Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins: Reactions

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest that she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. Katniss is about to be tested as never before.


Like The Hunger Games, I’m not sure what I can say about this book that hasn’t already been said, so I’m going to provide my reactions, as they happened. I’m reading the series with a crew who has already read the original series and we’re discussing the books on Discord. Here were my reactions as I read Catching Fire:

Now “star-crossed lovers” means arranged marriage. Fantastic. I don’t know how other people felt about Katniss and Peeta as a couple, but I am NOT shipping them. I don’t think I would ship Katniss and Gale, either, though. If I had to choose, I think Katniss and Gale would make the better couple, but I fully support Katniss’ decision to never get married or have children. The thought is there that her kid(s) would end up in the Games, probably through a rigged drawing, and that would suck (and even if that weren’t an issue, I still support her decision to not have kids). Also, I’m still not Katniss’ #1 fan, so…

Okay, sj and I were talking about this…the travel path of the Victory Tour doesn’t make sense at all. Why don’t they go from East to West instead of in reverse numerical order? Thinking about what the map must look like based on what each district produces, that travel path is ridiculous. They have to criss-cross and backtrack, and what a waste of time.

What is up with the smell of blood on President Snow’s breath? Ew. I’m already grossed out by him because of his love of roses (they remind me of funerals and they STINK), so the fact that he smells like roses AND blood is doubly gross to me. BLECH.

Aw, Peeta’s apology…he is definitely a better person (in general) than Katniss.

Who determines the level of security for each district, and how is it determined? District 12’s security is pretty lax (so far), but District 11’s security is out of control. Does it have something to do with how many people are in each district? Or past issues in each district?


So relevant right now:

“Well, I’ve learned one thing today. This place is not a larger version of District 12. Our fence is unguarded and rarely charged. Our Peacekeepers are unwelcome but less brutal. Our hardships evoke more fatigue than fury. Here in 11, they suffer more acutely and feel more desperation. President Snow is right. A spark could be enough to set them ablaze.”

Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire


And there it is. Arenas are built specially for the Games, and they are planned and started years in advance so they’ll be ready on time. While I don’t like what they’re used for, it would be pretty cool to be involved in planning and building a (more kind) terraforming project.

Katniss’ character annoys me when it comes to how intuitive she is(n’t). I know I’m on the outside looking in, but she is so clueless about so many obvious things. In this case, why doesn’t she understand that Plutarch Heavensbee is showing his support of her with his Mockingjay watch?! DUH, KATNISS. There are other examples, but I didn’t make notes of them. But THEN she’ll come out with some super intelligent, critical analysis about something more complicated and it feels very contradictory to her usual cluelessness.

Also very relevant:

“Below them, there’s a mob scene. The square’s packed with screaming people, their faces hidden with rags and homemade masks, throwing bricks. Buildings burn. Peacekeepers shoot into the crowd, killing at random.”

Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire


I’ve been wondering about District 13 and whether or not it’s actually still unsafe to be there. I keep thinking about The Penultimate Truth by Philip K. Dick and how that government was using the same video feed over and over, making their citizens think that it was still unsafe on the surface.

And OF COURSE they’re going back into the Games. Of course. I saw that coming. Not being able to say goodbye to their friends and family this time is AWFUL. Ugh.

Peeta is starting to grow on me. I was a little annoyed with him in the first book, but I’m liking him much more now. See? It is possible to be a kid in the Games and not be totally selfish about your survival.

That Capitol food, though. I still want a bacon cheeseburger or some pizza.

Why are people who have gone through trauma forced to make the people around them feel better about it or more comfortable with it? This prep team is pissing me off. Ugh.

…and that’s where my noted thoughts ended. I didn’t feel like stopping to take notes once the main action started. The Games happened. Katniss and Peeta survived again. I’m still not shipping them.

My reactions to Mockingjay will be up tomorrow.