Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins | Chapter Breakdown Review with Spoilers

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Are we ready for another review breakdown in The Hunger Games trilogy? If you haven’t read my review summary for The Hunger Games, then I suggest you do so! Unless you just want a little fresher up in this second installment! I personally do not think that Catching Fire holds up as well as book one, but I still loved it a lot, and I’m very impressed with it, even in 2020. For some strange reason, I didn’t love the parts of the game in this book, but I loved the buildup, and the capitol, and the meeting of new characters (be still, my Finnick Odair heart). Ah, lets get into it before I start to gush! Also, again, this review will have spoilers, so use caution if you don’t want me to tell you what happens in each chapter of this book!

➽ Chapter One:
I love it when a tale starts out with the sipping of tea. Katniss and Peeta are both home and they both are remembering everything that they were forced to endure during the games. It has been a year already, and they are getting ready for (gosh this feels like a bad word, but…) celebration. We also get to see Gale, who is incredibly stubborn and works in the mines most of the time now and refuses to take any of Katniss’s winning fortune. Yet, this is the real start of the Gale versus Peeta love triangle for me. And I’m not the only one who notices, because President Snow soon comes and lets Katniss know he is brewing is own pot of tea.

➽ Chapter Two:
Snow proceeds to threaten Gale’s life and tells Katniss that she needs to make everyone (including himself) believe in the love between Peeta and her. And he also lets her know that they have a whole tour of all the districts, filled with opportunities to prove themselves and their love for one another.

➽ Chapter Three:
This year will be the 75th games, and that is especially important because it means it is a Quarter Quell! Which essentially means they have an even more wild game every 25 years. And during the last one? Haymitch was the winner. Katniss is suffering from extreme PTSD from everything she was forced to endure, and she keeps seeing Rue and it’s haunting her. She is also quickly realizing that she is going to be forced to keep convincing the world of her love for Peeta forever, because they will always be in the spotlight for the rest of their lives. Oh, and Peeta has an artificial leg now, and it makes me wish so desperately that they included that representation into the movies!

➽ Chapter Four:
Katniss feels like she is going to have to eventually marry Peeta, and again it is just giving her added pressure and stress on top of everything else that is to come. This is also the iconic favorite colors (green and orange) scene and I love it a lot, honestly. But Peeta and Katniss make their way to district 11 and they make their speeches to the people. And during Peeta’s speech he promises to give Rue’s family part of their earnings forever. After that grand gesture, an old man makes the whistle sound that Rue and Katniss made in the games, and he is promptly killed.

➽ Chapter Five:
After the heartbreaking end of that visit, Katniss promises to always keep Peeta in the loop with everything, and she lets him know about what Snow has said to her. Katniss and Peeta cuddle each night and try to protect themselves from the nightmares, while they go on their full tour to all the districts while being engaged.

➽ Chapter Six:
I’ll be honest, I had forgotten about the throw up drinks that the Capitol uses to take bites of all the food that they can’t possibly eat with their normal digesting stomach alone! I really liked this chapter, because it felt like Katniss and Peeta are able to slip into this world of winning for mere moments, when they are just abruptly forced to see these privileged people who don’t have a care in the world, while they remember how hungry and cold they had to grow up in district 12. Speaking of district 12, that is where they are going to end their tour, but Katniss finds her way into the mayor’s house where she secretly finds out that district 8 is uprising.

➽ Chapter Seven:
Katniss was going to run away with Gale, and he was all like “I love you” and Katniss was just like *microwave noises* a bit and it sent me, truly. But after that, Gale gets whipped and I felt really bad.

➽ Chapter Eight:
Katniss gets hit in the face while trying to get to Gale, but he gets medicine and stiches and is healing up as best as he can. Yet, they obviously are not going to run away any longer.

➽ Chapter Nine:
Peeta and Katniss’s marriage is going to be soon. And Katniss starts to really believe that maybe an uprising can spark a revolution.

➽ Chapter Ten:
In this chapter we get to learn about district 13, and how it was supposedly bombed and completely taken out. But we also learn about a conspiracy theory that they people are somewhere safe and waiting.

➽ Chapter Eleven:
Katniss is trapped by an electric fence and hurts herself returning home. She also learns that they are hiding something in district 8 and showing the same television clip over and over.

➽ Chapter Twelve:
Many districts start rebelling, and then the truly shocking twist of the special 75th games is announced: the victors of previous years will go back in to fight. Reminder that Katniss is the only girl who can go back, and Peeta and Haymitch are the only two boys.

➽ Chapter Thirteen:
Katniss and Haymitch get very drunk together. And then Haymitch is picked, and Peeta volunteers to take his place like the good boy he always is.

“The odds are never in our favour”

➽ Chapter Fourteen:
Peeta and Katniss watch Haymitch’s competition and see how he outsmarted the game with the force field that held them inside.

“He offered me sugar and wanted to know all my secrets”

➽ Chapter Fifteen:
Finnick Odair!!! We get to really start to begin to see the sad truth of what it means to be a victor in the games. Finnick and Katniss meet for the first time, and its so heartbreaking and heartwarming in the same exact instant.

➽ Chapter Sixteen:
We get to see a tiny bit more of Snow’s cruelty with the servant who is assigned to Katniss at a dinner. But Katniss and Peeta are meeting people and practicing their skills and abilities. Peeta, as always, is such a people person, who everyone loves, but Katniss just cannot bear getting close to anyone again. Even though her and Peeta put on very heartbreaking and memorable acts at the end of this chapter.

“I have to kill them all to save Peeta”

➽ Chapter Seventeen:
Peeta tells Katniss about his painting for Rue (I didn’t talk about this earlier, but I love how Peeta paints to heal some of his pain and trauma, while also remembering the story of what happened to them). Then Katniss and Peeta have a rooftop picnic where they just spend the whole entire day together. This is truly one of my favorite chapters, and just the calm before the storm. Or the calm before Katniss puts on the mockingjay outfit that Cinna has made for her.

➽ Chapter Eighteen:
We get to see Caesar again, and Katniss and Peeta have an interview with him. Then… the most heartbreaking part of this entire book happens, and while Katniss is in the tube to go up to the game, she is forced to watch Cinna be beat and killed before her. I truly wonder if Cinna knew what would be his fate, when he made that dress and when he unapologetically believed in Katniss with a love so strong that it was his end.

“Remember, girl on fire […] I’m still betting on you.”

➽ Chapter Nineteen:
It is the start of the games and Katniss is supposed to be pretending like she is pregnant, but she can hardly even see what is going on after the events that she was just forced to witness.

➽ Chapter Twenty:
Katniss, Finnick, Mags (who I said I would pay better attention too, because of the prequel, but honestly I didn’t and I feel a bit bad), and Peeta try to get away. Katniss believes Peeta to be dead. And then she believes Finnick to be kissing him, until she realizes he is saving him. Yet, that doesn’t stop the other tributes from dying all around them.

➽ Chapter Twenty-One:
They are still running away, but they soon realize that this game is unlike any other. Katniss and Finnick are forced to carry the other two, until the weight is too much to bear, and the deadly fog is creeping closer and closer. Mags understands the severity of the situation and throws herself into it, in hopes that the others will get away, safely.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Two:
Oh! And killer monkeys were in the last chapter too, because again, this year’s games is wild as all hell! But the three of them are still retreating when they stumble across another small group of Johanna, Beetee, and Wiress. You know, I haven’t talked about Johanna Mason in this review yet, but oh my word do I love her character and how she always keeps you guessing. But they are all somewhat injured (some worse than others), but Wiress keeps saying the famous like “Tick, tock. Tick, tock” which they have no idea what that means… yet.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Three:
Okay, it is “yet” and Katniss figured out it’s a clock all on her own. Basically, the map is one big clock and each hour some deadly force happens. And Katniss now believes she is hearing Prim.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Four:
She soon realizes it is a jabberjay, and she also learned seven of the hours so far! Also…. This is really sad foreshadowing of what is to come in Mockingjay and I gasped a little bit, truly. Oh, and Peeta is being really sweet and romantic to Katniss, because he refuses to let her sacrifice herself for him.

“You’re my whole life.”

➽ Chapter Twenty-Five:
They are trying to survive the best that they can, and Peeta gives her a pearl for luck, and Katniss is just so sure that she is going to die.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Six:
That is, until she makes the connection with this mysterious lightning tree, where she is able to also hit the game dome and break everything she knows and doesn’t know yet. And this time Katniss is positive that she is going to die.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Seven:
Yet, she wakes up in a hospital, not understand anything. She heartbreakingly finds out that people knew and were part of a rebellion plan the whole game and used her without her consent or knowledge. And they chose to save Katniss, and not Peeta, because she is a symbol, even though she never asked to be one. Katniss feels so betrayed and helpless. And then the book ends with her finding out that district 12 has been firebombed and is gone.

4

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Trigger and Content Warnings for talk of loss of a parent, animal death(s), abandonment, depression, PTSD depiction, blood depiction, alcoholism, gore, violence, murder, talk of suicidal thoughts, talk of death in the past.

Buddy read with Lea! ❤

 

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins | Chapter Breakdown Review with Spoilers

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Hello, I am back again with another breakdown review while I relearn how to write reviews. But basically the TL;DR of this review is that The Hunger Games truly holds up so well in 2020, and this reread was such a treat. I felt such nostalgia, happiness, and hope between these pages, and I already can’t wait to revisit this story again. Also, again, this review will have spoilers, so use caution if you don’t want me to tell you what happens in each chapter of this book!

“How could I leave Prim, who is the only person in the world I’m certain I love?”

➽ Chapter One:
This first chapter really starts off with a heartbreaking bang. We quickly learn so many characters, but we even more quickly learn what type of character Katniss Everdeen is. The basic premise of this tale is that there are twelve districts and once a year each district will select two young candidates to fight to the death in a game, which will also be broadcasted for the world to see. Every year, a teenagers name gets added once to this random selection pool, but each year they get older another time their name gets added. Also, you can add your name more times to get food and supplies for your family, and this is very much the norm for most children. Katniss’s sister, Prim, only has her name in the drawing once because it is her first time, where Katniss has her name added over twenty times. Yet, you see where this is going…

➽ Chapter Two:
Once Prim’s name is pulled, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place in the games. Meanwhile, the boy contestant is Peeta Mellark, who Katniss remembers giving her bread when her family was starving after the death of their father. Together, they are thrown into a competition that no one believes they will be able to come back alive. Especially since only one victor is allowed, therefore one of them will most certainly have to die.

➽ Chapter Three:
Katniss is given her iconic mockingjay pin that will literally change the world as she knows it.

➽ Chapter Four:
Haymitch punches Peeta to make him look rougher, lol. The journey Haymitch is about to take alongside these two kids as their mentor, whew.

➽ Chapter Five:
Cinna (my favorite character), makes Katniss a fire dress in which the world has never seen, and will be the first time the world finds it extremely hard to forget her or her name. Also, unknown to Katniss, a start of a public romance is brewing with Peeta to help their image. We also get to meet President Snow and start to get a vibe of all the evil things he has been stirring up for some time now.

➽ Chapter Six:
Katniss and Peeta make it to the training center and they start to learn about the other candidates from the other districts. We also get to learn about the different privileges of the other districts, and how some of these candidates view this as an honor to volunteer their life for (without needing to save a little sister). We also get to see Rue, and it’s really hard to not feel like you want to reach into the pages and protect her yourself.

➽ Chapter Seven:
Katniss makes quite the impression with an arrow and an apple, that many important people of the Capitol find very hard to ignore.

➽ Chapter Eight:
This is the start of the Peeta versus Gale debate, and the brewing of a very opinionated love-triangle. For me, personally, I always think it’s obvious in Katniss’s inner monologue that she only likes Peeta, but I digress.

➽ Chapter Nine:
We get to meet Caesar Flickerman and see Katniss and Peeta’s vastly different interviews with him. Peeta is coached to very much play the star-crossed lovers card, and he even tells Caesar that he loves Katniss more than anything.

➽ Chapter Ten:
This is the start of Part 2, where they games are finally going to begin. And Cinna says my favorite line in the entire series to Katniss. So simple, so beautiful, so heartbreaking.

“I’m not allowed to bet, but if I could, I’d bet on you.”

➽ Chapter Eleven:
The twenty-four tributes are entering the game, and in the middle is a cornucopia filled with weapons and supplies… if you are brave enough to make a run for them. Peeta distracts her at the very start of the game, so Katniss doesn’t go for the bow. And we quickly see that people are starting to form groups to take out some of the weaker players.

➽ Chapter Twelve:
Katniss is proving that she will do whatever it takes to survive.

➽ Chapter Thirteen:
Katniss is still up in a tree, surviving, when she sees Rue and they form a silent plan together.

➽ Chapter Fourteen:
She does get the medicine she needs from someone out there watching her in the world, who is rooting for her and her life. After with the help of some killer, engineered wasps… she is able to get down from this tree and gets a bow.

➽ Chapter Fifteen:
Katniss teams up with Rue, while they come up with a big plan to make it a little harder for the districts teaming up with all the supplies.

➽ Chapter Sixteen:
Yeah, Katniss blows up the whole cornucopia.

➽ Chapter Seventeen:
Yet, while Katniss and Rue are trying to meet up again with their mockingjay signals, Rue gets killed by a spear. Katniss sings to her, and realizes that nothing will be the same in her life again, no matter how long she has left.

➽ Chapter Eighteen:
Katniss is trying to deal with the hurt and pain and loss as best as she can, but she also is very hard of hearing in one of her ears now. And she also knows that Peeta has been wounded and is missing.

➽ Chapter Nineteen:
But beyond all else, Katniss is a tracker and a hunter, and she quickly looks for Peeta at a water source and finds him. They also share a kiss when they find shelter, and she vows that she is not going to let him die.

➽ Chapter Twenty:
This chapter has some beautiful foreshadowing of giving Peeta some berries.

➽ Chapter Twenty-One:
Basically, at this point, each contestant needs a certain supply very badly, so they place the things they need back in the middle of the map, and Katniss goes to retrieve theirs. She does get very injured in the process but makes it back to heal him. Thresh helped Katniss because of what she did for Rue.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Two:
Peeta takes care of Katniss and they get more care-packages because they are now the Capitol’s OTP and everyone is rooting for them and their romance.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Three:
Thresh dies, and it breaks my heart every time because I highkey always root for him too. District 11 just deserved better. Cato is still alive, still the biggest threat, and still hella annoying. And then we have some more berry foreshadowing when a girl dies eating some.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Four:
Now that there are only three people left (Katniss, Peeta, and Cato) the game makers want them to finally put an end to the 74th Hunger Games once and for all. Kato runs at them, while wolves start running after them.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Five:
And we quickly find out that the wolves are none other than the people who died in the games. Well, I think at least. They for sure have the tributes eyes, and it just makes it extra freaky. But basically, after some fighting and some monologues, Kato is dying to the wolves slowly, but Katniss puts him out of his misery. They were promised earlier that if Katniss and Peeta were the final two of the game that they could both win and live, but now the game makers are trying to change that game right before them. And since they are saying there can only be one victor, Katniss takes a risk with those beloved berries and her an Peeta threaten suicide before all the people watching from the comfort of their own homes.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Six:
But because they need a winner, they decide two is better than none, so they both are able to live. Katniss wakes up in a hospital where her body is healing and she is able to hear out of her one ear again. She gets to see Cinna, and believe that maybe their lives will be normal again. But Katniss quickly realizes that the Capitol is terribly upset that she played with them, and they are not going to ignore her actions in the game.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Seven:
Katniss gets to see Peeta again, and they are forced to watch all the deaths that happened in the game during their winner’s interview. They both have taken so much damage physically and mentally, and they know that Snow is not through hurting them, or the people they love, by a longshot.

5

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Trigger and Content Warnings for loss of a parent, animal death(s), abandonment, depression, PTSD depiction, blood depiction, alcoholism, gore, violence, and murder.

Buddy read with Lea & Johely! ❤

The Book of Etta (The Road to Nowhere #2) by Meg Elison

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ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Book of the Unnamed Midwife ★★★★★

“The Unnamed Midwife had been a founder in Nowhere. She had been from the old world, a trained nurse and Midwife who had lived through the dying and seen how it all came down. She had left behind her journals, which told the whole story—her own as well as the world’s. It was known by every man, woman, and child in Nowhere. They kept their own journals as a way to carry on her work.”

I read over one-hundred books in 2016, but the predecessor to this book, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, was my favorite of them all. And even though that’s one of the most powerful books I’ve still ever read in my entire life, it’s also one of the heaviest books I’ve ever read. So, I’ve been putting off this second installment for far too long. But, friends, I finally picked it up and I’m so happy that I did. But again, as much as this book was also powerful, it’s also so very heartbreaking.

In The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, 98% of Earth’s population of men and 99% of Earth’s population of women have died from an autoimmune disease. Even though most of the Earth’s population was wiped out, the ratio of men to women is immense. And even in the future from the initial outbreak, women are still the most sought-after thing. In this second installment, the timeline is many generations in the future (approximately one-hundred-years), but we get to the community that the unnamed midwife helped build. This current community has adapted so many of the things that we saw in The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, and we get to see that not a lot has changed in this post-apocalyptic world.

“I’m Eddy on the road, and I’m Etta at home. I’m both.”

And we follow Etta when she is with her community, Nowhere, and we follow Eddy when he is scavenging outside of his community. I am going to use they/them pronouns for the rest of this review, but I believe our main character is nonbinary and genderfluid, even though those words are never used on page. This entire book really puts gender at the front of this story, because Etta/Eddy doesn’t want to be what is expected of a woman in this world. They don’t want to become a mother, they don’t want to raise children, and they do not want to deliver babies. They want to hunt, and forage, and rescue girls that aren’t even given a choice in this new and cruel world. Also, Etta/Eddy is black and also sees how racism hasn’t ceased, even with the world almost ending.

“Boys can be anything. Girls can only be one thing.”

We also are introduced to a transwoman in this book who becomes such a pivotal character. Flora completely made my heart break in this book, but she was also such a bright beacon of hope. She honestly deserves the entire world, and she better be given it in the final book, The Book of Flora.

But we get to see Etta/Eddy travel to different communities from their own and see how the different groups and people live and prosper. Some treat women lower than currency, some treat them like mystical saints, but we get to see all the in-betweens, too. Etta/Eddy meets Flora rather quickly, and they soon travel together to the worst city Etta/Eddy may have seen yet. When they reach the stronghold of the Lion, they aren’t entirely sure what to expect. But even their nightmares wouldn’t prepare them for what this tyrant ruler is truly like.

This is a very dark and heavy book. Please use caution before reading and make sure you are in a safe headspace. Major content and trigger warnings for rape, sexual assault, genital mutilation, pedophilia, sex trafficking, slavery, murder, death, loss of a loved one, miscarrying, torture, misgendering, racist comments, misogynistic comments, abduction, captivity, violence, animal death, and war themes.

“On the map, all the roads led to Estiel.”

Overall, Meg Elison writes the queer, feminist, inclusionary literature of my heart. This book is important, and powerful, and empowering. It’s hard, and brutal, and heartbreaking, but I promise it is so rewarding. The reason I am giving it four stars is because the ending felt rushed to me. And even though I loved this entire ending with the soul of my being, it just happened in the blink of an eye. Yet, I am so excited to see where the next book picks up, because I am sort of obsessed with their location! But friends, if you are in the right headspace, please give The Book of the Unnamed Midwife a try. It’s truly a masterpiece, and this entire series means more to me than I have words for.


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Buddy read with Jules at JA Ironside! ❤