I can’t decide if I like THE HUNGER GAMES better than CATCHING FIRE or vice versa. For the movie industry, it’s rare when a sequel lives up to the hype of the original. But fortunately for readers, this is a lot more common in the book industry. Even still, it’s a rare phenomenon to have two different stories and two excellent books. Sure, the same characters are back, and sure, this is all part of the trilogy that Suzanne Collins had envisioned. But to tell two different stories takes a rare talent with a firm grasp on her genre and a firm direction for the story.
THE HUNGER GAMES certainly has more action inside the arena, and we only catch nuggets of information about the history of the games, along with the history of Panem. CATCHING FIRE fills in some of those missing details, and it has more action outside of the arena. A nice contrast, and if you enjoyed the first one, you certainly need to pick up the second one. Once again, Katniss Everdeen shines in all of her independent glory, but she’s a year older and a year wiser, and she manages to show the reader fine glimpses of her compassion as well. While we may not know everything about the secondary characters, since we’re only seeing Panem through her eyes, we don’t have to. And once again the suspense builds to a rip-roaring crescendo.
If you like dystopian fiction, and you enjoyed the characters and the storyline of the first read, then you’d better race to the bookstore to pick up Book Two.