I read Catching Fire about a week after reading The Hunger Games and it definitely colored how I reacted it. The plot in this book seemed a little weaker and frankly, somewhat redundant. I'm going to do my best to avoid spoilers, although I think that this book really added very little to the overall narrative of the trillogy.
So Katniss and Petra made it out of the games and now they are ensconced in the Victor's Villiage in District 12. Both of the familes have relocated and Katniss is coming to terms with no longer needing to provide everything for her family and with the nightmares that follow her participation in the hunger games.
I found myself wanting more description of Katniss coming home and putting her life back together. We don't get to see her return to her family and her district, which seems more pronounced, given the description of the Victory Tour and Katniss and Peetra reacting to the families of the fallen Tributes, which was beautifully written and quite touching. The allusions to the rebellion that brews underneath the surface are subtle and well played. I found much more interest in Peeta as a character this time around. I feel like he was given more depth, which served his arc well.
This book needed more time with Gale. Gale and Katniss can see each other more now and have some weak sexual tension. For her part, Katniss doesn't really seem that interested in Gale OR Peetra, save for liking them enough not want to see them dead. And hey, sometimes that's enough. I feel like Gale was the weakest of the characters. I understand his motivations and drive because of his past, but the character never expresses anything solid, making the reader piece together the emotional conflicts.
I felt that some of this book was really a revisit to the previous book and had me less interested. There were so many ways that this book could go and I feel like it took the easiest way to get to the next book. I was honestly a bit disappointed.
Rating: Not as satisfying as The Hunger Games, but an interesting read. Comparatively, The Hunger Games took one day to read, this took three.