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31 August 2010


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Hear, hear! Yes, she stayed true to the characters.

I was not Team Peeta but neither was I Team Gale. I wasn't a big Peeta fan but that's because he seemed too...good. Too unrattled. It was really only after his stay in the Capitol where they messed him up completely that I kind of started to like him. It was like, for me, it balanced him a bit. (I do kind of question his ability to be so healed that he he's able to be with Katniss but I'll just go with it.)

And with Prim...she really was Katniss' true weakness. Not Peeta, like was discussed in District 13. Katniss would risk almost anything to save Peeta, but for Prim she's risk her whole self.

The epilogue... I kind of hate epilogues like that in general but it puts the question of what happened and if there will be another book in the future out of the question. I appreciate that.



What did you think about Katniss shooting Coin instead of Snow? And her vote YES for the new Hunger Games? I've heard a crazy amounts of for and against, curious what your thoughts are.


Sassymonkey: Yes. For me, Peeta getting broken -- as well as finally seeing Katniss' flaws -- made him a stronger character.

Nicole: When she first voted yes for the new Hunger Games, as she looked at the rose, I kind of felt like she'd made her decision about taking out Coin. I'm not positive, of course, but I did get the feeling that she was allowing Coin enough rope, if that makes sense. But I was pretty sure it would go that way anyway once Coin started showing her true colors and once the mode of execution was revealed. It kind of... had to happen to bring it all full circle to Katniss' action during that first Hunger Games training session.


THANK YOU for posting about Mockingjay! I've had it finished for almost a week and no one to talk to about it. I really enjoyed the book although unlike the last two, I could put it down to eat and sleep (probably because I needed to step away for short bit to regroup.)

Finnick's death really hurt me, even more than Prim's and after thinking about it, maybe because I was already numb at that point? It just seemed pointless and I was MAD he went out to fight after finding happiness with Annie. But it makes sense why he did it in the grand scheme of things and also is in character. Guess I cared more about him than I thought...
My biggest question is Katniss voting for another Hunger Games, I figured she did it to test President Coin but upon further reflection saying it was "for Prim" makes he wonder if briefly she turned into what she hated, someone more like Gale.
Also, I've read some scathing remarks about how manipulative Gale was towards Katniss and I just didn't see it like that. They both just reacted to the rebellion and war in different ways. It had been set up in the last two books with Gale spouting off about the Capitol and wanting to fight so I just saw it as a natural progression of his character and that he could never really understand the horror of what Katniss endured and how it changed her being in the Hunger Games. Unlike Peeta and Finnick and even Haymitch.

Obviously, I had a lot to talk about (ya think?) and although the epilogue seemed a like cheesey, I absolutely LOVED the last lines of the book with the exchange between Peeta and Katniss so didn't fault it too much.

Kudos to Collins for not taking an easier way out.


Couldn't agree more with your assessment! Thanks for putting it so well. Just started following this blog...are you (and other commenters) always so right-on? ;)


When I first finished this book I was disappointed....for about a split second....then it all sunk in and I felt much the same way you do: the ending was completely in keeping with the books, and was VERY satisfying. My husband and I have spent a lot of time talking about the role of propaganda in this trilogy, and how it impacted the psychology of all the Games participants.... I really loved this last book; as I said I completely agree with you that Collins is so very masterful in keeping things in character and keeping the character of the books together.

Emily CC

Oh, I'm so glad you've finally posted about Mockingjay. I'm double-glad because I pretty much agree with you about everything, and our side doesn't seem to be the prevailing side on the interwebs. I wrote a whole post about this over on my (brand new) blog, so I just have a few comments--I've read some complaints that Katniss' life with Peeta is too domestic, too boring for her, but I think that's a silly complaint. Katniss never wanted excitement. From the very beginning she's made it clear that she wants no part in the games, in the rebellion--those are roles that were thrust upon her by other people. All she's ever wanted is a quiet life in the woods of 12, and with Peeta, that's exactly what she'll have. And man, that was the saddest happy ending ever--they're both so worn down, so broken, and even with the (kind of unnecessary) epilogue, it's hard for me to imagine either of them whole again, even together. I think that's what I feel so depressed about the whole thing days later. Especially Peeta. I'm re-reading Catching FIre (don't have my own copy of Hunger Games) just to spend a little more time with lovely, whole, sweet Peeta. To satisfying the squee-ing twelve year old in me, I could have used a few more deets or one last real love scene, but I think the ending was appropriate to the overall tone of the books.

Re: Katniss voting for the final Hunger Games. Hubby and I have decided that it was the moment she decided to kill Coin, and so both she and Haymitch voted for them in order to stay in Coin's good graces just a little longer. It took me a bit to figure that out, though.

As far as the deaths go....I wasn't too surprised about Boggs. I mean, he just seemed the type. I was shocked by Finnick's--we were reading it aloud and I made hubby stop because I couldn't believe. And oh, Prim. How completely, totally unfair -- a gutsy move on Collin's part, but necessary, I think, to her points about the consequences of war.

Ok, this comment is getting long....loved your post, thanks so much!


@ Emily CC: I feel just the same about it being "the saddest happy ending ever." Even though there was a hopefulness about it, as you said, Katniss and Peeta are broken and will not ever fully heal. I felt like Suzanne Collins ended the series very well, but it will always make me sad to think of how it ends.
On Katniss's vote for the Hunger Games, I felt like she was giving in to anger at that point. It seemed to me as if her decision to shoot President Coin was as spur of the moment as most of her other decisions through the series. I could be wrong, though--I'd like to be wrong, because I can't imagine why Katniss would ever want to send another child into the horror of the Hunger Games.


Re: Prim's death, the whole point of the book (in my opinion) was that war hurts innocents, and Prim was the ultimate innocent since nobody ever had anything but good things to say about her. I think it was necessary to the plot and I don't think it invalidated Katniss' original sacrifice at all, because after Prim died, Katniss essentially ended the Hunger Games forever, partly because of her.


Yes, that's what I thought about her YES vote. (@Emily CC as well). I felt like it was her final ACT, as the Mockingjay. Which is what makes Haymitch's response so powerful - I'm with the Mockingjay.


Agreed. Thanks for the great review. I would have been disappointed if the series had been wrapped up in a pat way with everybody shiny and happy and in love. I'm satisfied with the complete series. And when that part in Serenity happened... oh man. Sudden, messy, sad, like real life.


Great review! I thought Mockingjay was a satisfying conclusion for much of the same reasons. I thoroughly enjoyed it--even the parts I didn't really "enjoy". I'm glad that this series is getting so much adult attention... and hoping that grownups will not just think of Twilight when they think of YA...


So here I am, the opposing side... I'm one of the few people who didn't like this series much at all, though it did have its moments. What sealed it for me was reading Mockingjay. I thought Catching Fire was better than The Hunger Games, so I was prepared for Mockinjay to be better - but it wasn't. And my main problem is that I see no growth in Katniss as a person. She stays the same person from book one to the end of book three. And since I didn't like her in book one, I really didn't like her in book three.

(I also think that the concept isn't original, and that the deaths were not dealt with very well, and that the pacing was off at some points, but - yeah. I see why people like it, but it didn't work for me.)

Beth F

Very interesting. What's really interesting is that I had a completely different take and my disappointment was not really where you predicted it be. But each spoiler post I read convinces me that the book succeeded -- because we are having such a discussion. I posted my detailed thoughts today on my blog and won't repeat them here. But my biggest disagreement with you would have to be that I don't think the characters stayed true to themselves by the end. Isn't it interesting that there are so many takes on the same book?


This is exactly what I said in my long spoilery post too. I love the way this book played out.




Perfect review. This is exactly how I felt about everything! I'm annoyed at everyone who dislikes this book, as childish as that is. I can't help it.


Wow, I completely agree with your review. Thank you for so succinctly putting it into words.

Kelly Fineman

To answer your final question: First cousin once removed.

Great points, all. Hooray for consistency!


Wow. I agree with every point in your review. As for Finnick's death - it was horrible and desperately sad, but people fall in war. They fall without glory or grand gestures or time for others to mourn them at once.

Speaking of character deaths, I confess I was hoping that somehow, some way, Cinna made it through. No such luck. Buttercup did, though, and I was more than a bit happy-yet-sad-about-Prim weepy over that.

Oh, and I was on vacation with family when the book came out. I pre-ordered two copies to be sent to my hotel: one for me, and one for the eleven year old niece I got hooked on the series when I loaned her my ARC of the first book. She was gobsmacked when I handed MOCKINGJAY to her; I was a hero. :)


You really put into words everything I was feeling about the book but couldn't really express. I personally loved the entire thing, and the ending is what was right. It was subdued but it wasn't slow paced for me and all the decisions Suzanne Collins made with the story and with the characters made sense to me.


Yours is the first spoilers post I've read since finishing the book last night, and I'm kind of surprised that people are upset about Prim. Okay, that's wrong, obviously we're all UPSET about Prim, but it seemed to me that it made the most sense, of all the main characters she could have killed off (and personally I expected MORE of the main characters to get killed off), that was the most poignant and circular-- the one person she'd been trying to protect from the beginning, the one truest innocent. What, people didn't expect gutwrenching when they picked this up? I would have been very disappointed in the book as a BOOK if it had a totally happy ending. (The ending was actually a lot happier than I expected it to be!) It's about war and atrocities-- Collins has said as much. My husband is a big war-movie guy. I suppose I was conditioned to know what to expect....


Of course I loved your review, Leila. Thank you for writing it! I read somewhere that Suzanne Collin's father was in Vietnam. Somehow, that really helps me understand these Hunger Games books. Several months ago I read that new, buzz-worthy Vietnam book Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes (highly recommended, but not for the faint of heart!). I see a lot of parallels between that very real Vietnam book and the "fantasy" Hunger Games series. So, yeah, it was awful when Finnick died, and I was hoping Cinna would mysteriously reappear, too. But, Collins does an outstanding job keeping it real.


Literally just finished Mockingjay, and definitely agree with this review. I think Collins presented war and its effects so honestly. I'd been Team Gale until this book, and what Leila says is true--Katniss needed someone to heal with. And I love that Collins doesn't pretend that Katniss is ever going to be totally okay. That's part of war, and a fantastic reason why young readers need to read this book.

Of course, all the deaths wrecked me. Worse than the last Harry Potter, seriously.


Thaaaaaaank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Articulated a lot of what I floundered around saying on my own blog about this book.

I've always been Team Peeta, not just because he loves her so much, but also because he's a creative and nurturing person, which is what she really, really needs to patch up all the holes that the Hunger Games and its afteraffects poked in her soul. Gale is a hunter; he literally kills for a living. She's killed too much. It has to end.

I tried to find a way to say this in my review but couldn't. There's a discussion between Peeta and Gale late in the book where Gale says, cynically but honestly, that Katniss will pick whoever will help her survive. And this is TRUE. And she DOES. That does not mean that her life with Peeta is somehow less valid or less rooted in love.


Loved your review! I total agree with you 100%!!!


I haven't read this book yet. Sound so interesting. hear this before. this is a must buy! Thank you for posting!

Nicole Roohi

I've been really interested to read all these comments because this book has made me think a lot. I liked it and think it was an appropriate ending. However, as a middle school librarian, I can tell you that my students HATE it. Universally. They didn't like the way it ended, and they didn't like the fact that she went with Peeta. I find it interesting that younger people are team Gale. I suppose it makes sense that they do not understand the war story aspects of this book. To me, it has just shown that although the first two books of the trilogy may appeal to 11 and up, the last book is really for 15 and up. Has anyone else experienced this?


If you say Katniss has not changed, you are wrong. Do you think Katiniss is the same girl that volunteered for her sister in the 1st book? No, she is not. The arena and her experiences have changed her very much.


Man, great review. I was so bummed with the book because it was too realistic. I mean, you are right...she would be messed up and would need to heal. I think you are also right that I applaud Ms Collins for sticking to her guns and probably pissing off a lot of people. I still wanted revenge and Katniss to kick butt but I guess that's just not how it works.

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