Once again I am amazed and in awe of the depth and magnitude of Collin's imagination. It's nothing to create a fantasy world that takes us away and makes us wish for a bit of the miraculous in our everyday lives but it's quite another to conjure up a vivid, vibrant world so detailed that it becomes almost tangible and then make sure you never ever want to go there.
In this sequel to The Hunger Games we are once again the spectators- the downtrodden hopeless plebs of the Districts and the spoiled, sadistic privileged people of the Capitol. Only this time, instead of being sold on a victor by means of carefully timed and planned marketing and strategizing, we our watching Katniss and Peeta, our victors- the ones we chose, the ones we wanted to win. When a tribute is victorious in the Hunger Games, and survives the grueling ordeal of a televised, free-for-all murderous battle in which children from each District slaughter each other in an effort to stay alive he or she is sent home to live in comfort and luxury for the rest of his or her life. Until last year, the 74th annual hunger games, there has traditionally been only one victor. But when Katniss and Peeta, the seemingly star-crossed lovers from District 12, in an act of defiance against the very game they're forced to play, threaten a double suicide, the nation of Panem demands a last minute rule change that allows both tributes from a District to win. Now Katniss and Peeta reign as the nations sweethearts, the boy and girl who survived the game due only to their love for each other. To the brats in the Capitol they are the latest fad, and to the withered people of the Districts, their manipulation of the Games is the stuff that can spark rebellion.
The system of government in place in the nation of Panem and the Hunger Games themselves, are all meant to be reminders to the people of the District that they are at the mercy of their government, and at any moment they can crush them. In a place where such a constant show of force and brutality is needed to dim the people's rebellious spark, would Katniss really be left alone to live out her life in the comfort her new title brings? Or will the nation of Panem place new demands on their hero? The government demands that the people's hero helps quell the threat of rebellion. The citizens demand that their hero, the girl on fire, set the nation ablaze.
Oh wow. I just loved it. Best cliff hanger in a book, hands down. I love that Collins is letting her character explore various different types of love. I know a lot of people are unhappy with the Peeta/Gale struggle but I think what the author is showing is very valuable. Katniss is a teenage girl who is learning that one love is totally different from another. That she can love Peeta the way she does and yet feel a romantic love for another. I don't feel that she's written a love triangle at all. And oh I love Peeta! All of the big surprises in this story came from him!
You must read this and then join me in pining for the third book.