Initially I was glad that I came to this series late, because it meant that I didn’t have to wait to start this book after I finished The Hunger Games. Then I wondered if I wouldn’t have liked it better if I had had to wait for a while. It seemed that the early part of the novel dragged a bit. This was at least in part because of the inevitable recaps, although the need to go over details of the plot of The Hunger Games is understandable given that when this book was released a year or more had passed since The Hunger Games had appeared.
While I remained engaged with the narrative and with the characters, I wondered at times where the narrative was heading. However, the action picked up substantially at the 40% mark and ultimately the novel packed an emotional punch. Maybe not as big a punch as The Hunger Games, but a punch nonetheless. While the novel repeated some of the plot points of the earlier novel, the dynamic between the characters was different and the themes Collins explores in the narrative move in a different direction. If The Hunger Games is at least in part about making choices in situations of adversity, then this novel deals with the consequences of the choices people make. As the situation in which Katniss finds herself shows, decisions made for the most positive of reasons can have devastating and far-reaching consequences.
I was less bothered by Carolyn McCormick’s narration this time around. Either she did a better job with the voices than she did in The Hunger Games or I’ve adjusted to her voice. As was the case in The Hunger Games, the novel contains scenes of gut-wrenching violence. However, the violence, while disturbing, is integral to the plot. The world of the novel would not be as believable without it. Utterly compelling to listen to, the narrative finishes on a huge cliffhanger. I don’t know how I would have dealt with the suspense if I hadn’t been able to go straight on to