This book starts one month after the last one finishes. Katniss is displaced. Her home is obliterated. The few survivors of her district are now refugees somewhere that they believed no longer existed. Their new home is regimented, strict and confining .... Something that her very nature rebels against. Her head is still reeling with the impact of recent events. Her concussion makes focus difficult. However she hates the regime that now tries to rule her life and ......
Is tortured by the fact that Peeta is now a hostage of the Capitol (spelt correctly, with an O not an A). She knows the horror, the inhuman cruelty that those in power are capable of and Peeta is now in their hands! Katniss is still unclear how deep her feelings are for Peeta, is still confused by his and Gale's love ...... but she is tormented with thoughts of what Peeta must be going through. The rebel leader, Coin, is as ruthless and determined as Snow to grab and maintain power. Katniss is once more in demand. This time as a figure-head for the rebellion she unwittingly incited with her single act of rebellion, in her first foray into the arena.
Once more Katniss is in an arena ...... only this time the arena is the war being fought against the Capitol. Once more she is frightened by the threats against loved ones. Tortured by their pain. Once more she must choose allies from people that she doesn't trust.
The book builds steadily in tempo until the action becomes non stop and enthralling. Terrifying creatures are once again launched onto the unsuspecting. It seems that the people in power will do anything, no matter how cruel, to keep a grip on the nation that they rule.
The characters we have grown to love are forced to make difficult decisions. Question right from wrong. Does the end justify the means? What is an act of war and what is an act of cruelty? What decides whether mercy is kindness or foolishness?
The decisions drive Gale and Katniss apart. The two men who once claimed to love her, seem to now bear her at best indifference, at worse, hatred. Trust is a fragile, tenuous thing when people keep breaking it.
The violence escalates with the war and characters are lost that may shock and upset readers. However, the fact that not everyone survives made the story more realistic for me. I did guess who Katniss would kill, who would be her last kill. However, this did not spoil the story for me. This has been a wonderful series to read and I would heartily recommend it.