After the Hunger Games, Katniss lives a now quiet life, going about her business and never having any trouble again. Just kidding. Every relationship she has is strained as she experiences every symptom of posttraumatic stress that can be imagined. This is all comes to a head when she learns other districts are in revolt. As District 12 comes under more and more pressure from the controlling Capitol, she learns that she will once again be put back into the Hunger Games to fight for her life.
As in the first book, the setting is rich and believable as a dystopian nightmare. Increasing the tension of poverty and governmental control, District 12 becomes a more unbearable and almost suffocating for both the reader and Katniss. As we move to the other districts, the Capitol and the Arena, we get a sense of the wider world and how the games affect not just our hero but everyone.
Speaking of everyone, we get a bunch of new characters from around Panem’s districts. Without giving too much of the plot away, many of the winners from past Hunger Games are introduced, giving the reader a very complex view of what it takes to win in a “there can be only one” scenerio. For the existing characters, more backstory is added to give everyone a more detailed character, such as how Haymitch won his Games and the fallout of that.
The plot of this story is the road to all out rebellion and kicking ass at it. Katniss becomes stronger in her resolve to fight the Capitol control as does the other districts. This resolve comes not only with themes of “what is right” but with sacrifice and honor. A fitting middle chapter, this book not only builds on the original but sets up the next in spectacular fashion.
Why was it banned?
This book has been banned for many of the reasons its predecessor was banned: violence and adult themes. People die, and this book is not afraid to show death and the ramifications that come from it. One could also argue that, like the original, this book encourages dissidence and rebellion from authority. Whether this is true in context or not, developing minds may not understand the difference between an Orwellian government and their math teacher.