By: Suzanne Collins
Pros: fast paced, compelling
Cons: little to no character development, no 'down time'
There's no way to avoid spoilers in this review, so if you haven't read the Hunger Games, and intend to, don't read this until you're ready to start Catching Fire.
Katniss and Peeta have both survived the Hunger Games and it's time for their victory tour. And their lovebird act. Unfortunately, President Snow isn't convinced that Katniss is in love, and neither are rebels all over the country. Now she has to prove that it was love, not defiance, that had her pick up those berries or her family and friends are dead. If only Katniss were a better actress.
In The Hunger Games Katniss has no opportunity - or reason - to think about the deception Peeta's invented to keep her alive. They weren't supposed to both survive the games. Her decision to ignore the situation with Peeta after the games have ended, is consistent with a 15/16 year old girl, but was disappointing to see as a reader.
This book is another roller coaster of emotions, as events spiral out of Katniss' control. Towards the end the action is so intense, with no time for reflection (which is necessary for character growth), that I felt drained.
It's still a great book, but I would have loved to see Katniss face things in a more adult way. It's definitely a bridge novel, and I'm already reaching for the conclusion.