Warning: Tons of spoilers.
After my review of the previous two books in the Hunger Games series, I didn’t have high hopes for book three.
While Hunger Games was mind blowing, Catching Fire left me underwhelmed, somewhat confused, and my growing annoyance with Katniss was interfering with my ability to not defecate all over the pages…which would have been bad, as I’m reading it on a Kindle.
Book three started off the same, Katniss living in the underground society of District 13, having no idea where the fuck Peeta is, flirting with Gale, overreacting to everything, and having a total disregard for basically anything anyone else asked her to do.
Katniss is bratty, anti-social, volatile, confusing and strong in a way I cannot even come close to understanding. Some pages I adore her, others I want to put her in time out.
I try to remind myself, Brittany, she was twice put into a death game where she had to murder children in order to survive after previously living in poverty and starvation, but at this point in the book, who the fuck hasn’t?
It’s like they plopped an angsty Angela Chase smack dab in the middle of a post apocalyptic society at war, and all she wanted to do was dye her hair with kool-aid and make her friends call Jordan Catalano and hang up when he answered.
But unlike Catching Fire, wherein I felt nothing was explained, everything was rushed, and I had no real clue who anybody was, Mockingjay finally, finally, gave me some characters to grasp onto.
It’s like Suzzane Collins woke up one day and realized, OMG there are other people in this book, y’all, Imma tell you about them.
OMG Finnick Odair. My love for Finnick knows no boundaries. He was the most engaging former male prostitute ever, and his love story, while never actually explained (shocker), was sweet. I hated the way he died, I hated that it wasn’t mourned the way Rue was, and I hated that we never saw the aftermath of his killing.
Grown Ass Prim. Ok yeah, so I still basically know more about her ugly cat than I do her, but at least she steps up in a limited capacity to be the adult in this situation. You know, so Katniss, much like her mother (here’s some irony for ya), can go about their own personal miseries and bitter tantrums uninterrupted by actual human responsibility. I actually liked the storyline in which she died, it was the perfect arc, I just wish I knew more about her so maybe I could have felt the weight of it.
Sober Haymitch. Knowing Haymitch is being played by Woody Harrelson really helps me not picture Haymitch as drunk Hagrid. In this book, he’s sober and more involved in the war process, but only so much as, once again, being Katniss’ mentor, and making decisions that involve things like forethought and goals.
Boggs. It’s a shame you don’t know until he dies that Bogg’s is a way cooler character than he first appears.
Hijacked Peeta. I love Peeta, and the television spots the Capitol aired seemed in step with the plot, and I even liked the little warning he gave them about the bombing. But then, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED!? He’s been getting hijacked by wasp venom this whole time and now he’s fucking crazy, really? Because 1. that doesn’t even make sense, he was perfectly lucid and caring in all his Capitol interviews, and 2. THIS IS STUPID. Don’t get me wrong, I get wanting to punch Katniss in the face. Honestly, I don’t understand why he even likes her, because he sounds like a wonderful person, and she’s a dick who, by the constant descriptions from the beauty team, is apparently hairy as fuck.
President Coin. Ok here’s the deal, it wasn’t exactly a well kept secret what Coin’s intentions were. And sure, she’s douchey, but I can’t help but understand her frustration with Katniss the entire first half of the book. They are at war, people are dying, and Katniss is going all Naomi Campbell up in there about putting on a fucking jumpsuit and inspiring people in front of the camera.
Toward the end, things start to get kinda rushed and messy. There was some lady who looked like a cat, Snow makes a barricade of children, no real action happens, then bombs come, Prim dies…honestly, it all came so fast, I had to reread it three times. I don’t know, maybe Collins had to write this from her own Hunger Games? Where they put a bunch of young adult authors in an arena, and they have to hurry and finish a book super fast before they’re thrown into a giant hamster ball with a half tiger-half tyrannosaurus rex mutant monster.
I mean, this totally explains the Anne of Green Gables series, because everyone knows that ended like shit.
So, Snow tells her what we all already knew, Coin proposes to do a Hunger Games using Capitol kids (yeah, this basically defeats the entire point of this series.), Katniss kills Coin, and boom, here we are again, hearing a muddy retelling of things from a hazey and butt-hurt Katniss in a hospital bed.
Haymitch comes in, says her trial is over, and they are being sent back to District 12. AWESOME! What trial? Do people know why she killed Coin? Were they pissed? How did Snow die? What’s the new government going to be like? Are the Capital people and District people getting along? People are living in District 12 again?
Gale comes to say goodbye to Katniss. Naturally, have blown her sister and a bunch of small children into teeny tiny pieces, Katniss feels like maybe she would never be able to get over that. Well, duh. The only time Gale came alive this entire series was when he was working along Beetee doing military stuff. And since Katniss has, in general, a distaste for authority, war and other people, it should come as no surprise they don’t end up together.
It would, however, have been nice to know more about what the hell he went on to do, aside from the vague, he’s in District 2 doing TV stuff. Like what? The Weather? Drawing Lottery Balls? I have no idea what that means, and he was a major character in this story.
Alright so, long story short, Peeta returns to District 12, plants primroses along Katniss’ home, and despite the fact that she looks and smells like she’s been touring with Phish for six months, he loves her. Like always.
Collins then spent the next page in a half explaining the way Katniss realized it was Peeta she loved, and they, with Haymitch make a scrapbook, and Peeta and Katniss end up having kids that play in meadows.
So, besides the fact that I have a zillion unanswered questions.
You will be shocked to learn…I liked Mockingjay.
No seriously, I did.
Hunger Games is clearly the best of the trio. It was so imaginative, and made me face some really uncomfortable themes, but I loved it. The last two books stopped pushing that envelope, and seemed to be violent just for the sake of being violent at times.
In fact, the second book was wasted on me entirely.
But, at least with book three, I learned some of the things I wanted to know, and the ending, while short and way too choppy, made sense to me.
Now that I am finished, I have nothing to do but be super excited for the first movie in March, if only so that I can put an accurate voice to the sex dreams I’m having about Peeta and those baggies you use to squirt frosting onto cakes. Right now he just sounds like Morgan Freeman.
(That’s my default dream guy voice. Girls always just sound like the British lady inside my car’s GPS system.)