Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins—That's It

After finishing The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I began to hunt for the unspokenbut impliedtheories on the internet to see if I had understood the book right. One of my favorite findings would be this Reddit discussion about the reason Peeta loves Katniss so much. With that 'conspiracy' in mind, I powered through Catching Fire with the hope of reigniting this kind of curiosity.

Disclaimer: Albeit very unlikely, I have to take caution and remind you that you have to stop reading in case you haven't read the first book yet.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have won the 74th Hunger Games together. For the first time in the game's history, two living winners are going home to their district's Victors' Village. Katniss would be happy to reunite with her mother, her sister Prim, and her best friend Gale in District 12, if not for the Capitol looking at both her and Peeta coming out of the game alive as a sort of rebellion.

Katniss has to be careful. For all she knows, the cruel President Snow is watching her every move. To keep all of her loved ones safe, Katniss has to act like she is completely in love with Peeta and convince the whole world that she never means to rebel, and that all she does, she does for love.

If my sister claimed Catching Fire as her favorite installment, I would say that this book, albeit so good, still couldn't top the first one in so many ways. For starters, the first half of this book felt too slow-going. Please remember that I didn't dislike this part. I liked that we got to slowly experience the built-up tension between the last Hunger Games and the upcoming Quarter Quell, but because actions were jam-packed in the last several chapters, this book didn't feel as nerve-racking as the first one.

I will not, in any circumstances, choose love-triangle as my favorite romance trope, but in this Peeta-Katniss-Gale case, I let our heroine flow with confusion in peace. I could imagine how hard it was for her to let go of Gale since he had been a major, important part of her childhood. It must be difficult to juggle her true desire and emotion especially after the Hunger Games had constructed this strong bond between her and Peeta. Linked by similar trauma, the same old burden, and deep trust between each other, we could see how Katniss and Peeta grew closer in Catching Fire, and how they relied on the existence of one another to stay alive.

While the plot was a ride and the Quarter Quell idea was clever if not designed to kill people, I would say that the aspect that caught the most of my attention was Katniss' internal monologue instead. Please skip this part if you haven't read the book yet, but I sympathized with Katniss during the second game. She had been so sure of her decision to let Peeta be the winner, but when Peeta pointed out how important it was for her to come out alive as she had people who actually depended on her while he didn't, it was said that Katniss then kissed him because she was afraid that Peeta's argument would confuse her. During those vulnerable moments, I felt for Katniss. I felt for her every action. Her confusion, her fear, her inclination to still do what she considered the best... her character felt just like the rest of us, regular humans with emotion swimming in a pool of uncertainty.

After those chapters, I would say that my rereading experience of Catching Fire was fire. I am going to rest a bit since I feel a little sleepy right now, but do know that I will be picking up the third installment right away after this. Peeta Mellark, you still have my heart.

Actual rating: 4.5