District 12 is gone, obliterated by the Capitol and President Snow. The refuge for the few survivors has become District 13, an underground resistance that has been quietly making plans for a widescale rebellion against the rule of the Capitol. Shell shocked Katniss, still reeling from the capture of Peeta, finds to her surprise that she has become the center of this movement, the Mockingjay that they will use to incite others to go against what they have been taught. Though she is reluctant to do so, still believing that Peeta would have made the better figurehead for a revolution, Katniss soon realizes that the only way to save Peeta is to become what the leaders of District 13 want her to be. However, the overwhelming question is what the young man that they rescue will have become while under the captivity of the enemy…
This one was definitely as interesting to me as the first book, mostly because once Katniss stops wallowing in her self-pity, she does a very good job kicking butt and taking names. I was also very interested in the way that Peeta was handled after his time as a prisoner of the Capitol. How he came back primed against only one person, but how his basic character still shined through. Once again, I found the characters consistent, with Katniss having not the faintest idea about the people around her or her own feelings, almost until it is too late. The message at the end is typical for this kind of novel, but no less true for that. Great set of books; one that I have a feeling I will peruse again.
Before I go, it has to be said. I don’t know why, but I kept finding myself comparing the books to the Twilight Saga. Perhaps because they were both being talked about around the same time? For whatever reason, my mind kept throwing them together, and I have to say that The Hunger Games was better. Not only weren’t there fifty thousand different ways to describe the beauty of either male lead, the love triangle actually had some tension. Okay, I wont lie and say that I didn’t know that Kat was going to end up with Peeta after the second book, but there were points up until then that made me really wonder if she might wind up with Gale after all. And I think the point was made very well that had things turned out differently – had Prim’s name not been called or had the two of them not been tutored to play the tragic lovers angle to get sponsors – Kat very well might have wound up with Gale, after all. It just wasn’t the way that things wound up. On top of that, the main heroine actually got to do something! In all the books! Aside from fall in love and have two strapping men vie for her affections! And she does it from pretty much the beginning! Katniss is the reason her family is fed, she relies mostly on her own gumption to make it through her first tour of the Hunger Games, and she insists on being part of the battles for independence from the Capitol. Best of all, she isn’t the ultimate badasss who never makes mistakes. She’s selfish and manipulative and will do whatever it takes to make sure those that she cares about survive, never thinking of the cost. She’s not necessarily likeable, but she is real, which IMHO the character of Bella never was.