I admit, I don't fully remember all the details to The Hunger Games sequel. I sped through it so fast, I have to read it a second time to really absorb it. But, here are the things that are need to know:
When we last left off, our Hunger Games heroes had successfully pissed off the Capitol and President Snow. We definitely know something bad is brewing for Peeta and Katniss. The first half of Catching Fire is kind of boring. The end of the first book is so badass and fast paced that afterward everything seems bland in comparison. Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch go back to Game Winners Row, a special housing development for winners of the Hunger Games (obviously). Being the only winners for District 12, it's a little lonely. Katniss moves her mother and sister into her house, she goes back to ignoring Peeta and spends all her time in the woods, hunting and contemplating running away with Gale and her family and living off the land. One day, while Katniss is in the forest, officials from the Capitol swoop into Disctrict 12 and close it the fuck down. All of the illegal trading posts are shut down and the fence surrounding the district is mended and re-electrified. Bad news for Katniss. When she gets back to the fence, she realizes what has happened and climbs a nearby tree and jumps over the electric fence, hurting her ankle. When she finally gimps her way back home, a government official is interrogating her mother. When he sees Katniss walk through the door it is quite obvious he knew that she was on the other side of that fence. Katniss lies and says that she was out with Gale or something else that's not illegal, my memory on that is hazy. Then, it's the day of The Hunger Games and because it's a milestone, 75th annual Games, it's not like the regular reaping. No, instead of choosing from all of the kids from each district, the tributes will be chosen from a reaping of past winners! District 12 only has three! Meaning Katniss is a guaranteed tribute. Crazy! At the news of this, Katniss goes to visit Haymitch and gets blasted drunk with him. At the Capitol, during training she meets the other tributes and among them is Finnick Odair, the sexiest Hunger Games hunk EVER. Rumor has it, he sells his bod to the rich and famous. When they get to the Games Arena, they are on platforms in the middle of an ocean, in the distance they see an island. Not everyone can swim. Peeta, for example. When, the blast goes off, the tributes that can swim dive into the water and reach land. Everyone is shocked to realize that Katniss is an excellent swimmer. Us readers know it's because her father brought her out into the woods to a lake and taught her. For some strange reason, Finnick helps Peeta to shore. Being a cut-throat game to the death, we know this is fishy. (Get it? Fishy? LOL puns.) There are two alliances with these tributes: one seemingly out to help one another and the other wanting to kill and win. The merry band of 'good' tributes runs off the beach and into the forest to hide. Peeta electrocutes himself on an invisible wall and Finnick saves him with mouth-to-mouth. Now, at this point, I know there is something going on. Why would a tribute deliberately save another tributes life if he was going to die? Anyway, they figure out that the arena is a giant clock and at a certain time of day in each quadrant of the island something crazy happens. Like, for example, a giant tidal wave, killer monkeys, and mockingjays that sound exactly like the tributes loved ones calling for help, just to name a few. Katniss isn't in on the secret, but Finnick, Peeta and the other 'good' tributes have a plan to escape the arena. They blow up this big tree with the invisible electric fence and a big hovercraft comes down and picks them up. It sadly leaves Peeta behind.
Because the first half of this book is slow going, I give this one 4 out of 5 thumbs up.