This second book in the Hunger Games trilogy read so quickly, I hardly knew what hit me. It continues the story of Katniss Everdeen and her friend Peeta as they return from the bloody Hunger Games, a reality show/punishment put on by the government of Panem.
The world of Panem created by Collins is a kind of post-apocolyptic country of 13 Districts, one of which has been blown to bits by the Capitol as punishment for revolution there. This book takes place after the Hunger Games in which Katniss and Peeta have won an unprecedented dual victory because of a seemingly innocent stunt pulled off by the presumed in-love couple. Now they must begin a life together and yet apart, a life where they must pretend they are happy with their fate and not forever changed and disheartened by the cruelty of the Capitol. But the nation of Panem now sees in Katniss a true inspiration for revolution: she is someone who could save them all. But the Capitol is not full of dummies, and they threaten Katniss and Peeta to help squelch the seeds of rebellion before they begin to grow in the Districts and pose a problem forever.
Eventually, though, the only thing the Capitol feels it can do to punish the Districts once again for their disobedience to their power is to schedule a new kind of Hunger Games for the "Quarter Quell". The new scenario is that the tributes, or players, will come from the pool of former winners of the games. Because there are only 3 former winners from District 12 and one of them is an old, out-of-shape drunkard, Peeta and Katniss are once again sent into the arena to fight to the death others who have already won the games at some point in Panem's history.
Again there can only be ONE winner. Will Peeta once again protect Katniss from certain death, sacrificing himself? Or will Katniss now protect Peeta, a charismatic speaker and all-around wonderful human being, so that he can lead Panem into revolution? What of the other equally interesting characters/tributes Collins has created for this special Games? Will one of them be the sole survivor? You'll just have to read to find out.