Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
After her defiance to play by the capital's rules in the last book, Katniss knows her days are numbered. So, when President Snow shows up in her house to threaten her, it doesn't come at a complete shock. She allows her puppet strings to be pulled in hopes of saving her family. However, whether she likes it or not, she has become the face of the rebellion. To make matters worse, Katniss and Peeta, as well as 22 other former victors are thrown back into the games. Katniss vows to do everything she possibly can to make sure Peeta survives. He of course has the opposite desire and it will take everything both of them have to survive.
The title is very fitting as this book is at root about the rebellion catching fire. In the beginning there were rumors of rebellion, but the actions of the capital throughout the book really started to add flame the fire. It is assumed that President Snow orchestrated for the victors to have to return to the games, something they were supposed to be safe from. Of course he claimed the creator of the games was the one who set this idea up, but even so he could have overruled it considering his power. I think this was a huge mistake, and only added fire to the rebellion he so very much wanted to squash. Not only did it infuriate the people in the districts, but it also upset the citizens of the capital, his pampered support. The citizens have a certain attachment to the victors, and the districts see them as symbols of hope. He decided to fight fire with fire, not such a wise choice in a situation like this. This mistake had the opposite effect of what he wanted causing the rebellion to gain ground.
The love triangle theme continues through this book even though Gale is absent yet again for most of it. I do wish there had been more time spent on her tie to him. As it was written, we are forced to just accept the history and feel his side even though we are continually bombarded by Peeta's love and determination. It was frustrating to feel so much for Peeta, but not really have enough ground to stand on to care for Gale. This made it really hard to feel Katniss's struggle between the two. For this reason, I am glad that the romance was only a small part of the plot.
I enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as I did the first one, as it would be almost impossible to live up to. The first game's horrors came at such a shock, but this time around I was left with a slight case of deja vu. Even so, I highly recommend this book.