If you have not read the first book then you shouldn’t read this. It will ruin things and this is not a series that you want ruined. (I will say this for you though, while some sequels suck, book two is just as good as book one.)
In Catching Fire, Katniss has gotten home, the Victory Tour is about to begin, and Katniss discovers that surviving the Hunger Games was not enough. Gale is upset because of her romance with Peeta, Peeta is upset about Katniss faking the relationship, Haymitch is back to being drunk, new Peacekeepers have come into District 12 and they are much more brutal, and Katniss has an unwanted visitor…the President.
This isn’t the worst to come of course. It’s the Quarter Quell–every 25 years the Games take a special twist (one year they doubled the number of tributes for example). This year is no exception and the twist may be the worst of all because the President doesn’t believe that Katniss really suggested suicide because she loved Peeta. Her action has triggered tensions that have remained under the surface for years and if she doesn’t diffuse the situation things there could be an all-out rebellion. Which would most likely lead to the death of Katniss’s family and friends.
I’ve found often that where the first book in a highly imaginative, dystopian series is incredible, the next books in the series don’t hold up. No such issues here. Collins keeps the characters rich, the plot complex, and the entire book full of surprises and excitement.
At moments it feels like things happen too quickly in the book. Entire weeks zoom by in a matter of pages and it isn’t always clear that they’ve passed until afterward, but while I’m certainly curious about the events of the time spans that we skip, I understand why Collins did it. It would be slow down the book and get somewhat repetitive. This way things stay quick and exciting.
This might be one of the best series I read and I can’t wait until book three comes out. Things are about to change, yet again.