To start off, I like Catching Fire less than I like The Hunger Games. THG has a freshness to it that was rather enjoyable. CF, on the other hand, seems like a combination of so many other books that I have read. Reading this book brought back many memories of reading Germinal and 1984. This is not to say that Catching Fire is not a good read, because it is. I have a much deeper attachment to all of the characters, even the new ones.
CF seems to move from the themes of revenge and survival to the theme of trust. Though this was a motif in THG, it was not as overarching. The idea of trust completely envelopes this book from start to end. In both horrifying and reassuring ways, Collins really cuts to the heart of what it means to trust. Compassion and pity do not always come from the trusting, but usually in spite of it. The main character, Katniss, understandably has trust issues. And these issues run to the core of who she is as a person.
This is what makes this book so wonderful for me. Even though many cover their feelings and emotions, I believe that many of us feel as if our identity is completely tied up into a few things that are vulnerable. If those things were taken away or destroyed, it is very difficult to grasp who we are as individuals. And I believe this is what undergirds the theme of trust in this book. Who or what we put our trust in makes up our identity. Some of the things we choose to trust while other things we trust because of the various communities of which we participate. The latter we rarely question unless an anomaly comes into our life.
Maybe that is why CF is so compelling. Our world has changed so much in the past decade. The things we used to put our trust in have failed us, but we hesitate to change because trust in something that no longer exists still feels safer than trust in what we do not know.