“Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy. Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.”
Book Review: ★★★★★★
This book continues the story of Katniss, Gale, and Peeta, as the Hunger Games return for an encore presentation. This story expands on the original themes, while exploring more of the political environment that makes up this futuristic, fantasy world. It also expands our understanding of the characters, and introduces us to more of the dangers that exist in this world, outside of the Games arena. It gives us a better look into the depth and magnitude of the oppression that exists in this world, as well as a broader understanding of how this world came about. Unfortunately, I felt like this book fell victim to the symptoms of the second episode curse — where the story can’t quite live up to the expectations of the readers, because it is so hard to maintain the precedent set through a truly original, and intriguing story that is found in the first book.
This book will start to separate the readers from the fans, as the characters begin to separate from each other, and move in different directions through power struggles. As their own characters develop, the interrelationships begin these characters shift and change — and readers will begin to take sides in the make up of the story. As Gale and Peeta take up different roles in Katniss’s life readers become more able to get involved in the story through attachment to the characters themselves, rather than the story as a whole. These types of stories frustrate me to a certain extent. The story begins to take a backseat to the characters, and as the characters become more overwhelming in presence; the story begins to falter, and eventually gets lost in the all consuming focus on the characters. Essentially, I felt like the characters became larger than life, while the story was an instant repeat of book one.
The Hunger Games arena portion of the book is essentially a repeat of the first. However, there were certain parts of it that were stronger, and parts of it that were weaker. The relationship between Peeta and Katniss becomes a repeat that sets them apart from the other participants in the games. And yet, there didn’t seem to be the electric spark of life and death struggle that was portrayed in the first book. In the original Hunger Games, it was interactions, and opposition that existed between the arena participants that really made the book a truly unique story. In this book, I just didn’t feel that same magic. Rather, I came away feeling like the whole competition was nothing but a blood hunt, and Peeta and Katniss were the targets. Essentially, there was no real competition that was really going on. With the loss of that vivid interaction between the opponents, the story seemed to fail on a basic level.
This book also seemed to loose the power of the forced interactions between the enemy opponents that was such a trade mark component of the first book. The powerful interaction between Rue and Katniss in the first story really set the competition scenes apart, as well as the vast differences that the characters needed to overcome, in order to survive. But in this one everyone was hunting for Peeta and Katniss — and there was no need to strive to find another way to survive outside of killing each other. This story was no longer the participants against each other. This story became more politicized, and developed into the true witch hunt that the story devolved into.
The politics side of the book, however was more interesting. No longer is the political aspects simply a back story that the reader is vaguely aware of, but never really focuses on. Now, the politics of President Snow, and the true corruption that is driving this society becomes much more evident. This part of this book was very insightful on the part of Collins. This is a society that demonstrates the devastating consequences of obsessive exposure to television, addictive substances, and the overwhelming nature of a completely co-dependent society. When the populace becomes so incapable of solving its own issues, then the government has a much easier job of controlling the people through giving them things that they want, without worrying about the people becoming obsessively involved in the activities of the government.
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The second book is definitely not as good as the first one. I think anyone will agree with that. It was weird actually. Really long at parts where nothing is happening and then out of nowhere the plot goes 180 degree in different direction in 3 pages – thats pretty anoying to say the least. Probably a good idea would be to make the book longer (+200 pages?) and let the tension build up more before reaching the highest point. Still my interest was kept continusely. I could not put it down till all was finished… Loved this series. I wish there was more.
I felt like the second installment was a weak, rehashed attempt to capitalize on the success of the first, which I thought was pretty good. Perhaps I’m more of a reader than a fan. I don’t mind so much.
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It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men. — Frederick Douglass, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass