Oh man, I really wanted to like this story! And the story
wasn't bad, I mean, there's no shortage on plot. It's the same high pace as the first novel, but it's just the writing that doesn't do it for me. The stars are mostly for the thought-provoking ideas, but the book itself is just not so thought-provoking as I would like.
Katniss and Peeta have survived the 74th Hunger Games and the berry thing really pissed the President off. Without intending to, the incident has caused rebellious incidents in several districts.
The speed of the book is wonky. For example: an important person dies, only to be revived half a page later. A page later s/he's walking around again. And we're talking pages with big line-spacing. There's a lot happening in this book, but I would gladly sacrifice half of the events for some more realistic touches.
There's some time-hops in the text like "a week later..." without even starting a new chapter. That doesn't have to be wrong
, but the timing makes you zoom out of the story while the narrative (Katniss) is probably the closest you should be able to get to the story. Also, the Quarter Quell, the 75th edition of the Hunger Games, which is supposed to be a year after the 74th edition (yep!) is just suddenly there. I must've missed a "half a year later...".
Some important characters miss depth, some 3D-feel. Certain characters are barely mentioned in this part and because of who they are, it makes the story less realistic.
*MORE SPOILERS* Katniss' mother and sister for example, who'd you expect to be dealing with some anxiety after their daughter/big sister becoming a tribute with a low chance of seeing the end of this month, seem to be very 'okay' with everything. Okay as in - a bit emotionless. No clinging to legs. No wanting to keep Katniss with them. No crying at random moments. It's a bit like 'Katniss, you're back!' 'Yes I am. But I'ma gonna hunt now' 'kk'.
The same goes for the guys. Peeta and Gale, they don't make a real problem of this whole triangle thing with Katniss. It's very noble and all, but sheez, do you love her or not?! There's no break-downs from Gale's side if Katniss has to go to the arena again
. After that nice first chapter in the first book, where their relationship was so warm and colorful, he's really fading in this book.
I miss a bit of a fear of dying in this book as well. Even if their emotions have been flattened out because of life in District 12, then that excuse has also not been described in the book. I miss a sense of urgency. You're going to die, you're going to kill, probably both damnit!
I can't help but wonder how this book would've been if it had been written by another author. Maybe Stephen King? Then at least the gory bits would've been realistic!