I get the point of this book in the series, I really do. This is where the rebellion catches fire, where everything starts anew, and that is the real point of the book. The problem is that part is extremely hard to tell in a first person perspective from someone who’s not actually in the rebellion. As a result, we see the glimpses Katniss sees, spread out unevenly and without enough details to make it exciting or interesting. The first two halfs of the book are like this, which drags the score to a 4/5 down to a 3.
Then comes the games. While the last book’s hunger games section focused on survival in the wilderness and defense, these hunger games focus on active war between the contestants as well as creative deduction. The idea for the new hunger games is clever and interesting, and it cleared my worries that Catching Fire would just be a repetition of Hunger Games.
The ending comes off somewhat deus ex machina, but not to a degree where it spoils the plot. The ending and the cliffhanger are much less anticlimactic than in The Hunger Games, which is a big plus.