I'm almost finished with CATCHING FIRE. I have to read right when I get home from work because at bed time, my 14 YO takes it. I think I'll finish it tonight.
But here is why she is a genius:
The pacing. Action and then a breather. Action and then a breather. And within those breathers are important moments, interesting moments, tender moments, and there's never a time you don't want to keep reading.
The details. There are things in book two that wouldn't work if she hadn't laid the ground work in book one. How much plotting and planning went into the series before she wrote it, I wonder? I always think someday I might like to try a series, but then I think, how do you map it all out??? So much of the important stuff is in the details, and those for me usually come out as I'm writing.
The chapter endings. She is SO good at those cliff hanger chapter endings, so you want to keep reading. Again, this comes back to pacing and ending those chapters at the right place.
The characters. How is it possible that one moment I think Gale is the only one for Katniss and the next page I'm so in love with Peeta I decide I must be wrong about Gale? I mean, seriously, how does she DO that? When I'm done, I should reread the book JUST to study the characters. I have so much to learn.
I know it's not very nice of me to talk about this book before most others have had a chance to read it. But I think all of this applies to book 1 too, yes?