Genre: YA Literature/Dystopia
Summary (off Goodreads): Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.
Ok, so there are going to be MAJOR SPOILERS in this review, but if you’ve read it, I want you to read it, because collecting my thoughts has been kind of hard (even though this is the third time I’m writing this because Goodreads kept deleting it.) It’s what my YA lit professor used to call a visceral response. Also, I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads (remember that when you read the review.)
Really, I want to give this book three and a half stars, but A. Goodreads doesn’t allow for that and B. when you’re rating the final book in a series I feel like you’re also rating the series and the series was definitely a four stars kind of series.
So, the things that I liked about this series. I like that we are introduced to so many new characters. I loved Boggs. I thought he was a great addition. I liked Coin (believe it or not.) You need new bad guys just as much as you need new good guys. I liked that we got to see so many people from the other districts, even if for a brief moment in time, because it really let you get a feel for what Panem is like, even during this time of turmoil.
I like that we got a chance to know characters better. We got to see Beetee and what he can really do when he’s given things to work with. We got to see Gale, who, honestly, we hadn’t really gotten to see up until this book. What did we know about him other than he adored Katniss? I like that we got to see who he was. We got to meet Annie, if only for a moment and we met Delly Cartwright, who was mentioned to us only in passing earlier and ended up being a great character. We even got to see Prim, oh God, dear Prim. We got to see her grow, have passions, and begin to turn into the woman that she might have become.
I really liked the friendship that developed between Katniss and Finnick during this book. In some ways, I feel like they’re more alike than anyone else. Both of them had their significant others taken from them, both of them were in the games more than the others, both of them had been used brutally by Snow and both of them were slowly losing their minds. Somehow, I think the two of them brought each other out of their madness. I think it was this friendship that helped Finnick, not just Annie’s return (though, obviously, that didn’t hurt.)
I love Haymitch. I think he is my absolutely favorite character in the whole book. I feel like he’s the only person who has Katniss’s best interest in mind. I think he’s the only person who’s ever really honest with her. Ok, yes, there’s that part in book two when he doesn’t tell her about the rebellion, but at the end of the day, I don’t think he was looking to make her a pawn, I honestly think he did it to protect her. And when she confronted him about Peeta, he didn’t hesitate to confront her about Peeta and why she let him out of her site in the Arena. And Katniss always goes to him when she needs clarity. I really think that Haymitch was the best thing for her and the one who stuck by her every last step of the way.
Things that I didn’t like: I didn't like that the Katniss I fell in love with in book one was almost nonexistent by book three. Collins had put her through so much, some of it so ridiculously unnecessary, that she wasn’t that badass girl who was sensitive yet stood up for what she believed in by book three. She was a broken shell of what she had been and I don’t like seeing my characters so completely ruined.
Why Prim? What was behind killing Prim? It just seemed like SUCH a plot device to me. What, just so Katniss had a reason to kill Coin later? I hated that she had to die. So much ended up being taken from Katniss. Her freedom when she was thrown into the games, then her decisions of even things like who she was going to love, then what she was going to do, being forced into being the face of the rebellion. In the end she lost friends she had made, Boggs and Finnick, and even the ones that didn’t die she lost, like Gale going to District 2.
I hated that too. Gale and Katniss’s relationship just fell further and further apart, and it killed me. Was she really not allowed to have anything? Because when she went back to 12 she essentially lost her mother too, who couldn’t bear to face 12. Katniss lost everything and I just can’t stand that. It seemed too over the top to me. Why take this strong character and rip everything away from her? Why turn her almost unrecognizable?
I also didn’t like how Cinna was killed off-screen. Last we saw of him he was beat up and dragged away. Then I start the third book and he’s dead. I never got any sort of closure with him and the whole time, in book three, I’m kind of waiting for him to show up, like they had it wrong. When he didn’t, I was a little disappointed. More than a little. A whole freakin’ lot.
Overall, the book was still wonderfully written, though. The series, despite its dubious end was still really good and even though I was MAD about Prim’s death, I was still sobbing through the final thirty or so pages of the book. I would definitely recommend the book to everyone, sooner, rather than later.
Currently Reading: Flirtin' With the Monster: Your Favorite Authors on Ellen Hopkin's Crank and Glass by Ellen Hopkins & Map of Time by Felix J. Palma