Opening Line:"I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air."
At the conclusion of CATCHING FIRE two words entered my head “Wow” and “Really!?” Then I caught my breath, checked my heart and read the final chapter again because I’d been so engrossed in finding out how Suzanne Collins was going to end this unpredictable ride that I’d really only scanned the words the first time through. Not many books have the ability to leave me breathless and on that note not many books surprise me anymore either. Catching Fire managed to do both and what a fantastic time I had.
Starting soon after Katniss’s victory in the Hunger Games we re-join her back in district 12. Now a reluctant celebrity of sorts Katniss no longer has to worry about money or feeding her family however things are far from perfect. At odds with both Gale and Peeta there is unrest and change brewing in Panem, old rules are being reinforced amid rampant rumours of a rebellion against the capital. A revolt Katniss and Peeta may have unwittingly started but are certainly being accredited for. As the pair make plans for the upcoming Victory Tour and the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games a visit from President Snow contains a grave warning, forcing Katniss to publicly reaffirm her love for Peeta as well as trying to find a way to stop the desired but deadly and growing civil unrest.
Of course this is just the first half of the book (and the boring half too) Once the President decides on his form of revenge you simply won’t believe what happens and then you won’t be able to put the book down. I wondered how Collins was going to be able to trump the excitement of THE HUNGER GAMES well she does ten-fold and I never knew what was going to happen next. Full of surprises, innovative themes and fantastical creatures, we also get violence, heartbreak, page tearing suspense and a healthy dose of politics. The pace never lets up, making up for the weak and wandering part 1 where I felt like Collins was never really sure of where to take her story, giving us one possible direction before heading off in another. Silly me this was undoubtedly her intention all along letting me think I knew where she was going before she finally gives us…Wow.