With the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins has totally defied the unfortunate truth that a sequel rarely lives up to the promise...moreWith the second installment in The Hunger Games trilogy, Collins has totally defied the unfortunate truth that a sequel rarely lives up to the promise of the first book. Not only does this one not disappoint, it's a truly good book. No "middle book syndrome" here! Once again, Collins has turned in a page-turner of a story, that, while it revisits some of the themes from The Hunger Games, is also fresh and new.
What happened after the dramatic finale of Katniss's Hunger Games? Collins relates the effects of Katniss's actions in her personal world, throughout the 12 Districts, and even in the Capitol. In doing so, Collins has given fuller flesh to the world her characters inhabit. In Catching Fire, she not only ratchets up the tension, but sets the stage for a thoughtful, insightful, and exciting final book in the trilogy. If expectations were high for the second book, they're that much higher for the third.(less)
It's not often you find a book that doesn't have a single wrong note to it, but this is one. This book really has it all, from suspense to a little bi...moreIt's not often you find a book that doesn't have a single wrong note to it, but this is one. This book really has it all, from suspense to a little bit of political philosophy to unrequited love. Collins takes all the elements of this story and puts them together in a tightly-woven narrative that keeps its pace throughout. Her message, about government and the masses, is not very subtle, but the book is so well written that it goes down very smoothly. I could gush on and on, but I won't. I will say that I'm very skeptical about the proposed sequel(s), because they couldn't possibly be as good as this one!(less)
Rather than focusing on the political aspects of a dystopia, Anderson focuses on the cultural aspects. Almost everyone has an implanted "feed" from a...more Rather than focusing on the political aspects of a dystopia, Anderson focuses on the cultural aspects. Almost everyone has an implanted "feed" from a very young age which gives them access to unlimited information, but also seems to allow corporations unlimited access to the individual. Everyone is constantly bombarded with offers and news of sales from corporations. This has the somewhat predictable result of dumbing down the population, to the point where all they care about are stupid shows on the feed, and shopping. But wait, that sounds kind of familiar.
There are other repercussions of the feed. People seem to be developing lesions, which continue unexplained throughout the book. By the end of the book, they have become fashion statements, with people who don't have them getting them surgically implanted. But where they come from, and why, is never explained.
Also never explained is the meaning behind the attack that is described at the beginning of the book, causing several characters' feeds to malfunction. Why was the attack carried out? Did it represent some larger faction of society that was disenchanted with the feeds?
Typically, I think, dystopic novels focus on the dissenters or malcontents. Having read this book, which touches on those who rebel only slightly, I can see why that trend developed. Quite frankly, reading about people who buy into the system is just not as interesting. Still, this was a good read, with an interesting premise.(less)