Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
While the first book was a satire of reality TV (including the wrap up episode), this book is about the importance of controlling messaging and of revolution. Collins explores how The Capital controls what the districts see and know in an effort to limit the likelihood of rebellion. Having seen the Arab Spring and movements like the 99%, it’s clear that this book is one of the more realistic science fiction rebellion portrayals. (It really drives home the lack of the info wars in the canon star wars movies. Where are the accusations that the rebels are terrorists? )
Of course, like the previous book and surely the next one, there is the theme of trust. Who can be trusted in a rebellion? Who is a double agent? When these themes are properly explored (as in The Hunger Games), they strip away the romanticism of espionage away from what James Bond makes us think it is. Real life is more like the Afghan CIA source who gained their trust and then blew them up. Katniss has been through the ringer on this and it may break her.
Over all I think Collins has done a great job of casting a convincing scenario and set of characters that tell an entertaining story while being as realistic as she can be while still having the main character survive to the last book. (Although for a moment there I thought she was going to pull a Ned Stark)