Collins’ amazing trilogy began with The Hunger Games, in which Katniss and Peeta won the cruel Hunger Games, a forced annual ritual where the government pits representative children from each district against each other in a survival contest to the death. They’ve returned home to District Twelve, but Katniss won’t be allowed to just go back to her old life:
If it were up to me, I would try to forget the Hunger Games entirely. Never speak of them. Pretend they were nothing but a bad dream. But the Victory Tour makes that impossible. Strategically placed almosr midway between the annual Games, it is the Capitol’s way of keeping the horror fresh and immediate. Not only are we in the districts forced to remember the iron grip of the Capitol’s power each year, we are forced to celebrate it. And this year, I am one of the stars of the show. I will have to travel from district to district, to stand before the cheering crowds who secretly loathe me, to look down into the faces of the families whose children I have killed…
Much to Katniss’ surprise, though, the people of the districts don’t all hate her. In fact, she has unwittingly become the symbol of a growing rebellion against the government. Katniss doesn’t want to be a rebel; she just wants to be left alone. Besides, she’s justifiably worried that any show of rebellion from her will put her mother, sister, and best friend, Gale, in danger.
I don’t want to say much more about what happens in Catching Fire because part of its irresistible allure are the frequent plot twists that took me by surprise every time. Collins is a master storyteller, making this post-apocalyptic world come to life with her words, creating characters who seem real, and keeping the reader turning the pages, chapter after chapter, while the real world waits. It’s a hold-your-breath, must-keep-reading roller coaster of an adventure, and I can’t bear to wait for the third and final book!
391 pages, Scholastic Press