Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was very glad to have this to read the moment I finished Hunger Games. In this book, the plot gets going when President Snow visits Katniss to tell her that her actions in the Games have brought Panam to the brink of rebellion, and if she doesn't quell it, she and many other inhabitants of the districts are going to die. It's clear that Snow has it in for her, and he may even have toyed with the rules of the games to put her in danger once again.
Meanwhile Gale has made his move to court Katniss, but she's stuck pretending to love Peeta. The poor girl isn't free to figure out whom she really loves. She doesn't dare love anyone, because she knows that every bond she has with anyone else is a weakness, it's one more person the government can go after in its relentless manipulation.
I did have a few gripes though. I thought Snow's demand that she pretend to love Peeta was a little ridiculous. The inhabitants of the Districts read whatever they wanted into her beating the Gamesmasters. Her showing up and pretending to be in love with Peeta isn't going to make any real difference. I also thought Katniss was unbelievably dim about the mockingjay symbol and people's attempts to get through to her.
But it finished with a bang (literally) and launches the reader right into the finale. A very good second act of the trilogy.