It’s true. I’m infected with The Hunger Games Fever. Symptoms include: staying awake all night reading, reading instead of showering, and letting the television gather dust due to inactivity.
The nice thing about reading an older book series is instant gratification. No waiting for the next book to come out. Since the first one ended with a pretty big cliffhanger, it was nice to just immediately pick up the next book.
Now, I don’t know how to talk about the second book, Catching Fire, without giving a lot away about the first book. So stop reading if you don’t want spoilers. I repeat: SPOILER ALERT.
Catching Fire picks up shortly after the Hunger Games ended. Katniss and Peeta are back home in District 12 and living in new homes in the Victors’ Village. While they no longer have to worry about where they are going to get their next meal, they are haunted by nightmares of the games. Plus, President Snow is pissed at Katniss for what he viewed as her rebellion against The Capitol in the games. And this dude is creepy and mean.
Things are strained between Peeta and Katniss as well, so things pretty much suck all around. Now they have to go on tour of the other districts and talk about the games, do a little dog and pony show. It makes for a nice recap of the key players in the game and also gives us some insight into how the other districts work.
Katniss unwittingly finds herself at the center of some political unrest. The oppressed people of Panem view her as a strong figure of revolution and change, a dangerous position to be in. Her mockingjay pin (featured on the cover of both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire) becomes an underground symbol of those joining the resistance. The mockingjay is a symbolic bird throughout all three novels, and is a hybrid species from mockingbirds and jabberjays. They have the ability to repeat any tune, and in that way can be used to carry messages.
We expect Katniss and Peeta to mentor the newest tributes for the next year’s Hunger Games, but there is a horrible twist that I will not reveal. I’ll just say that we see another round of games and they are much different than in the first book.
A lot of new characters are introduced and the teen romance is not as prevalent in Catching Fire, which I appreciated. I thought the second book was more interesting and just as exciting as the first. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.