Tagged: hunger games trilogy

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

(Cover picture courtesy of The Book Smugglers.)

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even through her home has been destroyed.  Gale has escaped.  Katniss’s family is safe.  Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.  District 13 really does exist.  There are rebels.  There are new leaders.  A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it.  District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol.  Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans—except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem.  To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust.  She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay—no matter what the personal cost.

I loved the Hunger Games trilogy up until this last book.  I wish it could have ended better, but it didn’t.

In Mockingjay, Katniss has transitioned from a strong, independent-minded protagonist to an annoying, whiny narrator.  All she really does throughout the novel is watch District 13 fight the Capitol and moan about how they’re using her as their symbol.  She dodges training sessions, which explains why the rebels are annoyed at her all of the time.  Katniss also angsts about how the rebels are using her, which I find annoying.  If you’re trying to overthrow an evil empire, which is more important: your independence or winning the war?  And if it takes being used to win, isn’t that worth it?

This might just be me, but I found the ending rather disappointing.  As if to demonstrate the total senselessness of war, Suzanne Collins kills of 90% of the characters we meet.  I can understand some deaths (after all, it is a war), but I don’t like how she killed off almost everyone, then wrote a ‘happy’ epilogue to stop her readers from tearing her to shreds.  To me, it’s reminiscent of how JK Rowling ended the Harry Potter series, then wrote a poorly-written hurried epilogue to placate her readers.

In some ways, I wish The Hunger Games had been a stand-alone novel.  What do you think?  Were you satisfied with the ending?  Or did it feel forced?  Please tell me in the comments below.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

(Cover picture courtesy of Suzanne Collin’s website.)

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games.  She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive.  Katniss should be relieved, happy even.  After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend Gale.  Yet nothing is as Katniss wishes it to be.  Gale holds her at an icy distance.  Peeta has turned his back on her completely.  And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol—a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop.  And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try.  As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever.  If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

Catching Fire is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and, like most second books, it is not nearly as good as the first book.  Don’t get me wrong—Catching Fire is still a decent novel in its own right.  But in the context of the series, it is not as good as the first book.

In Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins has broken her own rules (although there is a good reason for it) and centred it on the worst aspect of the first book: the romance.  Throughout the novel, Katniss seems to grow more found of Peeta, but she is hot and cold about it.  One minute, she ‘loves’ him, the next she hates him.  I understand that his happens in real life, but fiction is supposed to make sense and being stuck in Katniss’s point of view makes it very frustrating.

Katniss was a very strong female protagonist in The Hunger Games—and she still is in Catching Fire—but she does not change very much throughout the course of the novel.  The other characters like Peeta and Haymitch do get more backstory and change a bit, but Katniss remains static.  There is, however, a significant amount of development in Finnick, a minor character who suddenly gets a very interesting backstory.  If only Suzanne Collins had developed Katniss like she developed her minor characters in this novel.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

(Cover picture courtesy of Wikipedia.)

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survive, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Hunger Games is a book that has received quite a lot of hype from the media—and with good reason.  Both boys and girls alike can relate to Katniss’s struggle for survival and her love for her family.  Suzanne Collins has penned a well-written, fast-paced and engaging novel that certainly deserves to be remembered among the YA greats.

This novel is first and foremost a story of survival.  Katniss is a believable (if not completely sympathetic) character with a good motivation: to survive so she can go back and take care of her family.  The Hunger Games can also be seen as an allusion to the Roman Empire, what with its gruesome form of entertainment and the decadence of the Capitol while the districts suffer.  Students of Roman history will also recognize names like Cinna, Flavius and Octavia.  It can also be a commentary on how senseless violence is and the power of fear.  The Capitol holds the Games to strike fear in the districts, yet the deaths of 23 children for the sake of it is senseless.

The Hunger Games can also be read as a love story, but this is the one part of the novel that falls flat for me.  Peeta loves Katniss and will do anything to see her leave the arena, yet Katniss is prepared to kill him in order to survive.  Even near the end, when she supposedly feels a bit of affection toward him, it does not ring true.  It seems a bit rushed, like Suzanne Collins wanted to insert another subplot into her novel.  Despite this ‘romance’, The Hunger Games is an excellent novel that lets you see it in a different light every time you read it.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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