Book two: Catching Fire
Catching Fire, written by Suzanne Collins, is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. The story begins after Katniss Everdeen and her male companion Peeta Mellark, also from District 12, have won the Hunger Games. They forced the Capitol to declare two winners, which does not sit well with the dictator of Panem, President Snow. The President visits Katniss to let her know that he is not pleased with her actions, as no one is allowed to defy the Capitol. He can not simply kill Katniss, so he wants her to try and quell any seeds of rebellion her defiance may have planted during the ‘Victory Tour’. She and Peeta, like all victors of the Hunger Games before them, must visit every district and say a few words.
The first stop on the Tour is District 11 which is surrounded by a large wall, guard towers and many ‘peace-keepers’. Katniss’s words to the people of District 11 cause an old man in the crowd to give the District 12 ‘three-finger salute’ as a sign of solidarity. This man is quickly shot in the head. The visits to the remaining districts are short and Katniss is not permitted to speak to the crowds. The tour ends in the Capitol with a large party at President Snow’s mansion where Katniss and Peeta get to mingle with members of Panem ‘high society’. They meet the new Head ‘Game-maker’ for the Hunger Games, (since the old one met his end for allowing Katniss to live). She also meets winners of past Hunger Games.
After they return to District 12 things start to change. The Head ‘peace-keeper’ is replaced by a brutal man who begins punishing the citizens for even the tiniest infraction. Whipping posts, stocks, and gallows are constructed. The Hobb (District 12′s ‘black market’) is burned to the ground causing many people to starve. Katniss is friends with the Mayor’s daughter and this allows her to hear of uprisings against the government taking place in many districts. Katniss meets two escapees from District 8 in the woods who tell her of such an uprising. They are on their way to District 13, which was supposedly destroyed seventy-five years earlier. This is Katniss’s last trip to the woods,and she returns to find that the electrified fence that surrounds District 12 will now be on 24 hours a day. It takes some careful maneuvering for her to get back inside the district.
As the Seventy-fifth Annual Hunger Games approach it is announced that this will be the Third ‘Quarter Quell’, which is a special Hunger Games that take place every twenty-five years. The tributes will be selected from a pool of previous winners. Since Katniss is the only female winner from District 12 she will be going back into the arena. This does not sit well with Katniss, or the other champions, who all know each other, many of them having become friends over the years. Even the citizens of the Capitol do not like this. They view the winners of the Hunger Games as celebrities. Unlike previous games where competitors they have never heard of fight to the death, now they must watch people they have grown to love and admire kill each other. During the live interviews at the Capitol, the champions join hands on stage in a sign of solidarity. The audience goes crazy with cheers and applause causing the President to order the auditorium emptied.
As the games get underway, Katniss and Peeta find themselves being joined by unlikely allies. These allies seem to be protecting the two tributes from District 12 from getting hurt, even at the cost of their own lives. But why? What makes Katniss and Peeta so important? What will happen in this year’s games? What is the mystery of District 13?
How will the Hunger Games trilogy end?
Read my review of Book one: The Hunger Games here
Read my review of Book three: Mockingjay here