Following the events of the previous novel, a rebellion against the oppressive Capitol has begun, and Katniss and fellow tribute Peeta are forced to return to the arena in a special edition of the Hunger Games that none of the previous Hunger Game victors are ready for.
President Snow announces that, for the 75th Hunger Games, as part of the “Quarter Quell”, a special edition of the Games every quarter-century, tributes will be reaped from a pool of all living Victors of past Hunger Games.
Katniss is chosen as female tribute for District 12, due to being the only female winner from the district, and Haymitch is chosen as male tribute but Peeta volunteers in his place to protect Katniss.
Katniss and Peeta look for potential allies among the other tributes. Katniss befriends Finnick Odair, a 24-year-old man who successfully survived the Games at the age of 14, and Mags, Finnick’s 80-year-old mentor, both from District 4. She also meetsBeetee and Wiress, an older couple from District 3 who are said to be “exceptionally smart” and adept at working with electronics.
When the Games start, Katniss and Peeta form an impromptu alliance with Finnick and Mags. They try to find the arena’s perimeters, but Peeta runs into the force field at the edge, stopping his heart. Luckily, Finnick is able to perform CPR to revive him, although Peeta is weakened from the incident.
The Gamemakers has mutliple tricks in this version of the games, including killer monkeys and poisonous fog. Needless to say the characters have their work cut out for them in the arena this round.
Beetee soon creates a plan to harness the arena’s lightning to supposedly electrocute the rest of the career tributes.
Katniss directs the lightning at the force field’s control panel with an arrow tied to the wire, destroying the arena forcefield and resulting in her temporary paralysis.
When she wakes up, she is being transported to District 13: a place that is widely thought to no longer exist. She is joined by Finnick, Beetee, and Haymitch, but learns that Peeta and Johanna have been captured by the Capitol.
Katniss is informed that from the beginning, there had been a plan among most of the tributes, Haymitch, and head Gamemaker Plutarch who is secretly against the Capitol to break her and Peeta out of the arena.
The book ends with Katniss’ best friend, Gale, informing her that, although he escaped with her family, District 12 has been bombed and destroyed.