As with my most re-reads of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire I’m realizing (once again) how much things change between re-reads based on where you are in your life, what you’re doing in life and any other number of uncontrollable factors. Looking back on my original review in September 2010, I see that my thoughts haven’t changed too much, but my understanding and appreciation of Collins’ storytelling/building has increased.
I’ll go ahead and get my major gripe of Catching Fire and Mockingjay out-of-the-way: these were not two books, they were one book that was split into two. They had to have been! And I can’t imagine the movie studio splitting the third book into two films unless they are going to add in a lot of additional information that is missing from the series. I mean sure, the books have contained beginnings, middles and ends, but the two books cannot stand alone because their plots are in essence the same plot. In comparison you have the encapsulated first novel. As with the last two reviews don’t read past here if you don’t want anything revealed! (AKA SPOILERS!)
As with the last time I read Mockingjay, the biggest thing that I’ve taken away is the psychological aspect of this final novel and the toll the war takes on all the characters we’ve grown fond of in the past few books. Collins may not be an author or reader’s author, but she is definitely a fascinating author and you have to wonder where her ideas came from for this series, especially this final installment. The trauma that she puts her characters through and their reactions are fascinating, especially the denouement of this series.
The two things I had the strongest reaction to the first time around I didn’t have the same reaction to this time. Katniss’ decision on the 76th Hunger Games and her successful assassination at the end of the story did not leave me as enraged as they did the first time I read the novels. This I think comes from my being three years older and having experienced so much more of life. I now, and then, think she made the correct decision for both of her choices and I see that logically now whereas before I only felt her decisions were correct. It’s hard to explain but decisions like these have to be made after any war and have to be made in such a way as to appease the masses while simultaneously keeping those who lost not so downtrodden as to spark another rebellion.
Now back to why I think this series would’ve only improved with a third novel: exposition. The last two novels although drawn out were so jam-packed with action that there are so many questions unanswered! As I said in my Catching Fire response I rarely want a compendium or addendum book in a series, but in this case I would VERY much like one. Not only how the 75 victors won their games, but also how the surviving victors (prior to the rebellion) ended up dead and only seven of them having survived the rebellion. There were so many things that just left me wanting more even with a 20ish year later epilogue!
Recommendation: You should definitely check out this series. It’s a fascinating look and social commentary on society’s obsession with television and live broadcasting ridiculous events.
Opening Line: “I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.”
Closing Line: “But there are much worse games to play.” (Whited out.)