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Frannie in the Pages

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) - Suzanne  Collins

All Katniss ever wanted to do was to save both herself and Peeta and return to District 12, back to her mother and sister. And she did save them. They all moved to a new and huge house and they have all the money they could ever wish for. However when she pulled out those berries, she also ended up openly defying the Capitol: for the first time in 74 years, against the rules, two winners of the Hunger Games were allowed and now some of the districts are slowly coming back to life and unrests are beginning to take place. Now more than ever she has to convince the audience that all her actions were dictated only by the deepest feelings for her star-crossed lover and the greatest fear of losing him and living the rest of her life without him, otherwise President Snow have to military intervene and her family and friends will be in danger.

After six months from the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta go on the Victory Tour to visit and thank all the districts and they do their best to pull off the most convincible performance as lovers but people are actually rebelling and it’s not enough.

Then it comes the time for the 75th Hunger Games: The Quarter Quell. It happens every 25 years and it’s the only occasion in which rules are purposely legitimately changed. President Snow stands up before the podium and announces what Katniss and all the districts could have never imagined: this year the tributes will be chosen among the previous winners of the Games. This means only one thing: Katniss and Peeta will have to go back into the arena once more.

I remember exactly what I thought of the first book: incredible world building and fast-paced and exciting and dreadful and mind-blowing. Well, this second book was all that and more. I wasn’t expecting anything of what happened and every page I turned was an unbelievable and crazy and every time, even though I was holding my breath and bracing myself for what was about to come, it was never enough and I always kept craving for more.

The totalitarian system developed accordingly to the turns of events and it was all awfully realistic. The more people pulled the strings and tried to rise up, the more the government brought them back down by all means, increasing the presence of Peacekeepers, reinforcing the security and threatening. The use of violence to show the Capitol’s strength was daily bread.

Nonetheless, where there’s repression there’s always longing for freedom and independency and President Snow is starting to see it. At some point, desperation will outnumber fear and entertainments at the expense of the commons and appearances of peace and manipulation won’t be enough to hold back uprisings anymore.

Dear bloody President Snow, I hope you’ll end up rotting in a cell. I wish you the worst.

Katniss was confirmed to be a brave and smart kickass protagonist. She thought she could have gone back to her old life, to being a simple girl from District 12 and to hunting with Gale. Unfortunately, the Hunger Games were only the beginning of her nightmare. She keeps reliving what she went through in the arena and Rue’s lifeless body; Gale has started to work in the mine and won’t let her help; people around her are still suffering and starving and she still has to pretend to be madly in love with Peeta in order to please President Snow and protect her family, even if this means the rest of her life would be like feeling trapped in a cage. But her act isn’t good enough and if you can’t prevent a revolution, you better join it.

She becomes the mockingjay, the great hope the government hadn’t foreseen.

Her feelings are still uncertain and she can’t clear her thoughts about her love life but this time it didn’t bother me at all. Gale is family to her, she know him better than everyone else and life with him would be as simple as breathing but she can’t ignore the pull towards Peeta, a guy she is ready to sacrifice her life for in the 75th Hunger Games.

Finally I got to know Gale better. He’s headstrong and impulsive, a guy who wants to be free and master of his own future. The only reason that still keeps him in District 12 is the responsibility of providing for his family. And Katniss.

I was sorry to see him ache for Katniss, to be forced to publically watch her with another guy, especially because I truly believe they would be perfect for each other. They share the same past and dreams and they’re both as stubborn as mules.

Peeta… Well, Peeta was a revelation. I liked him in the first book because he was naïve and simple and he knew what were his abilities and possibilities. In Catching Fire he shows strength and determination. In more than one circumstance he takes the matter in hand and shows how it’s done. He knows how to talk, how to charm people and he’s the one who manages to keep Katniss together when she needs it the most. He’s almost an unstoppable force but he always puts Katniss first. Moreover, he totally won my heart. He was sweetness itself, caring and gentle and kind. He’s hopelessly and unconditionally in love with her and, even though he knows she doesn’t love him back, he says to her the most romantic declarations lost in other sentences, like it’s no big deal because he’s just stating a fact and he’s okay, she doesn’t have to respond anything. He almost had me in tears, just saying.

 

Seeing both of them back in the arena made me stay hyper-alert the whole time. I feared what could have happened to them, so I devoured the pages because I had to know what was going to be. They both wanted to save the other’s life and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing one of them and they couldn’t be both saved again, could they? My poor heart.

 

I loved all the new characters and I can’t wait to know more in the next book: what are the real intentions of  the new Head Gamemaker, Plutarch Heavensbee? What about Annie and Finnick? And is Haymitch just the reckless but smart drunkard I thought he was?

 

And that ending. One word: cliff-hanger. I need to get my hands on the third one, NOW.