Suzanne Collins, 2009
Premise: Sequel to The Hunger Games. Katniss and Peeta may be done with the Games, but the imapct of their win is still reverberating throughout Panem. Katniss is faced with very real consequences for her family unless she toes the line through their “victory tour”. Of course, nothing goes as planned, and there may be no way to stop the wave once it's started.
I read this one just as quickly as the first book, although it took me a while to pick it up, and then took a while for me to do this write-up. That isn't because I didn't like the book, but I do feel like I have a little less to say about this one, except for explaining how it compares to the first.
I think that Catching Fire does a much better job of making the Capitol a real place where real (privileged) people live. The banquet scene was awesome. Also the other districts make more sense with more context. Not complete sense, there's still the matter of where the endless supply of faceless stormtroopers comes from, who trains them and where, but overall the setting is fleshed out nicely.
I sympathized with Katniss in a different way here. She was much less of a character you would look up to, and more of a human being swept up in events she barely understood. In fact, she was a little bit of a screw-up. And that's okay.
A lot of the new characters are pretty awesome, and most of the returning characters are still great. I still don't care about the romance angle, but I appreciated that it was shoved into the background as things got more serious.
About the “twist” that brings the plot back to the Hunger Games: I liked that much more than I expected to. Although, the whole thing only highlights what a stupid, stupid evil government this is. It really shouldn't be hard to take these guys down in Book Three.
4 Stars – A Very Good Book
Check out Catching Fire on Amazon.com