Hunger Games, as shared in my post earlier this year after reading the book. (I also enjoyed the movie).
Not to my surprise after doing my post on the book (admittedly a little late to the party) I received a handful of comments addressing the second and third books, which in general either noted that these were not as good as the first in the series and that they were important to finishing the broader story.
I have just finished reading the second book in the series, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
Here's my initial thoughts on the book. (Some potential spoilers)
► Hunger Games was such a dynamic and intriguing book from the first page, I'm not surprised that getting into the second book was a little sludgy. There was the slight time gap from the end of book one, so there seemed like a lot of pressure to help fill in the gaps on the cast of characters. Collins seemed dedicated to catching us up perhaps more than necessary, I enjoy all the characters, but between Madge, people in the Hob, Haymitch, Gale and his family, Peeta and his family, and Katniss' family. It was all just a lot of catch up.
► This book at times, often at times, seemed like an emotional girls diary. I understand how the Gale and Peeta plot device works, and I don't need the main character spending the bulk of the book agonizing over how every moment might impact her ever changing emotional feelings towards her two male suitors.
► Due to issue addressed above ("the boy drama") the first half of the book drags.
► Due to the plot device used that puts Katniss back in the arena with Peeta the second half of the book seems sort of like deja vu. But at the same time is more interesting, just less suspenseful.
► The lack of suspense in the second half of the book is fact that I was pretty convinced that Suzanne Collins was so dedicated to her characters she wouldn't let anyone that survived book one, survive book two.
►In the last 50 or so pages, I found myself finally hooked (a little late), and found myself pretty intrigued with the direction of the book with some sense of surprise in the final set of pages.
► If the film makers can cut out the overkill girl/boy emotional drama, I think that Catching Fire could be a pretty good movie. I'll buy a ticket.