by Suzanne Collins
NOTE! If you have not read The Hunger Games, this will reveal spoilers for the first book!
Katniss and Peeta, against all odds, have survived The Hunger Games, thanks to a bit of cleverness on Katniss' part. Unfortunately, the Capitol viewed her actions as an outright act of defiance, sparking political and social unrest among the districts. Then, to top it all off, it's time for the Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Game held every 25 years... and this years is set to be a doozy.
Katniss: Still amazingly dense when it comes to the boys in her life, Katniss has bigger things to worry about. I appreciate that the love stories that, in so many YA novels take over, are back-burner material in these books thanks to the fact that Katniss is able to recognize that some things are just bigger than her. This time around she's faced with more tough choices, more having to deal with pretending to love Peeta while he truly loves her, and more worrying about the future. She's finding out that there are repercussions to defying the powers that be.
Peeta: Still in love. Still hopelessly in love... and yet, when he disagrees with Katniss, he will make his voice heard. Always the voice of compassion, logic and reason... Peeta remains both true to himself and true to those he loves the most.
Haymitch: Less active in this novel during certain points, but more potent as a character... and as a father-type figure for Katniss.
Cinna: Still working as Katniss' stylist, he creates more beautiful works for her to parade around in... unfortunately, this time he might have gone one step too far.
Prim and her Mother: Living in the Victor's Village with Katniss, these two remain to be her main motivators. To protect her family is the most important thing to Katniss... and her family, in return, offers her the support she needs, when they can.
President Snow: Made even more villianous this time around... he exposes himself as a truly frightening human being and does things that are beyond unforgivable... as if the Games weren't enough.
Finnick: A District 4 Tribute winner... sexy, smooth, absolutely hilarious. He quickly became possibly my favorite character in the books along with Haymitch, Cinna and Katniss.
Quality of Writing:
I couldn't put it down... and part of that has to do with the ease with which the words flowed.
Horrible, terrible, awful cliffhanger ending that had me running, scrambling, racing to find the last book. You CANNOT put this book down and not NEED to pick up the next one. If you can, well... my brain just doesn't compute that.
This book takes the tragedies of the first game, and Katniss and Peeta's act of defiance at the end of it, and starts to expand on the political unrest they've caused.
As they make their Victory tour, they are greeted with blatant, public signs of rebellion by the people, especially in District 11, where little Rue was from.
Katniss is haunted mostly by Rue, but also by the gruesome, slow death of Caro... as well as the others. She can barely sleep and feels like the puppet the Capitol has made her into.
Not only that, but she has been threatened by President Snow. She must make him believe that she and Peeta are in love, otherwise, those dear to her will pay.
Believability of World:
Not only believable, but building on the world introduced in the first book. This one really starts to introduce the political motivations behind things, and makes them all the more real. It also really brings home the fact that Katniss has realized that the situation is out of her control, and that the question of who to trust is an almost impossible one to answer.
Overall Grade: A