I was pleasantly survived with The Hunger Games and eagerly read the second installment. This might have tainted my opinion of the book. If I review several books in a series, I try to review right after I read them, or not read them one after another. I find it hard to look at each novel as its own separate entity without comparing it to the others. Catching Fire, just might be a casualty of how much I enjoyed the first book. I felt that, though the sequel had many good parts, as a whole it was not as compelling as the original.
The book starts with Katniss’ uncomfortable adjustment to life in District 12 as triumphant winners of the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Her relationships are complicated. Peeta, her co champion, avoids her, and her best friend Gale is threatened personally by President Snow. Rumors of rebellions in some of the other districts reach Katniss, further complicating what she needs to do to protect those closest to her. In a dramatic twist, the 75th Hunger Games have a surprise, a reprise of male and female tributes, throwing both Peeta and Katniss in the arena once more. As Katniss struggles to maintain her independence and survive the games once again, her motives become unclear once again. With Peeta by her side, and a resolution to protect him at the cost of her own life, Katniss has to determine who is a friend, and an enemy in a changing political climate.
I have to admit, the lead up to the actual games was a bit boring to me, cringe worthy at times. Collins focuses more on the romantic aspect of Katniss’ relationships and to me, it served as a distraction. I know that tweenage girls everywhere swoon over the love triangle, but to me it just seems forced. There are some bright spots, a visit to Rue’s district and silent efforts at rebellion, but as a whole, I wasn’t invested emotionally until the tributes get to the games. Collins does a wonderful job of creating another equally spectacular and vicious 75th Hunger Games, with another cast of tributes frightening and deadly as the first go round. Unfortunately, the games were only a portion of the book. Lets see what the third book brings.