The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – A Book You Can’t Put Down

Well, technically, it was an e-book. And yes, I wasn’t able to put my phone down nor use it for any of its other functions – like calls, texts and my games.

catching fire - every revolution starts with a spark

catching fire – every revolution starts with a spark

I sprained my ankle that lazy Sunday morning just as I was planning on working out since Joy would be out for the weekend and my brother Jami who is sleeping over, stayed glued to the Clippers-Grizzlies game. And since the ankle called off any strenuous activities for the day, I started reading Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence was such a stunner in the Silver Linings Playbook, and after watching her again in the X-men Origins movie, I simply became a fan. I was already half-way through the book when I fell asleep last night. But if I had my way, I would have finished the book in one sitting.

So Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) emerge as victors of the 74th hunger games, a first, since there could only be one victor. In the instant when Katniss grabbed the poisonous berries at the end of the 1st movie, she asked the Game Maker, then Seneca Crane, to either let both live and emerge victors, or they won’t have a victor for that year altogether.

The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark

The Hunger Games: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark

Towards the end of that movie we see President Snow being too unhappy about this and kills Seneca, thus the emergence of  a new Game Maker in the very talented Philip Seymour Hoffman. Both Katniss and Peeta and their families now live in the Victors Village and they would never be hungry, ever again. Gale is made up to become Katniss’ cousin after her reel romance with Peeta was such a hit. On Sundays, they still see each other in the woods and re-establish their bond, until Gale (Liam Hemsworth) kisses Katniss just before they parted, in one of those dreamy Sundays.

Catching Fire: Katniss and Gale

Catching Fire: Katniss and Gale

But because of Katniss’ defiance against the capitol and the stupid games they had the districts play, hungered and mistreated people of various districts start to rise up against the government, most especially from District 8, and 11, where Rue was from. During the victory tour of Peeta and Katniss, an old man gives them the sign of the mockingjay (a cross-breed between the real mockingbird and a mutated jabberjay) and the old man gets killed at the platform, for everyone to see.

Here’s the link to the official trailer: http://youtu.be/jyPnQw_Lqds

Katniss sparked small uprisings in different districts. Some, quelled by the peacemakers, some, not. Even some of the key players in the capitol became a part of what is to be called-the revolution. It is ever so familiar, that if you want freedom and independence, you must go through a revolution, and, along with it. Lives may be lost.

Catching Fire Main Characers: Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Cinna and Effie

Catching Fire Main Characers: Katniss, Haymitch, Cinna and Effie

In the 3rd quarter quell (this year being the 75th), the rules are altered a bit and President Snow then announces that the next players will be drawn from a reaping that includes only the districts’ previous victors. And since Katniss is the only female victor from 12, she is automatically part of the Game. Goodbye to a future with Gale. And this time, since she’s fighting off experienced victors, she might as well not come back alive.

A wedding that never happened? Catching Fire

A wedding that never happened? Catching Fire

Haymitch’s name is drawn but Peeta quickly volunteers to be with Katniss. Katniss’ goal is to bring Peeta alive, and Peeta’s goal is for Katniss to go home and be able to build a family with Gale, who now works at the mines. Gale, whose life is under threat if Katniss doesn’t play the star-crossed lover, and fiancee of Peeta (yes, they got engaged). Gale, who took at least 40 lashings for hunting a turkey. Gale, who wants to be a part of the revolution.

Catching Fire: Katniss and Gale

Catching Fire: Katniss and Gale

The Game itself only started about two thirds into the book. This time, Katniss isn’t in it alone. Part of the strategy was to build alliances to stay alive longer. She reluctantly agrees as she keeps Rue, her mother, Prim (her sister), Gale, Haymitch and Peeta in mind.

The Presentation of District 12

The Presentation of District 12

She then forms alliances with Finnick, a handsome trident-wielding guy and Mags, an 80-year old volunteer, both from District 4. Wiress and Beetee from District 3, and the unlikely bitchy Johanna Mason from District 7. The arena itself has been remodeled, now a dome with much more saltwater than the previous arena, seemingly a message to Katniss from President Snow saying: This is no place for a girl on fire.

Girl on Fire

Girl on Fire

Meanwhile, talks of the existence of a District 13 help spark the plug to this rebellion. There is hope in Katniss, there is a stirring of the spirit in the way Peeta transforms his words, and there is deliverance in the existence of a place not controlled by The Capitol. A district that used to manufacture nuclear bombs. A district that no one ever talks about.

One night in the arena, as Peeta and Katniss take their turns as guard as the rest of the alliance sleep, Peeta shows her his Mockingjay locket. On one side is Katniss’ mother and sister, and on the other, Gale. Peeta tries to convince Katniss that she should be the victor. That she should go home where she is needed. As for him, had he emerged victorious, his life would have been useless because he would have lost her. And they kiss. This time, it was not for the camera. Katniss kissed him back with emotions.

Peeta and Katniss Kiss

Peeta and Katniss Kiss

And then the killings resumed and the canons continued to fire as a sign that they’re in the hunger games and not in a movie.

And then the twist reveals itself in the end.

And it makes me want to start reading the last book…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Photos courtesy of: fanpop.com

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