupt us. And after a few attempts, Peeta gives up on talking. The sensation inside me grows warmer and spreads out from my chest, down through my body, out along my arms and legs, to the tip of my being. Instead of satisfying me, the kisses have the opposite effect, of making my need greater. I thought I was something of an expert on hunger, but this is an entirely new kind".
Peeta's kisses do this to her. The at the end of the book when Katniss gets informed that Peeta was captured by the capital she becomes very upset and depressed. She feels that she "will never get him back". She says/thinks
"I give up. Stop speaking, responding, refuse food and water. They can pump whatever they want into my arm but it takes more than that to keep a person going once she's lost the will to live."
The thought that of losing Peeta and of him dying, causes her to lose the will to live. Nobody feels that way about someone (whose a non relative) unless they love them. I think Katniss loves Peeta but hasn't realized it yet.
The first two books in the series were awesome. I hope the third one is up to parr.
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews