Catching Fire is at least as addictive as The Hunger Games, and at least twice as derivative; in addition to absorbing large parts of Battle Royale, Susanne Collins is also ripping off herself this time around. The sequel offers up more or less the same story as the first book in the series (another round of the Hunger Games, more of the love triangle between Katniss and the boys who love her, more anger at The Capitol). That isn't entirely a bad thing.Time will tell whether this is the series' Empire Strikes Back or its Attack of the Clones. I don't mean the latter as an insult, though it's certainly a terrible movie. It's just that both films are darker than their predecessors (like this book) and end on big cliffhangers (like this book). We'll have to wait until [b:Mockingjay|7260188|Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)|Suzanne Collins|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41PuUigDokL._SL75_.jpg|8812783] to find out whether things are darkest before the dawn (Empire) or about to get a whole lot worse (Attack of the Clones). The answer is probably pretty obvious, but you never know -- this is easily the most violent book I've read in a while, and all bets are off.