The first book is so gripping that I can't imagine not reading this second installment, but, although decent, it wasn't anywhere near as good as the first book. Katniss lacks the cleverness that got her through the first games and the plot contains too much same old same old to make it special.
I enjoyed the film version of this book and tried reading it a few years back but just couldn't get into it fully. I had a long car journey and decided to give the audio book a chance. I must say I was extremely pleased. Pullman and the cast really bring the story alive. It is one of the best read audio books I have ever listened to (and I've listened to a fair number). Every single voice was spot on. I highly recommend (but beware you will HAVE to get the next two books in the trilogy because there is no way you are going to be able to stop listening to this story).
The cast did an excellent job reading this story. Every voice was spot on. However, I didn't like this book nearly as well as The Northern Lights. There were aspects of it I really enjoyed but as a whole I found it less engaging and not nearly as satisfying. I think Pullman got a little too wrapped up in pushing his anti-religion view at the expense of the story.