Still reeling from the events of the Hunger Games, Katniss has returned home to a life that is very different from the one she left. Gale, the best friend (and maybe more) who’s always been there for her is strangely distant, and the time they used to spend together sneakily hunting outside the perimeter he now spends in the mines. Peeta has taken it a step futher and has absolutely nothing to do with her, despite everything they went through together in the arena. But worse, the unforgiving Capital is watching.
None too pleased at having been bested when Katniss and Peeta threatened suicide rather than attempt to kill each other, President Snow wants revenge. The single act which saved the two was an act of defiance, and Snow is determined to take control again. To save face, he needs Katniss and Peeta to continue playing the fated young lovers game that bought them sympathy during the Games. Only now, small acts of defiance are happening around all of Panem, and it looks as if even their little act will make no difference. And now it looks like they’ll have to compete in a new Games event, one in which each district must send two Games survivors to a first of its kind special Hunger Games.
At first, I was a little pissed, but I’m pretty sure that was the point. I mean, I didn’t think life would magically be wonderful after the end of the first book, but I also didn’t think Katniss and Peeta would almost immediately be sent back to (once again) almost certain death. And it pretty much took Gale out of the running. I had hoped that the love triangle thingy would get played out, but instead, Katniss and Peeta were sent on the road to tour all the districts, after which they were sent off to the killing arena again. So no Gale. And I kinda love him.
Still incredibly awesome, and in some ways, I liked it even more than The Hunger Games! That’s saying a lot, considering that Collins re-used the whole Games bit in this book. But proving her genius, she made it fresh, new, and oh-so-much better! Less brute strength and dumb luck, the new games require a sharp mind just to stay alive in the arena. From a poisonous fog to viscious baboons to one hell of a lightning strike, it’s not just their opponents who are out to kill them. And the end of the book. Oh, my. Yeah, it’s a cliffhanger, but it’s brilliant.