Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
From the book jacket:
Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mallark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.
Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And that scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.
In the second book of the Hunger Games series Collins once again does a good job of making you feel for and with Katniss. Her fear, confusion, anger, hurt, hopelessness, and her hope. Katniss and her friends are once again thrown into a seemingly impossible situation that I didn’t see coming. And once again Katniss is in turmoil. She is surrounded by people, many of them trying to help, but you know that she feels alone in many ways as she tries to deal with the consequences of her “victory” both to herself and her friends and family. She starts to realize the far reaching effect her actions had in the other districts. She must figure out what is best to do for herself and for the others as she worries that she isn’t strong enough for what she has to do and finds herself in a position that she never wanted to be in. There is again a wonderful cast of characters, some of whom you met in the first book and other new interesting people that are drawn into Katniss’ world. A world that is well drawn so you can feel the tension on the air; the menace of the capital and President Snow; the hope and fear of the people. It is still a hard, harsh world but I think there is more hope in this book when you can imagine something better. There are also moments when you feel like you have figured something out and you are waiting for Katniss to catch up and your sympathy starts to turn to frustration and you have to remind yourself that she is still just a child but they are brief moments and most of the time you truly feel for her. It is a coming of age story, a story about personal growth as well as a story about the districts and their fight against the Capitol. Katniss has many hard choices to make and decisions about what path her life will take as she comes to realize that she can have an impact on so much, when she truly starts to understand that she has become a part of something bigger than she ever could have imagined. The ending was a bit of a let down, sort of anticlimactic. In the last 1 ½ pages you get a curt explanation of all the unexplained things that have been going on. Some of which need further explaining. It did help settle some things so you weren’t left with a lot of loose ends and wondering what had just happened but I hope there is more to come and these things will be gone into in more depth in the next book. If this is all I ever get I think I’ll be disappointed. But still, once again, I am left eager to read the next book and see what happens.