The Hunger Games was a good book. Strong characters, slightly different to what was being written at the time for young adults, interesting twists. Catching Fire was a poor sequel. Nothing too original to boast, a love triangle, some new world issues and an easy to read pace. Happily for me, Mockingjay was a darker, murkier version of the original novel.
My favourite element is Katniss, she perseveres and reacts in such a human way to the events that happen to her and around her that I have new found respect for the author. Suzanne Collins has left her hero somewhat real, sure she’s brilliant in ways most people can only hope to be, but she is human underneath her tough exterior. She’s less concerned with her love life and more with the fate of human lives.
War is merciless appears to be the running theme. Death is irreversible and as Katniss struggles with this idea, she’s forced to think about who her friends are and who might have another agenda. The story is one of sadness and the extremes people go to for what they believe is right – but is one extreme better than the other?
Is the rebel district 13’s way of life superior or better for humanity than how the Capitol runs its world? They live in fear, under constant control and by routine. The people of the Capitol live similarly: accepting how things work and not arguing with the way their world is organized. Collins presents some interesting ideas and some portions resonate with elements found in George Orwell’s works.
The epilogue deserves a mention; it isn’t romanticized, there are no eternal happy endings in Katniss’ world but there is a conclusion of sorts. If Collins had made everything rosy and healthy I would have been greatly disappointed. But she doesn’t thank heavens, we are left with an end to the war but uncertainty in its future. Wars aren’t waged by people but governments and organizations. The author drives home this point that its the people who suffer ultimately and they who must work towards not allowing such kind of power to come into existence.
The only flaw for me is the darkening of Peeta, this is more on a personal level as a reader who enjoyed cheerful, light-hearted Peeta, than as a reviewer. His character of course did need to find himself trapped in the world of war, but I was dismayed when his darker side surfaced. He was such a ray of sunshine when things grew murky in the other books that the change was a startlingly strong element of surprise.