My apologies that The Hunger Games have taken over the blog this week. I just happened to read the second book and see the first movie within the same week. Also, my thoughts below contain spoilers, so skip it if you haven't yet read Catching Fire.
Anyhow, beyond the nightmares, I did like this book, but I thought the first was better. I felt like the first half of this one lagged and didn't really pick up until it was announced they would be going back into the hunger games. (Even the hunger games in this book weren't nearly as exciting as they were in the first.) It's also a pet peeve of mine when authors reiterate plot points from the first book in a series into a second, as if the audience forgot main parts of the first book. Suzanne Collins did just that, quite often, which got on my nerves.
But once I got beyond that, my interest was sparked after Katniss met the two women from district 8 in the woods and they related their belief that District 13 was never actually demolished, citing the mockingjay that continually appears in the upper right corner of the screen. That was really the first scene when I thought okay, this is going to get good. I also liked how it examined the life of the winning tributes beyond the hunger games, and what kind of live they eventually live.
I think Catching Fire might be more of a bridge between the first and third novels of the series than a stand alone gem, like Hunger Games. It lacked the magic and and excitement that the first exuded. I do plan on reading Mockingjay. I'm thinking this one will detail a full-on revolution of all or most of the districts in Panam. I'd love to see Katniss lead this revolution, as she has unknowingly become a sort of martyr for it. I'd also be happy if she ended up with Gale. I can't help it, it's the 16-year-old girl in me.
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2009