After reading the first book in a series, I’m always scared to see what the second one will hold. When watching movies, I’m even more scared to spend money on watching the second one. However, Suzanne Collins didn’t let this worry cross my mind. The first book, The Hunger Games, was filled with suspense, surprise, and a love story along side action-packed adventure and obstacles. The second book brought clarity but also left many questions still unanswered.
Consequently both books revolve around Katniss Everdeen and her struggles of adolescence while living in Panem. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire are narrated by Katniss in first person omniscient so the readers know all of her thoughts and feelings. There are many reoccurring themes in the book and sequel involving love, hardships, sacrifice, revolution, identity issues, and warfare. These themes follow Katniss and her friends throughout the story and allow us as readers to experience deeper meanings while reading The Hunger Games series.
One of the main differences between The Hunger Games and Catching Fire is how Katniss evolves as a woman. In the first book she is immature and cynical with an unusual sense of humor. The hardships in her life including the death of her father, the little effort from her mother, and her duty to care for Prim all contribute to her personality and disposition. In the second book, Katniss matures as young woman and realizes her outlook on life must be very different this time around.
Another difference between the first and second book is the plot itself, especially involving the mockingjay. The second book focuses a little less on the Hunger Games but more on the history behind District 13, the Capitol, and the revolution that has taken place in the past. The main characters struggle in this chapter to plan and successfully overcome the Capitol’s harsh ways. The mockinjay turns from a simple pin to a relative symbol of Katniss and her allies. It symbolizes all that she stands for, all that she hopes to do, and all that she fights for in the Hunger Games.
The revolt against the Capitol isn’t the only thing Katniss has to worry about. She also must overcome the 75th annual Hunger Games as she is chosen again along with Peeta. This time the games take place in a clock arena with twelve sections, each known for a different unfortunate event to occur. It takes the tributes much longer to discover the Gamemakers have set this up. This setting makes the second book much more interesting. In the first book, the tributes were placed in woods with natural enemies. This new setting allows the Gamemakers to take a bigger part in the games and create new twists and turns.
Inevitably both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire will be two different books with a similar plot background. However, Catching Fire gives us a new and deeper perspective on the Capitol and the games while answering a lot of unknown questions from the first book. The second book definitely caught my attention and intensified a bigger interest in finishing the series.