Where to begin with this?
Well, for starters, I wasn’t as impressed by this story as I was the other two. Especially the first novel, which I was incredibly impressed by and enjoyed almost as much as the Harry Potter series (which I hold on a very high pedestal).
I liked the story and the concept of it. I just don’t think it was well executed.
For a lot of the scenes, Katniss is drugged and misses a majority of the action that takes place. The information that the reader is so desperately craving is given in short sentences fed to her by the people who actually were around to witness it. As a main character and the turning point that got the whole series going, you would think that Suzanna Collins would have given her the chance to be a part of the action for real. Not just propos which turn into real situations, but give her a proper chance to grow up.
A lot of the time, I found myself having to reread a sentence to be able to make heads or tails of where it actually came from. The whole factor of her listing things out as ‘actions’ happened in short, segregated sentences really threw me out of the immersion I had with the story.
A lot of the time, Katniss seemed incredibly whiny and all the self-deprecating comments that were thrown in about herself – though incredibly true in certain aspects – were depressing and not enjoyable to read. I understand that in a war, you aren’t going to feel the greatest about what you are doing. No one but a true soldier can tell you what feelings you get during and after war, but you can always tell from a gut feeling inside yourself when presented with a situation how you would react.
For myself, I know that I would have been terrified and on the brink of tears but I would have done my damned hardest to what I needed to do to keep everyone I loved safe. Katniss, though often requesting to go out and do things, practically succumbs to her puppet role every single time.
Swapping my focus, I found myself really hating Gale during this story. In some ways, I really hope that was the intended outcome for him during the war scenes because – compared to how he had been shown in the past – he was cold and calculating, and towards Katniss, very manipulating.
When he says that he knew she would kiss him, I wanted to slap him. I also wanted to slap Katniss but that’s a point I’ll get to later. Everything about him in this story just showed how you can turn a character into something different – he’s one character that I felt character development was actually done pretty well for. Not perfectly, but still decent. He was a leader and though I hated him, he made for a more interesting read.
Moving onto Peeta, in some ways I wanted him to get better but also not want to be with Katniss. When he was cold with her, mean, but open, I actually found myself liking him more. Disregarding his comment on her looks, everything he said was true and when Katniss agrees and says she hates him for it, I was overjoyed. It took brainwashing and torture for him to get some character development but it was soon taken away as he recovered, became so tethered to hurting himself to regain reality that what made him a good character was practically lost.
I hated the way that Katniss treated the guys. She practically strung them both along and then had the nerve to feel wounded when they spoke about it out loud. At one point she said that she could survive well enough without them, but the moment she said that I thought “okay, now are you going to stand to that or are we going to have a falling out?” and it turns out a falling out would happen if Katniss were a real person and I knew her.
She should have gone solo. Treated them as friends and said ‘no’. But she didn’t. I lost count of the kisses that flitted between the her and the guys. When they said “how will she choose”, I wanted at least one of them to turn around and say “I don’t want her”.
For this, I’m pleased that Gale went to 2 and stayed away. It was a nice ending for him to be doing something he liked, away from the girl who toyed with his emotions when she had no idea what was going on with her own.
Now for some of the deaths. 2 specifically. Finnick’s death seemed pointless to me. Like Collins decided to kill him off simply because she couldn’t think of what else to do with him. It was sudden and passed over so quickly that I had to look back over it to realise that he had been decapitated by the mutts. It felt so pointless and a waste of time – he was a failure of a character in my opinion. He was strong and good and funny in the second book, but in this one he was pathetic and weedy. If I knew the person I loved had been taken, could be in danger, being tortured, I wouldn’t completely lose my mind as he does – which is totally out of the blue seeing as he was practically fine on the airship at the end of the second book – I would have the will to fight, to get them back and never let them go.
Prim’s death was something that only got to me when Katniss was screaming at Buttercup. Before that, everything was so clinical and disjointed that even when the sentence “I watched my little sister turn into a human torch” doesn’t effect me. She was a background character, barely mentioned so it doesn’t really feel like a great loss…
Though it needs improving and more thought into character development, I really did like this book. I would recommend the entire series to anyone who likes dystopian fiction, battle royal type situations and all the rest that The Hunger Games represents. The character range is pretty fantastic, a very intriguing blend of characters that I love and hate in equal measures.