When I consider the Hunger Games Trilogy as a whole, the best illustration that comes to mind is the Matrix trilogy. The first one was amazing; mind-blowing, even.
The second one was rather disappointing, but you argued to yourself that it was difficult to love up to the first one, and that the second installments of trilogies often falter because they have the undesirable job of continuing the story of the first installment while drumming up interest in the final chapter.
Then, you watch the third one, and you’re completely disgusted by the way such a promising trilogy was inexplicably taken to the most ridiculous places, and you wish that they’d stopped with the first film.
This is exactly how I feel about the Hunger Games Trilogy. I sincerely and heartily wish that Suzanne Collins had written The Hunger Games as a stand-alone novel. I would think much more highly of it now if the thought of it didn’t immediately call to mind the putrid stench of the second and third books in the series.
Note to all aspiring authors: if you’re planning to write a series, you’d better make darned sure that the story you’re cooking up in that noodle of yours merits installments, and that you’re not just trying to drag one good idea out into three books. That’s just lazy.
Well, I suppose I’d better get into the meat of the book. I’m so disgusted with this volume that I’m not even going to bother flagging spoilers, so read ahead at your own risk.
Mockingjay begins with Katniss recovering from the injuries sustained at the end of Catching Fire. She has just sparked a massive rebellion in Panem, encompassing all of the Districts, and, in retaliation, the Capitol has razed her home, District Twelve, to the ground. Her family has survived, but Peeta Mellark, her fellow Champion/Tribute, is a prisoner of the Capitol. This volume deals with her new life in District Thirteen as the Mockingjay, a symbol of the rebellion.
She has to deal with the fame that comes with this position, as well as the burden of the rebellion’s morale. And, in all this, she’s still struggling with the personal problems of her love triangle with Peeta (who has been brainwashed to hate her) and Gale, her best friend.
My biggest issues with this book are as follows:
1. The book kinda just hums along until it’s time for the final siege on the Capitol, which is unnecessarily prolonged.
2. There are several main characters killed off for no reason other than to show you that people die in war. But what doesn’t really make sense to me is, if the rebellion’s best soldiers are unprepared enough to get caught in the lame situations that claim many of their lives, then how the heck is the reader to believe that the Rebels legitimately won the war? And there’s one character that gets the ax in such a blatant attempt to wring tears from the reader’s eyes that the only tears it got from me were because I rolled my eyes too far back into my head when I read it.
3. Least. Satisfying. Resolution. To a love triangle. EVER. Ms. Collins, don’t get your readers all ramped up about a love triangle and then end it with such a ridiculous whimper. It’s insulting. It was as though Collins had completely forgotten about that thread of the story and had to hastily wrap it up in whatever lame way she could concoct twelve hours before her deadline. It would almost have been better if Katniss had declared, “I choose ME.” And I hate “I choose ME.”
I’d say that the first book in the series was worth the read. But, unfortunately, if you’re OCD about completing series like I am, you’ll end up reading all of them, which is a shame, because the taint of the other two books will likely ruin your memories of the first.