I thought this book was well written, but it did not meet my expectations after reading Hunger Games, the first in the trilogy. Whereas the first book had an originality to it, this one was lacking in creativity. It actually took me a long time to get through it because I kept letting myself get distracted so that I would not be completely bored by it.
So there were some interesting things going on in this book. Yes, the Capitol is an interesting enemy. The idea of revolution is thrilling. The action was good and fairly constant towards the end.
However, this book felt like a repeat of the first for the slower reader. If you did not get the hints of, “The revolution is upon us!" in the first one, it smacks you in the face in this one. I was overly annoyed with the repetitiveness of this book. I felt like the story started back in District 12 and then it stopped to go back through all the Hunger Games process (the training, interviews, the actual Games). Then the story does not pick up again until the very end... where the reader is left waiting for the third book.
Katniss is trying to deal with the aftermath of her experience in the Hunger Games. Peeta is avoiding her because she doesn’t return his feelings. Haymitch is back to drinking himself stupid. Before they are all supposed to leave for the tour around the districts, President Snow personally visits Katniss. He tells her that he’s not buying the star-crossed story and neither is half of the country. He tells her that she has to do better on the tour or he will kill her family. He also tells her that he knows that Gale kissed her in the woods. Katniss tells Haymitch about the threat, but they decide not to tell Peeta.
The tour begins in District 11 and Peeta announces to them that some of their rations are to go to the families of Thresh and Rue. Katniss thanks their families as well. As they are walking away, Katniss is delayed and their hear people being shot for defying the Capital. Katniss and Peeta decide to up the romance and down the sympathy for the other districts. When they finally arrive at the Capital, Peeta proposes to Katniss on live TV. President Snow decides that they will have the wedding in the Capital.
They return to District 12 for the harvest feast at the Mayor’s house. Katniss happens to catch a news update that was meant for only the Mayor to see. There has been an uprising in District 8. Katniss starts coming up with a plan to run away with everyone that she loves. As soon as she can, she tells Gale about her plan. He is all for it until she lets it slip about the uprising. Gales decides that he has to stay and be a part of whatever revolution might be coming. Upon returning to the district, they go their separate ways. Later, Katniss returns to town with Peeta and finds that Gale is being whipped by the new head peace keeper for poaching a turkey. Katniss goes to stop it and gets hit in the face with the whip. Haymitch settles the situation and they get Gale to Katniss’ mom for healing. Katniss changes her mind about leaving and knows that she has to stay around for the rebellion.
Katniss goes out to the woods and is so lost in her thoughts that she doesn’t notice two people dressed like peace keepers approaching her. She finds that they are runaways from District 8. They are heading for District 13 because all of the video that has ever been shown of the demolished district is always the exact same clip. When Katniss tries to return through the fence, she finds that the power is on. She climbs up a tree and falls to get back into the district, hurting her foot and tail bone. When she returns to her house, there are peace keepers waiting for her. She makes up a story about looking for someone that Prim sent her too and Haymitch and Peeta join in the conversation to help her alibi. Eventually the peace keepers tell her that the fence has power again and leave.
Cinna and his crew come to prepare Katniss for a photo shoot for her wedding dresses that he designed. The next night, they are shown on TV and the people of the Capital take pleasure on voting for their favorites. Afterward, there is an announcement about the special condition that will be applied for the third quarter quell, the 75th Hunger Games. The tributes will be chosen from the current pool of victors for each district. Katniss goes a little crazy for a little while before going to see Haymitch and drinks with him. They conspire to save Peeta no matter what. The next day, Katniss goes back over to Haymitch's so that the three victors can make a plan. Peeta has dumped all of Haymitch's alcohol and they start training as though they were careers. They go through physical training and watch tapes of the victors from other districts that are still alive.
The reaping comes along and Katniss already knows that she is the female tribute. However, Haymitch's name is called and Peeta immediately volunteers to take his place. When the time comes for them to get onto the train, they find that this time, they do not have a chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. Upon arriving in the capital, some of the other tributes mess with Katniss. They go on their chariot ride and Cinna has made sure that they are the center of attention again; appearing as though they are embers from a fire.
Haymitch suggests that Katniss and Peeta start forming alliances with the other victors. Katniss likes the tributes from 8, who notice that there is now a force field between the tributes and the game makers. She also likes the 80 year old tribute from 4 who volunteered to save a shaky looking girl. The tributes move the lunch tables so that they are all eating together. Katniss and Peeta soon agree that they don't want to have any alliances because it will make it more difficult to kill these people later.
For the interviews, the other tributes make the audience weepy with their sorrow at losing their friends and fans. Katniss is dressed in one of her wedding dresses that the people of the Capital had voted for. When she gets up to twirl around, her dress puts off smoke and is transformed into a completely different dress that looks like a mockingjay. Peeta goes up next and tells the world that Katniss is pregnant.
Just before Katniss is to be lifted on her disk into the arena, some peace keepers come and start beating Cinna because of the dress that he designed for her. Upon entering the arena, the tributes are surrounded by water. Finnick and Katniss are the first two to the cornucopia and he shows her Haymitch's bracelet, signifying that they are supposed to team up. They guard the cornucopia and after a few kills, Finnick goes to rescue Peeta from his platform (because he can't swim).
Katniss and Peeta team up with Finnick and his counterpart from District 4, Mags. They head up a snow capped mountain and Katniss notices a force field. However, she isn't able to warn the others until Peeta has already hit it. Finnick revives him using CPR and they continue on, searching for water. They are sent a gift from the sponsors, which Katniss finds out is a sprout for getting water out of the trees. They decide to get some sleep and Finnick takes the first watch. Katniss is woken up by 12 chimes. They can't decipher what they mean, so Finnick goes to sleep and Katniss stays up on watch. However, they don't get too much sleep before there is an acidic fog that attacks them. Finnick carries Mags while Katniss tries to lead Peeta. Eventually, they switch loads, but the acid has weakened them so much that they are both having trouble carrying them. Mags runs off into the fog to save them.
They get down to the salt water where they first started and it heals their wounds. However, before they can get back into the safety of the woods, they are attacked by a pack of monkeys. Katniss uses an entire sheath of arrows on them and Peeta goes to give her his. A monkey uses this opportunity to attack him. The morphling female from District 6 jumps in front of Peeta to save him.
Joanna joins the group with Wiress and Beetee, explaining that Haymitch told Joanna that she had to bring the other two for Katniss to join up with her. They are all covered in blood. They wash off in the salt water and start getting ready for rest. On Katniss' watch, she notices that Wiress keeps saying "tick tock." After a little while, Katniss realizes that the arena is a clock. She wakes up the rest of the group and explains. They move to the cornucopia to watch what happens.
The career tributes attack and end up killing Wiress, her silence letting them know that something has gone wrong. As they start fighting and killing off some of the careers, the entire arena starts spinning and they are thrown about. Katniss swims out to where Wiress’ body was thrown into the salt water to retrieve Beetee’s wire that he seems so attached to.
The group heads back into the jungle. Katniss hears the voice of her sister, Prim calling out as though she is in trouble. She chases after it and eventually finds that it is coming from a jabberjay. Finnick, who has been following her, hears the voice of Annie, the woman he loves, and takes off after it. Katniss follows him and tries to convince him that it isn’t real. Finnick points out that the jabberjays only repeat sounds, not make them up. They are forced to finish out the hour listening to the voices of their loved ones calling out to them since they are separated from the others by some invisible wall.
Beetee comes up with a plan to use the midnight lightning strike and his wire to fry the lake, killing any food that it may provide for the other tributes. Katniss and Joanna are chosen to run the wire back down to the water. When they are a good distance away, the wire is cut. Joanna hits Katniss on the head and cuts open her arm and then runs away to fight the other tributes. When Katniss recovers enough, she goes to find Peeta. She sees that Beetee is in bad shape from trying to stab the force field. She attaches the wire to an arrow and shoots it at the weak spot. This effectively shuts down the force field. Shortly after, she is carried away by a hover craft.
When Katniss comes too, she realizes that she is captured by the capital. She knows that she doesn’t want them to hurt Peeta, so she plans to kill him herself with a syringe full of air. She goes into a room and finds the rebels rather than the Capital’s forces at work. They explain that they didn’t want her to know the plan because she and Peeta would be the first ones they would try to capture. Haymitch also informs her that Peeta was captured by the Capital. Katniss attacks Haymitch in her anger of his betrayal. They sedate her and strap her back into bed.
When Katniss wakes up again, Gale is by her side. He tells her about how District 12 was cut off from power and then bombed shortly after she broke the force field. Gale took everyone he could to the meadow to keep them safe. They tore down the fence and found District 13. Katniss asks about her family and he guarantees that they are safe. She asks if they are currently in District 12 and he tells her that it no longer exists.