CATCHING FIRE (Pub. 2009) by Suzanne Collins is the second book in the fantastic Hunger Games trilogy. This is one of the few sequels ever written that is even better than the first book.
The story opens with Katniss Everdeen, alone in the woods at dawn, enjoying the last of her freedom before embarking on the mandatory victory tour of the twelve districts. We see her confusion in adjusting to life after winning the Hunger Games, the impact it has on those around her, and there is a big question mark hovering over her life. When she arrives home to an unexpected visit from President Snow, she quickly realizes although she's won the Games, her future, as well as her families, is now in long-term jeopardy.
The president's veiled threats are ever present in her mind as Katniss begins the victory tour, conscious of the president's caution for the need to not inflame the people of the districts, and to convince them of the validity of the love she professed for Peeta during the Games. Of course, that all goes wrong in a hurry.
The victory tour ends after several stressful stops, the results of which are clearly leading to hard trouble for Katniss and her family. Sure enough, the president makes good on his threats when it's announced that to celebrate the quarter-century anniversary of the Games, two victors from each district will be chosen instead of the usual reaping from the children's bowls. Katniss and Peeta are suddenly back in the Games after only a year's break. The quarter quell Game is even more deadly because they are up against seasoned adults, all older than they, some of whom have nothing to lose, and all of them turn out to have secrets that will ultimately threaten Katniss' life, and the world as she knows it.
Suzanne Collins is an absolute master at the dystopian thriller novel. Her imagination and the way she brings the characters and the story to life is unforgettable. All generations are crazy for these stories as well as the movies. I traded forum posts with a gal the other day who is in her early 60s, and she and her brother are avid fans of the Hunger Games trilogy. They've both read the books multiple times, stood in line for hours to attend the movie's premier, and plan to do so for the opening of Catching Fire. Did I mention she's in her 60s? And Katniss is a 16-year old girl. Wow, does that speak to the phenomenal skills of the author.
I have to admit, I just can't wait to see how Hollywood handles Catching Fire, and I plan to see it on the day it opens. :) Collins also wrote the screenplay for Catching Fire, so I have no doubt the second movie will be as great or better than the first one, just like the books. If you haven't read this trilogy yet, do yourself a favor...get all three books before you start. I absolutely guarantee you'll be glad you did. Otherwise you'll end up like me, desperate to start on the next one the moment you've finished the first, and willing to drive to Barnes & Noble at inconvenient times to appease the fix.
This trilogy is absolutely on my Top Five Fave stories ever told, and I have no doubt it will remain on that list for good. I envy readers who haven't yet discovered this amazing story. Be sure to read these three books as slowly as you can stand because once you've finished, you'll be looking around wondering how in the world you'll find another story as good as this one.