This trilogy is just hitting all the right buttons--or targets, if you're Katniss.
I hear from a few readers that this second book just wasn't as good. That it was a place filler. That it was the exact same story as the first, told again.
To those readers, I say in the kindliest manner imaginable--wot in all heck is wrong with you?!
CATCHING FIRE is its own story: advances the whole story: packs as much or more of a punch than THE HUNGER GAMES. And honestly, I loved CATCHING FIRE almost better than THE HUNGER GAMES.
It's been years since I read action-adventure. It's also been years since I was pulled through the emotional upheaval that THG has dragged me through. I don't know if it's that I relate so well to Katniss (I do), or if it's just that she's such an amazing character and the world building is so immersive. I do know that a huge amount of the appeal to me is in the characters themselves (as much as I love the plot and find it incredibly clever and creative). I love Effie and Haymitch. Ditto Peeta and Katniss. Sorta want to punch Gale. He's just not that awesome. But those side-characters--all of them--they're beautifully drawn. I love what Suzanne Collins has done here.
And the writing itself? Perfect. Sharp and present and immersive. Immediately magnetic. I don't know if Suzanne Collins has written anything other that THG (I mean, I know she doesn't need to, but she's a writer, right?? there's gotta be more!) but if she has, I'm there.
Now I've just got to save MOCKINGJAY until after I've watched the movie, so I don't spoil the movies...