Catching Fire

Katniss Everdeen is back in Catching Fire, the second novel in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Earlier I hailed the first book, The Hunger Games, because I loved the strong, intelligent, ballsy Katniss, and I could do the same for this one.

After having won the Hunger Games for herself and Peeta by doing a small, smart act of defiance against the Capitol, Katniss returns as a hero in her district and the other districts of Panem. This new hero status has not made her a favorite of the Capitol, partly because her defiance became a catalyst for other districts to rise up against them.

Uprisings against the Capitol are difficult in Panem because the districts are completely secluded from each other. Katniss hears rumors of uprisings, but in an attempt to keep the districts under control, and to punish Katniss, the Capitol sends violent troops to all the districts and states a new rule for this year's Hunger Games – competitors must have been previous Hunger Games champions. Katniss was the only female champion from her district, so back into the fight-to-the-death games she goes.

The games are still unbelievably barbaric. Competitors fighting to the death, while throughout the arena the most outrageous obstacles are in their way, like fog that kills, monkeys that claw, and blood raining from the skies. What does it say about me that I find all of this absolutely fascinating?

But it is fascinating! The characters are secretive and interesting, the control of the Capitol and possible uprising keeps me turning the pages, and the cliffhanger ending has me counting down the days until the final book is released. If you haven't read The Hunger Games you need to do that before you dive into this one, so start reading because the third book, Mockingjay, comes out in August and I have a feeling none of us will want to miss it.

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