So apparently it has been almost exactly a year since I read the first book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. I really didn't like the first book so I wasn't planning on reading the rest of the trilogy. However my kids at the library kept asking me if I'd read them and what did I think along with other people I know so I finally caved and decided to read the next one. I'm glad I did because I did enjoy it considerably more. In Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta have returned home however their problems are far from over. Katniss' actions have made her a symbol for many people who are unhappy with their lives in Panem. Her actions are the catalyst for an uprising. As punishment her and Peeta along with other previous Games winners are sent back into the ring.
I think the reason I was able to enjoy this book more was because this time at the very least the deaths kind of seemed to serve a greater purpose in the end, which made them a little bit easier to bear. Additionally many of the more brutal deaths in the arena happened out of range of Katniss and her allies and we were spared many of the kinds of details that the last book seemed to thrive on. This made it easier for me to pay more attention to other factors of the book that I weren't enough to carry me through the last book.
Katniss is a strong female character with a deep moral streak which I find gratifying considering the threats and harsh living conditions she has survived through. While I don't always agree with every decision she makes and at times she is a little slow to get to what I consider the important point she is a character that I most definitely respect.
President Snow is definitely a horrifying villain. Seeing the lengths he is willing to go to is the stuff of nightmares; giving people the power to kill or maim for miniscule infractions and punishing as many people as possible in extreme forms. The cat and mouse game he plays with Katniss is the utmost cruelty, especially since uncertainty makes it difficult for her to function in many ways.
The book ends on a cliff hanger however the upside to waiting so long to read it is that I immediately get to start the next book.