Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Catching Fire - Finally!

And I'm spent! After what seemed like an eternity waiting for this book I was up most of the night finishing it. Despite the protests from my brain and eyes this morning, one would have had to pry it out of my cold dead fingers in order to get me to put it down. If you have not read the first book in the series, Hunger Games, stop reading here. Catching Fire joins up with Katniss just a few months after her and Peeta's defying double victory at the 74th annual Hunger Games and they haven't seen much of each other since. Most of the first half of the book follows Katniss through her life as a victor, the changes her District 12 has experienced and the painful pull she feels between her fellow winner and her best friend Gale. Don't take this to mean it's a "day in the life" of a contest winner. The anxiety and urgency begin almost immediately and will stay with you through to the very last page - and beyond. The action sequences are such a frenzied blur that you feel like you've just watched it on the screen instead of reading it from the page. There was not a lot of the usual re-telling of the original story that authors of series often use, which is great as I hate feeling like I could have skipped the first 10 pages. What I did have to be reminded of however, was how old Katniss is. Her trials and wisdom are so far beyond her age that it's easy to forget that she's only 17. Be sure to have a box of tissues on hand as the opportunities for tears are many. And though it wasn't often, I did find myself laughing out loud a few times. I can't say why without giving big portions of the story away but I will say that pages 232, 241 and 316 held a few special delights. Overall, the book was so well done that I find myself caught half way between glad I devoured it in one night and wishing I would have savoured it over time. I was both heartbroken and empowered throughout and feel quite emotionally drained after the experience. I dare you to pick up this book and not dread having to put it down. Even after you're finished.

And now begins the long countdown to the final chapter.

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