The second book in The Hunger Games trilogy is better than the first, in my opinion. I have to admit that when I finished the first book and really, really wanted to read the sequel, I asked myself what Suzanne Collins could possibly do in the sequel. I literally thought, "The obvious thing to do is put Katniss back into the Games, but that would be just a rehash of the first book. "Then I heard from someone who had read the books that that is exactly what happens in book two.I was . . . disappointed, and so didn't get around to reading Catching Fire right away.
I should have had more faith.Yes, Katniss does end up back in the Games, but Suzanne Collins does it in such a way that it totally makes sense--in fact, it sort of HAS to happen this way--and it ISN'T just a rehash of Katniss' first Games. Not even close.
So, the premise is that Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games and have returned home.But their little ploy with the berries has earned them the hatred of President Snow, because it has sparked rebellion in some of the Districts. Snow charges Katniss with the impossible task of convincing the rebels that she wasn't attempting to defy the Capitol with her ploy, merely save the "love of her life" Peeta.
Her attempts fail. In fact, she sparks even further rebellion. Katniss decides she must take her friends and family, including Peeta and Gale, and flee into the wilderness near her home. But before she can carry out her plan, everything in District 12--and everywhere else as well--escalates. Katniss is caught playing politics with President Snow, and the Games themselves become one of the tools used by both sides.
I like politics in my books, which is probably why I feel this book is so much stronger than the first book. (Although I raved about the first book as well.) I had some minor quibbles with the first book, but don't have anything to say bad about this book. It was spectacular. I got caught up in Katniss and her dilemma to the point where I set aside working on my own writing in order to finish the book. All of the emotional pain and actions of the characters here make total sense, and there is no point at which I thought anything was manipulated or "fake" in any way. This is exactly what would happen in such a situation, and Katniss' lack of control of the events because of her situation is perfect.
I would certainly recommend this series to everyone. I moved on to the third book, Mockingjay, immediately. No hesitation this time. I need to see how this story ends.
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