After surviving the Games, Katniss was disturbed to find that the life she dreamed about at home didn't exist anymore--her relationship with Gale won't mend, and President Snow is furious at her for saving Peeta with the poisonous berries because of an unrest it initiated among the districts. If Katniss can't prove the berries were an act of undying love rather than rebellion, her own family and all of district 12 will suffer for it. But on their Victory Tour, Peeta and Katniss get a faint hint of how intense the unrest actually is. Is it worth playing President Snow's game? If a rebellion did occur, should they try to quench it, or fuel it? Because like it or not, Katniss has become the symbol for such a rebellion, and Peeta may be the one leader it needs. But all that changes when they discover just who is going to be in the Quarter Quell--a very special version of the Hunger Games.
I'm trying to decide how good this book really was; parts of it were brilliant, and I couldn't make myself stop listening to the audiotapes. The entire book was a very realistic sequel. However, the love triangle bit really drove me insane. Katniss has never been good and analyzing her motives, and it irked me that the circumstances of the story kept forcing her to play stupid games with Peeta, especially since she should have confided in him from the start, rather than try to go rouge like that. I just never bought the whole "Katniss has to prove her undying love to Peeta and quell the rebellion" thing. I think it also didn't help that the narrator made Katniss sound petulant when she was angry, and whiny when she was upset.
So while the first half of the book was an addicting read, it was also annoying. Things got much better by the second half. The ending with the forcefield was FANTASTIC and I was like, "YAAYY!" The very very end got a little annoying again--which, incidentally, was my same reaction when I read The Hunger Games. I mean come on, does Haymitch always have to be so superior? Katniss is the only one who understands his little messages, so he should at least give her some credit to that. But overall, I think the final chapters were so amazing, along with the end of the story in general, that they made up for the annoying parts of the book.
Like I'm said, I'm trying to decide how I feel about this book. One thing that amazed me about The Hunger Games is how such an insane concept was written so realistically, and that never left this sequel. I never felt anyone go out of character, and once again, Suzanne Collins did a great job describing the games. Also I liked how the rebellious spirit among the districts developed--some books would have just come out with a full-scale rebellion that started, raged, and was one in the single book, you know? Not how real rebellions go. Catching Fire didn't do that, and felt truer because of it.
Overall, I'm pretty optimistic about Book 3--(Rumored to be titled "The Victors" but with no official name yet)--but it has just as much potential to go right as wrong. Lets hope Suzanne can bring the best out of this trilogy and give us the finale we're all hungry for, no pun intended.
This review was originally posted on Goodreads. You can check out my other reviews here.