Author: Suzanne Collins
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by the defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their familes a life of safety and plenty. But their 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.
Catching Fire picks up right after Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games. It begins with Katniss describing her new life as a victor, right before she and Peeta must make a tour of all the districts as the winners of the Games. Katniss receives a surprise visit from President Snow, who basically tells her that not only did she make a fool of the Capitol, she has inadvertently triggered the beginnings of a rebellion. President Snow makes it clear that if she doesn't make an effort to clean up her mess, he'll have no choice but to snuff out whomever necessary. The threat is directed primarily at Katniss, but she knows that her loved ones are also at risk.
Sure enough, flashes of an uprising begin to surface in all the districts and eventually, Katniss and Peeta end up participating in the Quarter Quell--a special Games for the 75th year, if you will--and are tasked once again to put on an act (This time Katniss and Peeta are getting married AND there's a pregnancy--but not really *rolls eyes*) in order to survive. President Snow wants to squash any hopes of a rebellion by killing off the strongest of the denizens of all twelve districts, aka, the previous victors of the Hunger Games.
I guess I'll begin with the things I didn't like...In my opinion, Katniss is fairly mature in the first book of the Hunger Games, but in this one she just seems like a big whiner. Perhaps, she should be entitled to whining, granted all she's been through, but its still annoying to read. I still feel her love for Peeta is insincere, and I'm pretty sure she states this in the book, in her own confused, whiny kind-of-way; so I don't know why she seems all torn between Peeta and Gale. Choose Gale dummy! She eventually does...I think? Anyways, I'm completely over this love triangle.
There are many things I did like. I mean, who doesn't love a good rebellion story? The secret/not-so-secret symbol of a mockingjay representing the rebellion is cool. I also like that the victors worked together to literally break out of the Games. Oddly enough, I didn't see it coming. I also appreciated that the Games seemed more cerebral...yes, they still have to kill each other like savages, but the arena timed like a clock, with different times of terror, and them having to figure it out was pretty cool. I'll be interested to see how they remake the events in the arena in the movie. I also like the fact that District 13 is now a mystical location, or possibly something like a safe haven or headquarters for the subversives. The end of the first book, left me a little blah because I wasn't sure what the second book would be about other than putting Katniss back into the arena. But I'm more intrigued with the ending of this book. Overall, I think Catching Fire is a good intermediary, and I'm definitely curious about how this all ends. Honestly, being the pessimist I am, I get the feeling a lot of main characters are going to die...and I might even go as far as to say that the rebellion might fail. But I'm probably wrong, and it could go the other way; Katniss will somehow end up being the new president of District 13 (which would be comprised of what's left of all districts, but unified) where all is well.