Catching Fire--Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is first, but not only, a more-than-capable sequel to Hunger Games. It is written in the same taut, no-nonsense style as the first and clips along at only a slightly slower pace--and slightly slower is right for the things Ms. Collins wants to continue to explore--violence and the roots of violence, society and when you must accept its mores if not its morals, identity and loss, and other kindred topics. The most important point I want to make is that although Ms. Collins seems to be as popular as Stephanie Meyers, she is by no means in the same class with her and their close association on many fan sites does a bit of injustice to Ms. Collins, who is a most capable writer.

I start to read one of her books and have a hard time putting it down, for sleep, for miles, for driving, to and from places. I can't explain what the attraction is.  Perhaps you are so engaged with the characters it is hard to part from them--you are so wrapped up in their dilemmas and problems (Katniss has two boyfriends, neither of whom she wants to hurt and both of whom are critical to different aspects of her life.)

This story concerns the "Victory Tour" that occurs after winning the Hunger Games.  Neither Katniss nor Peeta feel much like being cheered as victors, most particularly by those districts whose tributes they had a direct hand in the death of.  When they visit the district of Rue, one of the original Tributes, things begin to go awry and the people of the district pay her a remarkable tribute.

This year's hunger games are special they it's the seventy-fifth year and time for the Quarterly Quell, a particularly savage and vicious thrust at the districts by Capital City.

And further the deponent sayeth not lest some of my readers have been persuaded to pick the series up.  Really, I've read nothing that is as nearly as compelling since The Dark Is Rising series some time back.  Suzanne Collins handles difficult material deftly and she makes a stories written for young adults meaningful and powerful to adults.  Make no mistake these books are strong meat, but they talk about important issues--issues that affect both young adults and adults.

Get these and enjoy them, and after you've read them share them with children who you feel are up to them.  Highly recommended *****

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