Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Audio Review: Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins

Spoiler warning! Catching Fire is the 2nd book in The Hunger Games trilogy and this review will contain spoilers from the first book. You have been warned! If you haven't read The Hunger Games then you can read my review of the audio here and my review of the paperback here. 

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Author: Suzanne Collins. Website
Narrator: Carolyn McCormick. IMDB
Published: 1 September 2009 (Scholastic)
Format: Audio download
Running time: 11 hours, 41 minutes (unabridged)
Audible: Audio download 
Amazon: CD
Waterstone's: Audio download
Book Depository: CD

Source: Borrowed from e-library

Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Katniss Everdeen survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are still alive. Katniss should be relieved, but now there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol -- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped crate.

As the nation watches Katniss and Peeta, the stakes are higher than ever. One false move and the consequences will be unimaginable

Audio Review:
I recently listened to the first book on audio so had to follow it up once Catching Fire became available! Picking up where THG left off, Katniss and Peeta must do a victory tour of the other districts, but it quickly becomes apparent that the mood across Panem has shifted considerably, and Katniss and Peeta find themselves in danger and under the increasing glare of President Snow.

I've read this book before so re-reading it by listening to it really gave me a new perspective. The first huge advantage I had is that where I raced through the paperback, listening to it gave me the chance to really savour every moment. Caroline McCormick reads at a gentle pace, which means you don't miss a thing. Even though parts of the book can be action packed, you really get the full experience by listening to every detail. There were plenty of things I missed first time round that the audio really helped me reflect upon.

As with the first book, I liked the narration for the most part. I liked the range of voices and the emotions the narrator could get across. It still had pauses in a few places, but overall it was enjoyable. I had a few niggles with pronunciation - the word "ugh" came up a lot and was pronounced "ugg" which just sounded wrong to me.

I've got used to hearing Katniss' inner monologue read aloud now. I think in this book, where there's so much focus on her thoughts and fears, it was even more effective at getting across just how scared she was.Within Catching Fire Katniss has a lot of questioning of herself to do and that really worked hearing it read aloud. My heart was racing as I feared for her (even though I know what happens!) and I was completely addicted.

I think purely to make sure you don't miss anything, the audio is definitely work checking out if you haven't already.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5

Plot Review: 
First time around, Catching Fire was my favourite book in the trilogy and getting to listen to the story over again reminded me why. I was worried when I started it the last time that it would maybe become a little repetitive, but I was reminded just how different the book felt.

The first half of this book takes on a more gentle pace. It really focuses on the unease across the country and the fear of not knowing exactly what is happening. The brutality of President Snow's regime is highlighted as we see things get even worse for the people in the districts, and Katniss becomes somewhat of a focus of attention. I really liked the mood and atmosphere that Collins created throughout this first half. Whilst there isn't a lot of action, there's a lot of things happening that pull at the heartstrings and really make you fear for the main characters. And there's always this looming fear that something huge could happen at any moment - then it does.

The characters are just as much of a strong point in this book. I liked that we get to see more of Katniss' relationship with Gale as well as exploring the issues her relationship with Peeta is creating. It's definitely not a love triangle type of situation, because Katniss is the kind of character that, in her situation, thinks with her head. She has to be conscious of what will happen to those around her with every decision she makes, which means sometimes she puts herself last. I think there were some really touching moments, whichever male character you personally prefer.

If you haven't read this book before then I'd hate to spoil the twist so I won't! But what I will say is that there are a lot of new characters to get your teeth into and plenty of action for those who loved those parts of The Hunger Games. Where I feared the book would get repetitive, it absolutely blew me away with the fresh, imaginative ideas.

The climax of this book is what really males it. Everything seems to happen so suddenly that it's impossible to stop. It leaves so much to be explained and explored in the final installment and some of the twists are truly mind blowing. A really powerful, addictive read.

Rating: 5/5
What to listen to next: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Books like this: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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