I rate this book: A-
This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and while I didn't find it as captivating as the first one, it was still really good. It just took a little longer to grab me than the first one. I highly recommend this trilogy, because I've already started on the 3rd one, and it has me from chapter one. I've heard the third one is the best of the three. We will see! There is a summary below but unless you have read the first book, don't read the summary! Go to my tags and click on books and read the summary for The Hunger Games. It's good stuff! :)
In The Hunger Games, teenagers Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark emerged as victors of the 74th Hunger Games—a compulsory, nationally broadcast, gladiator-style fight to the death against 22 other teens. However, the fact that both of them emerged as victors is an unprecedented embarrassment to the Capitol, the oppressive regime that rules the nation of Panem and stages the annual Hunger Games. Katniss outsmarted the Capitol by feigning love for Peeta, and—when only the two of them were left alive in the arena—threatening to eat a handful of poisonous berries simultaneously with Peeta, such that both of them would die (think Romeo and Juliet). Unable to stomach no Hunger Games victor, the Capital momentarily buckled and allowed both to win.
Picking up the story in Catching Fire, Katniss’s victory has changed her life. She now lives in a mansion in the “Victor’s Village” of District 12, and has more money than she will ever need: her days of poverty and hunger are over. However, despite her new wealth, all is not well. As a victor, Katniss must now be involved with the violent Hunger Games (which she would rather forget) indefinitely. Most immediately, she must participate in a Victory Tour, visiting the Districts and families of the other Hunger Games contestants—“tributes”—who were killed in the arena, some of them at her hand. Then, she, Peeta, and Haymitch Abernathy—the alcoholic victor of the 50th Hunger Games, who mentored Katniss and Peeta during their time in the arena—will be required to act as mentors to the District 12 tributes at the 75th Hunger Games. That round of the Games has been deemed a “Quarter Quell,” i.e., an especially brutal version of the Games to commemorate its 75th anniversary.
In addition to the distasteful requirement that Katniss continue to be involved in the Hunger Games, she, her family, and her friends are in personal danger. Apparently Katniss’s rebellious act with the berries has stirred the possibility of insurrection in the Districts: if a 16-year-old girl can defy the Capitol and survive, why not entire Districts? President Snow—the cruel dictator of Panem—has personally threatened Katniss that unless she can pacify the Districts on the Victory Tour, she and those close to her will be in danger. The only way for her to obey this order is to continue feigning love for Peeta on the Victory Tour, and thereby to convince the restless Districts that the berries represented desperate love for Peeta and not rebellion. This project is, of course, excruciating since it is sure to further alienate her long-time hunting partner, friend, and would-be suitor Gale Hawthorne.