The Hunger Games #2 // 391 pp. // YA Dystopian // Scholastic Press // Sept. 2009
GOODREADS SUMMARY: Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
After feeling less than amazed by the first book, I was reluctant to continue with the series, but decided to continue on and give Catching Fire a chance anyway. In book two of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss and Peeta have returned home after winning the Hunger Games and being the first duo to ever survive. As a Hunger Game winner, Katniss is moved into a new home in Victors’ Village and given enough food and money to last a lifetime. However, her nightmares aren’t over just yet. Because of her defiance — causing the Capitol to choose both her and Peeta as winners — she must now face the repercussions. Katniss expects death or torture, but what she gets is far worse: being sent to the Games again! This time around, fighting to survive is even more difficult, as Katniss has to go against past winners (young and old alike), and there’s no way she and Peeta will be able to both survive together again. Things are changing, though, and the spark of revolution is slowly kindling, on the verge of a full-blown firestorm. Will she be able to beat death — and the Capitol — a second time?
Catching Fire hooked me a lot more than The Hunger Games. Perhaps it’s because the initial explanations are out of the way or because we get to see more character development in Katniss, Peeta and the other characters — regardless of the reason, I found myself enjoying this book a lot more than the first. The twist of having to return to the Games, while predictable to others, totally threw me for a loop (in a good way) and I was curious as to how it would be portrayed without seeming like a repeat of the first Games. Katniss’ character is tragically complex, and I admired her inner struggle between doing what she thought was right and doing what she had to to survive. Peeta, of course, is still a do-good boy-next-door, whose steadfast loyalty and love for Katniss is at times down right heartbreaking.
Overall, I was glad I decided to continue with the series and give book two a chance. I was not at all disappointed, and the cliffhanger ending was definitely one that made me rush to get book 3 immediately.