31 August 2010

Thoughts: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Spoilers)

*~*~*~*~*~Spoilers Abound~*~*~*~*~*

I am going to make the assumption that anyone reading this post has already read Mockingjay or doesn't mind spoilers. This is not a review but a compilation of my thoughts about the last in a much-loved trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Let me start this post off by saying that that I loved much in the first, say, 85 percent of the novel. I had some issues (outlined below), but I was going with the story and Collins's choices. Until we started closing in on the end. Then, well, I had problems. So many problems that I ended feeling disappointed in the book.

Let me also say that my own anticipation and personal expectations for the novel were high. Perhaps too high. Maybe I would have had an easier time with the book if I hadn't eagerly awaited my copy and then zipped through it in one day. Maybe I'm a bit outside the demographic for this novel.

Finally, any book and trilogy that creates so much discussion among bloggers and readers is a hit with me. And almost everyone else loved Mockingjay and loved the ending. I absolutely enjoyed the series and still recommend the books.

But enough of the disclaimers. Let me tell you what I really thought.

Katniss: I know that Katniss had been through a lot. She was plucked out of the arena and whisked off to District 13 and was mentally and physically battered. On the other hand, I felt that she spent most of the book either drugged up / sedated or acting like a spoiled brat. She certainly didn't act like much of leader and was often missing the solid strength we saw in her in the earlier books.

Peeta: First, what could have been a great story line--Peeta's mental highjacking--just seemed to fizzle out. Second, his relationship with Katniss was not strengthened in the novel, making the ending (more on that later) weaker. Third, one baffling question is why he was allowed to go to the Capitol at the end. Surely there was at least one other person who knew the ins and outs of the place. It was unclear how Peeta suddenly became trustworthy or cured.

Gale: I was confused about Gale's transformation from a rebel hero into a government-loving, weapons-producing soldier. It bothered me so much when he was mean to Katniss that I was pulled right out of the story. After all, he was the guy who taught her how to hunt, who was her and her family's salvation for almost a decade, who saved her family from the destruction of District 12, who was the one person Katniss could trust, and the one who always had her back. I didn't think Katniss had to end up with Gale, but I can't understand why his personality had to be changed.

Prim: Yes, of course, there is collateral damage in any war. But there was no reason to kill Prim. With her death came the end of hope for the future, but this was not carried through in the novel because Katniss finds a fairy tale way out of that hopelessness (more on that later). I think Prim should have been allowed to live and become a doctor. I wonder if she was killed to try to make us hate Gale.

Gaps: Because the story is told through Katniss's eyes and because she is sedated and in the hospital most of the time, we are left with many gaps in the story line. I was disappointed and felt there were too many solutions that happened off the pages.

Ending: There were several things I didn't like about the ending, but I'll mention only a few issues here. First, I should comment that my dissatisfaction does not have anything to do with Katniss not ending up with Gale.
  • Gale getting captured: An awesomely dramatic and fully believable and stunning scene would have been for Katniss to have shot Gale with an arrow when he got caught. They promised each other to do that, and she should have done it. Oh wow, would that have been heartbreaking and so emotional.
  • Gale ending up in District 2 working for the government and appearing on television. This was hard for me to understand. He was absolutely not a city person. The Gale we used to know, the one who defied the government since he was quite young, the one who wanted to take his chances in the wilderness or in District 13, the great hunter--he was unlikely to end up in a city. If Collins didn't want to kill him or let him be with Katniss, she should have had him disappear into the woods. Then Katniss could visit their rock every once in a while to look for signs of her oldest and closest and most trusted friend.
  • Gale and his (non)part in Prim's death: I find it hard to believe that Katniss would turn her back on everything that Gale ever did for her and her family because one of his ideas was used in a battle and Prim died. Did the wives and girlfriends (husbands and boyfriends) of every physicist whose work helped create the atom bomb reject their spouses? Or did they help their mates and friends get over their distress and guilt that they may have caused innocent deaths? Is Katniss that incapable of seeing the situation from Gale's point of view?
  • Peeta: When Peeta was brought back from the Capitol and tried to murder Katniss (making it so she had to be drugged up yet again), all the medical and psychological experts expressed the belief that he would never truly be cured. After he bakes a cake, however, everyone suddenly thinks he is safe. I must have missed something.
  • Katniss: It is totally unrealistic that Katniss didn't leave her kitchen for months on end. I find it hard to accept that no one would have coaxed her outside or to her bedroom. I don't think she would have slept in the kitchen. If she was that bad off, someone should have given her drugs or counseling.
  • Katniss in solitude: I totally understand that Katniss went home and did not want to be in the limelight to be used as the mockingjay anymore. But it is hard to believe that not one single person, not one television reporter sought her out. I doubt she would have been immediately forgotten and the whole mockingjay icon would have just vanished. It is difficult for me to accept that the public, the other winners, and even her own mother would reject her and forget about her.
But it is the very end, the epilogue, that I really dislike. Here's the message the book sends to young girls (as I see it):
A guy can almost kill you, say he's sorry, claim he's cured (despite the doubts of the experts), and declare his love for you, and you should welcome him into your house and into your bed. Because he's acted romantic and loving in the past, what's a little strangulation if he says he's sorry and won't do it again? You can be adamant about not wanting to have children, but if that same guy wants kids, you naturally do what he wants, never mind what you think is right for you. And you obey because there are only two futures: (1) spending your life hidden in your house, alone and in despair, or (2) getting married and having kids. Yes, it's only by sleeping next to a person who tried to kill you and who talked you into having children that you will find true and lasting peace.
Not the message I would want my daughter to have. I will be having serious discussions with my fifteen-year-old niece when she finishes the book. I do not want her to think that is okay to be manipulated and cowed by a man who claims to love you.

If any of you are still talking to me, let me know what you think.


Sandy Nawrot 8/31/10, 6:16 AM  

I didn't read your review except for that last sentence or two. Yikes! I had gotten wind that there were questionable things in this last book, but my kids and I are invested and we just started the audio. It is good to know at least that I need to keep my eyes/ears open for negative messages, especially for my daughter!

Jenn's Bookshelves 8/31/10, 7:52 AM  

AMEN! You've summed up my thoughts as well. I was very disappointed in what Collins did to Katniss. In the previous books, Katniss went through a transformation and became an incredibly strong young woman. Collins pretty much eliminated all of that in the last part of the book.

Amy 8/31/10, 8:02 AM  

Hear, hear! I agree with all your points. And hadn't considered the last one you make but ick, how, how, how did I miss that?!

I really feel that Gale was written out of the novel in this one by having his personality completely changed. Also, Katniss being drugged for so long? Not so good either.

Jen - Devourer of Books 8/31/10, 8:04 AM  

I really agree with some of what you said, especially Katniss being drugged all of the time - what a snoozefest that was! It was also a lazy, expository way to advance the story. I'm not sure why I didn't mention mention it in my 'review' because it really bothered me.

I definitely didn't read the ending like you did. The Gale thing, like we talked about earlier, I read as her realization that they had fundamentally philosophies with regards to collateral damage that made them ultimately incompatible after everything Katniss had seen in the Games. It wasn't that she turned her back on him, I thought she still had affection for him, but she knew they couldn't be together, and he seemed to agree.

As to her life with Peeta, I loved her realization that, even had nothing happened with Gale, Peeta was the one whose personality best complimented hers (I think she and Gale were too similar for a long term romantic relationship). He spent the better part of two years trying to protect Katniss at his own expense, had loved her for years and years. I don't think he can be held responsible for what he did while brainwashed. It seemed like they started slowly, letting Katniss test things out, and that his love for her was able to overcome the brainwashing. I actually really love that he was able to make her feel safe enough to have kids, since the only reason she didn't want them in the first place was because she was too afraid they would be manipulated and killed by the Capital in the Hunger Games.

Unknown 8/31/10, 8:07 AM  

So interesting!! This is the first blow by blow that I've read, though I have discussed with friends.

First--though I don't think you have "sour grapes" because your guy didn't "win," I DO think that being on Team Gale does affect the way you think.

I was sort of undecided, but leaning towards Peeta, but only if Katniss really loved him too, which I think Collins tried to show throughout this book.

As for the ending -- I would have been completely dissatisfied if she ended up with one of them b/c the other had died. That would have been a copout, but I think that the Prim thing was sort of a copout as well, and did serve to have her end up in one camp.

I need to read it again, and I need to read it right after reading CATCHING FIRE.

I thought the beginning was slow and difficult (because I felt like I was catching up, which I wouldn't have to do if I had read it), and there were some gaps, as you mentioned.

But I did think that she wrapped up the series well (for me). I also really like how she spent time looking at the psychological effects of the killing. We saw that to an extent with Haymitch throughout, but people who don't "get" the dystopian genre, have been so critical about the subject matter -- that's the point, it's supposed to be awful.

Hijack comments much?? I'll go away now :)

My book blog: 5 Minutes for Books

Beth F 8/31/10, 8:18 AM  

Sandy: I can't wait to hear what you think of it. And what your daughter thinks of it.

Jenn: I kept waiting for that tough, smart Katniss but didn't see her.

Amy: I know!!

Jen: Yes, I am getting a different feel for the killing of Prim after talking to you and reading Lenore's post. But these were my original thoughts. The Gale/Katniss and Peeta/Katniss thing is quite complicated. It's just that the strangulation really pushed my feminist buttons.

Jennifer: I guess I wouldn't have seen a death of one as a cop-out, but I can see how many would think that, so it's good that Collins didn't kill one off. You bring up a lot of food for thought.

rhapsodyinbooks 8/31/10, 8:19 AM  

I don't even have to write a review on my thoughts - you said mine absolutely totally to the letter! especially about Katniss the spoiled brat and Gale with the changed personality and Katniss blaming Gale for Prim's death - ridiculous! I would add two other things:

Haymitch: if he was always so drunk that he couldn't be roused without a pitcher of water to the head, how and when was he busy helping to spearhead a revolution?

Johanna: what happened to her? She was just dropped out of the plot. I would have liked at least to see Gale be with her instead of just disrespected by being dismissed as a tv commentator or whatever in district 2! And really, Gale doing that? Can anyone believe that?

Anyway, thanks for going into my head and writing up my thoughts so cogently. Great job!

Lenore Appelhans 8/31/10, 8:20 AM  

I didn't read the end like that AT ALL. Yes, Peeta did try to kill her because he was brainwashed, but even if the scientists were very unsure of his cure, it doesn't mean it was impossible. I think his deep love for Katniss allowed him to overcome what the capitol did to him, and Katniss was smart and forgiving enough to try to work things out with him. I'd call that extenuating circumstances!

However, you are absolutely right that the Gale part of the equation was mishandled. While I agree with Amy here that it's Gale's philosophy that Katniss realizes is not compatible with hers, I do not think she would have cut off contact with him completely.

Lori L. Clark Art 8/31/10, 8:22 AM  

I started reading it the day it came out. Normally I'm a very fast reader. And you would think that I could devour this one. I'm still reading it and here's why: I could not get into it at all during the whole part 1. I am now finally starting to get pulled in, but I only started part 2. I think it will have to go on my books read -- and finished -- in September list.

Beth F 8/31/10, 8:31 AM  

Rhapsody: Thank you. And I also agree on Haymitch and Johanna. So many things happened off the pages that needed explanations.

Lenore: I understand that supposedly Peeta was cured, but I still think most **teens** (and strongly feminist boomers) are going to see the message as I wrote it. That really bothers me.

Lorielle: can't wait to hear your thoughts.

morninglight mama 8/31/10, 8:35 AM  

Interesting. I think I'm more along the lines of thinking of Jen (the book devouring one) for the most part, though.

I've heard lots of grumbling about the fact that Katniss is either drugged or numb in much of the novel, and a friend of mine made me think about that differently when she mentioned that all she could think of throughout the whole book was post-traumatic stress disorder. Definitely gave me an altered perspective.

And when you talk about Gale being sent to the Capitol with the team to replace Leeg 2, it definitely wasn't because anyone thought he was trustworthy-- I thought it was clearly because Coin wanted Katniss taken out. The only purpose she could serve at that point was to become a martyr for the rebellion.

Just my two pennies! :)

Sarah 8/31/10, 8:37 AM  

I'm so glad I read this post!! I feel like it articulates my feelings about Mockingjay better than I could in my own head. I just had a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, but you hit on some of the exact points that were bugging me (although I knew the epilogue thing was a big one for me.) I wasn't even on Team Gale (though not exactly on Team Peeta either) and I thought that was handled poorly. It was like the last 1/3 of the book was written about strangers, not the characters we spent three books getting to know! While I still put the trilogy in the column of things to recommend, I wish I felt more satisfied with the conclusion.

Beth F 8/31/10, 8:47 AM  

Morninglight: yes, ptss is definitely a factor, but because the story is told though her eyes, we lost out too. Good point on why Peeta (I knew what you meant) was sent to capitol. I hadn't thought of that angle.

Sarah: I agree. I was fine with most of the book until we neared the end. I too would still recommend the series.

caite 8/31/10, 9:18 AM  

ok...I have not read the book yet...and I only read the very beginning and end of your post. Add that to a few other reviews I have read and at least I can be sure my expectations will not be too high!
I am starting to wonder if I should bother to read it.
But I will.

What a bummer for a series that started so great.

Meghan 8/31/10, 9:25 AM  

Wow, I also did not at all interpret the ending that way! I forgave Peeta for the strangling because he was brainwashed and didn't know what he was doing; he proved his love over and over again previously and afterwards, so this was clearly a government imposed aberration. I do agree, however, that the characters changed far too much, so much so that they felt really unrecognizable to me. Some degree of change was necessary, but these developments seemed wrong. I'm also perplexed by the way Katniss is totally ignored at the end, it seemed so unrealistic!

Finally, I think Katniss didn't want kids because she didn't want them to end up in the Hunger Games. There were no more Hunger Games, so she was free to have children when she felt safe. I didn't really like the epilogue but it didn't bother me in the same way.

Beth F 8/31/10, 9:34 AM  

Caite: so many people loved the ending and thought it was perfect. I hope you end up in that camp.

Meghan: I think my age/generation makes me more sensitive to the abuse angle. If we were given more reason to believe in Peeta's cure and we saw more hesitation on Katniss's part, then I would have been more accepting. I understand your take on the kid issue, but I think it adds to the idea that marriage and kids is what brings women happiness and I don't necessarily agree.

Michelle (my books. my life.) 8/31/10, 9:37 AM  

I never even thought to think of it like an abusive relationship. I'm trying to decide if it does actually send that message. Interesting take on it.

A couple things:
(1) I think Peeta did actually get sent to the Capitol because Coin wanted Katniss dead, not because he was cured. The ending makes it seem like the recovery was a longer one.

(2) I hate the way things ended with Katniss and Gale. Sure, she can end up with Peeta, but did she really have to lose her best friend? And did he really have to be to blame for her sister's death?

(3) I think Prim's death is sort of fitting. The whole thing began with Katniss trying to save her but it became about so much more than just saving Prim.

Beth F 8/31/10, 9:53 AM  

Michelle: I'm seeing that there was a reason to send Peeta -- I hadn't picked up on that. The miraculous recovery took place off the pages, and thus I'm not convinced. I feel it should have been addressed clearly. Exactly, she didn't have to end up with Gale but their relationship should not have just ended. I'm definitely changing my mind about Prim's death. I think you make a great point about that.

Cecelia 8/31/10, 9:54 AM  

Thank you for articulating everything I hated about this book. Add in the 'non-events' that were many of the main characters' deaths, and you've covered it completely.

I really wish that Collins had stopped at book one. It was the most convincing and well-written of the trilogy, and the only one I didn't have any trouble believing.

melissa @ 1lbr 8/31/10, 11:17 AM  

I agree with most of what you said, especially about Katniss and Gale being different than before.

The ending didn't bother me as much as you. I can see how a person at 17 will think differently about having kids than at 27. People change their minds. But, maybe that's because I DO think marriage and kids brings happiness to many women (though, obviously not all of them).

Andulamb 8/31/10, 11:38 AM  

So you wanted Katniss to forgive Gale for his small role in the death of Prim, but you think there's something wrong with her forgiving Peeta for being brainwashed? Peeta wasn't an abuser, he was brainwashed. Yes, people said he could not be saved, but he was. It's not like anyone had ever dealt with this before.

My biggest complaint with the book was the death of Prim, although I can't go so far as to say that Collins should have done something different. I just personally feel a little cheated. The trilogy exists because Katniss took Prim's place in the games, to save her life. Everything she does is for Prim. And then, on the verge of saving Panem, Prim is killed? Not that there isn't a valid message in that. War sucks. Even JUST wars suck. But here we are following Katniss through three books, rooting for her all the way, wanting her to be happy, and the ending ends up being pretty much a downer. Prim is dead, Katniss is an assassin (who is allowed to go free, for some reason), and she's a depressed recluse. Thank God Peeta comes back into her life. But we wanted her to be happy, and I suppose she must be, but even with Peeta and the kids the book doesn't really end on a positive note.

Andulamb 8/31/10, 11:38 AM  

So you wanted Katniss to forgive Gale for his small role in the death of Prim, but you think there's something wrong with her forgiving Peeta for being brainwashed? Peeta wasn't an abuser, he was brainwashed. Yes, people said he could not be saved, but he was. It's not like anyone had ever dealt with this before.

My biggest complaint with the book was the death of Prim, although I can't go so far as to say that Collins should have done something different. I just personally feel a little cheated. The trilogy exists because Katniss took Prim's place in the games, to save her life. Everything she does is for Prim. And then, on the verge of saving Panem, Prim is killed? Not that there isn't a valid message in that. War sucks. Even JUST wars suck. But here we are following Katniss through three books, rooting for her all the way, wanting her to be happy, and the ending ends up being pretty much a downer. Prim is dead, Katniss is an assassin (who is allowed to go free, for some reason), and she's a depressed recluse. Thank God Peeta comes back into her life. But we wanted her to be happy, and I suppose she must be, but even with Peeta and the kids the book doesn't really end on a positive note.

Beth F 8/31/10, 11:46 AM  

Celi.a: yep!

Melissa: I can totally understand your viewpoint, but I've seen too many women be talked into having kids and see that, although they love their kids, they carry underlying sadness and resentment.

Andy: Ha! Yes, I supposed I'm a bit hypocritical. But I think it's because abuse was such an issue for the feminist movement when I was in my 20s that it really has colored my take on this. If we had seen more of Peeta's cure and some hesitation on Katniss's part and had seen the cured Peeta in action I would have felt better about the message the ending sends to young girls. Instead I see the cure as miraculous and too similar to what abusive men tell women: "I'm cured now." And I like the rest of what you said.

CGLnyc 8/31/10, 1:47 PM  

You said so many things that have been on my mind! The more time that passes since finishing the series, the more I think I don't like the book. The pacing was terrible, and I didn't really feel Katniss was more herself, or that Gale's transformation was explained or even plausible. Etc.

I felt the entire time that I was being asked to do Collins' work for her, and that her characters did the rest - I mean there were so many times that the characters weren't alive, they were just mouthpieces, and it made (especially Katniss) seem like some tool. Which is what sometimes happens, but it wasn't done well enough for me.

I had to suspend my disbelief too often, and accept that because of it being ongoing war - even before the rebellion - that it meant people could act completely unstable and out of character from one moment to the next. C'mon. I feel cheated.

sassymonkey 8/31/10, 1:52 PM  

I think that Gale kind of blamed himself for Prim's death, too. He didn't really get how being responsible for causing death in the Hunger Games changed Katniss. In the war he was just killing the Capitol they were just strangers, they were bad people. But Prim...Prim was home and family for him too in a way and know that he may have been partly to blame for it...I think it really shook him. And I don't think he could go back to the woods because to do so would connect him with Katniss and that was just too painful. So he went off and did the opposite.

As for Prim's death, I get why she died. I don't like it but I get it. It really was Prim, not Peeta, who was Katniss' biggest weakness. She survived Peeta being changed and trying to kill but Prim dying would take her out of the war completely allowing others to do what they wanted without the interference of the Mockingjay. Remember that she had already defied Coin by going forward into the Capitol with her team rallied around her. She revealed herself as a threat to Coin's authority.

I'm kind of with you on Peeta's being cured. I have a hard time believing he wouldn't wake up from nightmares trying to strangle her. But I can believe it, I guess.

Amy 8/31/10, 1:54 PM  

Ah so much to address. I disagree actually that Peeta's cure wasn't shown. I think throughout we were shown how slowly but surely he was coming back to himself and the clearest moment of this was after Katniss kissed him (a device used in all three books-around the same place-when Katniss wanted to keep Peeta from thinking about something!) and he had one really big struggle right in that moment. Later, we know he was close enough to her to also be burned and then he saved her life after she assassinated Coin. AND he passionately argued against a final Hunger Games. but finally, what really sealed the deal for me is that he didn't come back to 12 right away but stayed behind with the good doctor for awhile and when he did finally come back, she says his eyes have lost their troubled look.

I think you never did like Peeta and always mistrusted him, so maybe that's part of why you feel this way?

Regarding the ending, I suspected that many people would feel that way, but I disagree. Katniss didn't want to marry or have children out of fear. But when the main threat has been removed, I like the idea that she believes enough in life to continue it even though she still feels afraid. This felt very true to who Katniss was for me and was foreshadowed in Catching Fire when Katniss thought of the Meadow song and dreamed of a place where Peeta's child could be safe.

Regarding Gale...well to be honest I never felt like we got to know him well enough in the first two books for me to feel like this was some huge departure. He was a rebel through and through and I think what happened to him was one way of showing what war can do to us, how we can become like our enemy.

Okay I need to think about the rest!

Julie P. 8/31/10, 1:58 PM  

OMG! I'm amazed by how many things we shared about this book. I haven't written my review yet b/c I don't know how to say a lot of it! I liked the book very much but not as much as the first two.

Beth F 8/31/10, 2:09 PM  

Topher: I think the gaps were what killed it for me. I would have accepted whatever Collins had in store for us if I could have seen it develop. I think there was just too much left to our own imaginations, and that's also why we see so many different takes.

Sassy: Yes, I'm sure Gale did blame himself. I hadn't thought about the painful memories the woods might bring him, but I still see him finding peace there more than in the city. And as I said in earlier comments, my thoughts about Prim's death has changed. I think I understand why she had to die.

Amy: I know what you mean about Peeta acting better for a while, but that is the cycle of abuse: they abuse, feel bad, behave for a while and act loving and then it starts. I needed more proof I guess. And I really never trusted Peeta, true enough. I was hoping Collins would have convinced me more of how Katniss would find happiness with him. I've commented above on my thoughts about Katniss becoming a mother. Perhaps she changed her mind; I just don't know if I believe it. You are right about the foreshadowing, which I had forgotten about. Interesting take on Gale -- I too need to think. :)

Beth F 8/31/10, 2:09 PM  

Julie -- I hope you write up your thoughts. Can't wait to read them.

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog 8/31/10, 2:10 PM  

PREACH ON my sister. This is the only review I've read because I finished the book but haven't written my review yet...your teasers on Twitter yesterday made it irresistible, and I see now that we share many of the same thoughts.

I'd like to add that the whole, "When someone is in pain, just kiss him and it will make him do what you want," trope got REALLY OLD. I'll be blogging about this more (and using the F word a whole lot more) but glad to know I won't be alone in saying it basically sucked.

Beth F 8/31/10, 2:14 PM  

Rebecca: the Kiss and you will be in my power ploy. Yes, I don't buy it. Many do. I can.not.wait to see your post.

Florinda 8/31/10, 2:15 PM  

I have to admit I didn't get the message that you did from the ending, but putting it in those terms - Yikes, THG meets Twilight! :-). I actually didn't have many problems with how she ended things generally, but specifically, the epilogue was unnecessary and I could have totally done without it.

As you know, I was also Team Gale, but really didn't expect anything to come of that. I didn't really see a huge change in his personality, though. I'm kind of with Amy in noting that we really didn't know him as well as we did Peeta until this book, but I didn't get a strong sense of inconsistency with what we did know.

My review is posting tomorrow.

Beth F 8/31/10, 2:20 PM  

Florinda: I will be over to read your review. I'm one of the few who read that message in the ending, but it is the way I felt and still feel.

True we didn't know Gale that well and I never thought she'd end up with him. But city boy? Hard for me to picture.

Amy 8/31/10, 2:33 PM  

I guess I didn't see the Peeta arc as one of an abuser. It's an interesting way to interpret it though.

Ronnica 8/31/10, 2:40 PM  

About Katniss, I believed her breakdown, essentially. In the arena, her fight for life was more cut-and-dry, but she didn't have as much fight outside. If you've read the Tomorrow series, I felt like Katniss and Ellie were similar not only in experience but in how they handled it.

Peeta didn't go because he was healed, but because Coin wanted him to kill Katniss. I believed that (and the team's disgust at his involvement).

I by no means felt that Peeta was naturally violent, when he was under his own volition. I guess I chalk up his original attempt on Katniss's life to the programming by the Capitol.

My major problem with Mockingjay was that Katniss agreed to the Hunger Games for the capitol's children. What? Really? I guess I didn't buy that she would go for it.

Nari @ The Novel World 8/31/10, 2:41 PM  

So, basically Suzanne Collins pulled a Stephanie Meyer and turned Katniss into Bella. Does that make Gale or Peeta into Edward?

At first I was happy with the book, up until they reached the Capital, then it was just really far-fetched and unbelieved, especially Peeta's transformation from mentally insane, hijacked POW, to a resilient, thoughtful leader. I also hated the epilogue of Peeta and Katniss' future together. It seemed to go against everything that Katniss valued in the first two books. Maybe all those drugs really did impair her judgment to such a horrible effect.

You're review sums up my feelings for the book completely, I don't know if I even need to write a review, when yours is also so eloquent and accurate. lol.

Beth F 8/31/10, 2:42 PM  

Amy, like I said, it just struck me that way. Is it because of my age or my generation? I don't know. Thankfully, I've not had any personal experience with abuse, but I've had friends who had to deal with it on at least some level.

Beth F 8/31/10, 2:52 PM  

Ronnica: I loved the Tomorrow series, but I thought that Ellie was more believable. Maybe because I thought Marsden so brilliantly captured how real teens would act. I finally get the Peeta to the capitol thing. I totally missed that. Makes a lot of sense. I had a problem with Katniss agreeing to the games too, but that was the least of my concerns.

Nari: I guess Peeta? LOL. I'm not sure of the Twilight analogy. Yes, Peeta's transformation to being cured was hard for me to believe. And Katniss too seemed to change in her values and personality. Difficult for me to accept.

Cecelia 8/31/10, 3:00 PM  

THANK YOU, Rebecca and Beth, for pointing out another thing that made me want to throw up in my mouth - the 'kiss boy in pain' method of manipulation. I really don't need to write anything of my own...it's all coming out here in the comments. *sigh* I love my book bloggers.

Beth F 8/31/10, 3:17 PM  

Celi.a: I'm with you there. But it's not a huge point for me and not one that affected my overall take on the books. On the other hand, I wonder if it did perhaps affect my thoughts on whether Katniss and Peeta really loved each other. Another item on the list of why I just don't quite trust/believe the love between them? Maybe.

Unknown 8/31/10, 4:31 PM  

I have so many comments, but I want to focus on one aspect specifically.

Gale: Even though I didn't like it either, I felt his transformation had two main purposes. The first was to help those of us who loved him to separate us from him a bit, to allow for Peeta's happy ending for Katniss become less of a blow. The second was a statement about government power. He disagreed with the Capitol the whole time we've known him, but all he did was trade one dictatorship over another by joining Coin's army. Just because two people have the same enemy, it shouldn't mean that they're on the same side of things. By the way, I could write a paper on why Coin's name was so genius.

Cecelia 8/31/10, 4:34 PM  

Beth: I think that may have affected my ability to trust their 'love,' too. People went on about how she really loved him, but I was like, "Wait, did we both read the same thing? Because I saw manipulation. Hardcore." I'm just so glad you put these things into words. I'm going to do my own Mockingjay post, but not a review - a manifesto on why most books should be stand-alones. Which I'm sure will be unpopular, but after this...I can't not say it. Yeah. That's all. *grin*

Unknown 8/31/10, 4:44 PM  

I'm a little confused...do we find out for sure whether the Hunger Games weren't continued?

CGLnyc 8/31/10, 4:50 PM  

I don't know that you being Team Gale had much influence. Again, I thought his transformation was supposed to show us something rather than being true to his character. He was the device that showed how some people, in times of war, "trade one dictatorship for another," as someone said, but sorry, that's not why I read stories. It's great when they have depth and signify something and I make those connections, but it was so, so forced, and I felt that everywhere. The Capitol and District 13 used these characters to do their bidding, but Collins did too, and I didn't like it.

Beth F 8/31/10, 4:59 PM  

Alison: I guess my issue was why would Gale join any government? And I would love to see that paper on Coin!

Celi.a: I've talked about the manipulation for a long time, and so I do agree with you.

Alison: we don't really know but the assumption was that they were stopped. This is an argument for why it was okay for Katniss to be talked in to having children.

Topher: I like my characters to be internally consistent or for there to be clear reasons why they go through drastic changes. I think the circumstances that changed Gale into a city / government man and Katniss into a wife and mother and Peeta into being cured happened off the pages, and thus I don't feel that those personality changes are believable.

Stephanie 8/31/10, 7:15 PM  

I agree with a lot of what you said, especially concerning Peeta in the ending--it was completely unclear as to what suddenly changed in him.

Alice 8/31/10, 7:22 PM  

I'm going to skip this post for now until I've read the book. Thanks for the spoiler alert!

Anonymous,  8/31/10, 7:29 PM  

On Peeta: "his relationship with Katniss was not strengthened in the novel, making the ending (more on that later) weaker." Yes!

On Gale: "I was confused about Gale's transformation from a rebel hero into a government-loving, weapons-producing soldier." Double yes!!

And I totally agree about the message to young girls, which is why I said that this trilogy left me feeling alot like I felt after Twilight. I think it (and Katniss) had so much more potential.

Beth F 8/31/10, 7:46 PM  

Stephanie: thanks. I just wish we had seen what cased the cure.

Alice: glad my spoiler alert stopped you from reading.

Jill: Thanks especially for your third comment. I knew I couldn't be alone in coming to that conclusion.

JenStorySnoop 8/31/10, 9:40 PM  

Thanks for the thought-provoking post! I can understand all of the points you raised in your review but I still really enjoyed the book. Katniss was not the strong character we have all grown to love, but how could she be anything but damaged goods after two times in the arena? Her struggle to do the right thing (even knowingly becoming the rebellion's pawn in order to do so) was really the best this post-Hunger Games version of Katniss could do. I HATED the fact that Prim died, but it was almost a necessary evil to illustrate the ultimate irony of the story -- Katniss was fighting to replace a cruel and manipulative leader with... another cruel and manipulative leader. So sad for her. I have a hard time wrapping my brain around Peeta as an abusive character. He was programed to fear Katniss through no fault of his own.

LanaTheIguana 8/31/10, 9:56 PM  

I didn't like how most of the characters changed.

Natasha @ Maw Books 8/31/10, 9:58 PM  

I really liked to read Mockingjay and overall enjoyed it. I do agree, however, with all of your points regarding the characters, plot line and such - except for your last point. I did NOT like the epilogue at all. I didn't need to know that she had kids. But overall, I'm okay with it. With no Hunger Games in the way, she no longer feared for their safety. I don't think she had them against her will. And I don't think the alternative to having kids was to spend her life hidden away in her house. I believe that that is something that she would have eventually moved on from, with or without Peeta. I think they were both broken together and both trying to heal together.

Amy 8/31/10, 10:46 PM  

I'm back for more, re: Prim. I actually thought Prim's death was necessary and I agree with several readers that I suspected it would happen from the first book. What Prim's death showed Katniss in terms she absolutely could not ignore was that Coin was just like Snow. I think this had little do with us hating Gale, I for one don't hate Gale, but more to do with how you never know what the consequences will be of what you unleash into the world. Someone elsewhere (or was it here, LOL) mentioned how this brought to mind interviews they saw with those who had worked on the atomic bomb. When Katniss describes her skin as looking "red, hot, and melted in places" that is EXACTLY what it brought to my mind....one of the most powerful exhibits at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima Japan for me was image of a mother and child running with their skin melting off of them.

I think Prim represented hope, you're right and her death showed us just how large everything had become.

Re: Katniss in solitude with no reporters. This is a very interesting point and I don't disagree that it does seem unrealistic. But it's not enough to ruin the book or make me feel disappointed by it.

Beth F 8/31/10, 11:03 PM  

Jen: lots of people have a hard time thinking of Peeta as abusive, but he was. It's really just a matter of whether you believe he was truly cured.

Lana: I didn't either.

Natasha: You may be right about why Katniss decided to have children, but you have to read between the lines to get there. I needed more proof that Peeta respected Katniss's choices.

Amy: Yes, I have turned around on the Prim's death issue -- I do see why she had to die; you and others have convinced me.

It's not that Katniss's solitude ruined the book for me; it was just one more aspect of the ending that didn't ring true.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 9/1/10, 4:09 PM  

wow! I haven't read any of the trilogy, so I don't mind the spoilers!

I do have a 14-yr-old daughter who has read HG and CF, and is saving her babysitting $ for a copy of MOCKINGJAY. I'll send her here to read your post, too.

What a message ... I'm intrigued, even though I haven't read the other books!

Beth F 9/1/10, 4:27 PM  

Dawn: When 14-year-old SITFB finishes the novel, I would love to hear her thoughts.

Laura,  9/1/10, 4:50 PM  

I totally agree with you! There was almost no plot whatsoever and suddenly gale wants to kill EVERYONE and katniss just gets drugged up a lot. All the characters who didn't have a story were killed, like really she didn't even bring back Cinna, Bonnie, or Twill after she said he might have been killed. Any of those people surviving would have been such a dramatic and suspenseful moment. And Finnick dying like that? Really? Really? so, yes, the whole book was a flop and its not just adults that read the series who hate it because i'm sixteen and i really didn't like it. I love the strong, courageous Katniss that suzanne collins spent all of THG and CF to create and show the readers and in mockingjay, she is a selfish brat.

CGLnyc 9/1/10, 5:01 PM  

Laura (and Beth):

I think Beth put into words what I felt throughout - so much happened elsewhere that even if the changes that took place within the characters had a good reason, and were plausible, we never really got to see them. I felt so disconnected and not in a way that helped me become immersed in the story, and to feel closer to Katniss. It just didn't work, and I wanted much more.

Dawn - I really hope your daughter enjoys Mockingjay. So many have differing views, and I sure hope it's satisfying. Love the overarching direction of the plot, but not its execution!

Beth F 9/1/10, 5:03 PM  

Laura: Thank you so much for commenting here. I am glad to know that readers who are younger than I am and who are in the target audience for MJ had the same feelings as I did. I would have loved to see Bonnie and/or Twill again too.

Leslie @ This is the Refrain 9/1/10, 6:01 PM  

I pretty much disagree with you about everything you said, though I wasn't totally satisfied with the novel. I think a lot of this novel was realistic in terms of war and how unnecessary, unromantic and terrible it really is. That's what this was always about. I agree that Katniss probably shouldn't have been drugged all the time and that made for slow plotting, but I thought her lack of desire to fight was on base as well. I'm still thinking of your reading of the epilogue in a domestic violence setting and I'm not sure what I think about it. I think it is odd that Katniss's rejection of Gale bothers you, when he helped create a horrible weapon that killed Prim, but you wanted Katniss to reject Peeta, who is as much a victim as Katniss is. At the same time, I realize that in the context of younger girls reading it, it is different.

That being said, I don't think the epilogue was necessary. I did like that last line though.

Beth F 9/1/10, 6:32 PM  

Lu: you are not the only one to disagree with me. I am of an age that has no romantic visions of war whatsoever, so I absolutely was not expecting anything but violence if there was to be a war. I was dissatisfied because so much of the important action occurred away from our eyes.

The fact that Katniss didn't want to fight is not the issue, it is that she acted so out of character or was sedated or was abandoned that bothered me.

Gale did not kill Prim, so it is unrealistic for Katniss to reject him for the rest of their lives. In fact, Gale risked his life to protect Katniss's family in the past, and I don't understand why she wouldn't have known that Gale would be grieving for Prim.

Peeta, on the other hand, strangled her so badly, she was hospitalized. Experts told Katniss that he would never be truly cured. If we had seen his therapy or if Katniss had been wary, I would have been more accepting of Peeta's cure. But his actions mirrors exactly what many abusive men do to women. Perhaps this was unfortunate writing on Collins's part.

I also didn't like the message that women who don't want children don't really know their own minds and it is perfectly okay for a man to talk her into it, regardless of her natural inclinations. I see that as abusive and manipulative.

I am old enough to have seen the long-term results of women who have been talked into having children. It is almost always an unhappy situation.

Loralei 9/1/10, 8:27 PM  

Wow...I'm not usually one to comment, but I was so intrigued by all of your comments that I couldn't stop reading....and then was compelled to throw in my own thoughts.

First, I'm really having a hard time with the idea of Peeta & Katniss's relationship as an abusive one...especially with Peeta as the abuser. Maybe that is because I accepted that the person who tried to kill Katniss wasn't really Peeta. He was completely brainwashed at that time, and after a long slow process was able to reclaim control of his brain to become himself again. If anything, Katniss had manipulated him from the very beginning...though even that changed once she realized that he actually loved her. Then, she began to see him for what he truly was...and slowly but surely fell in love with him too...even if she didn't want to admit it to herself.

Maybe I understood it differently than a lot of you, but I don't think it ever implied that he was "cured". Even at the end, it said he still had times when he had to clutch the back of a chair and hang on until the flashbacks were over. He just learned to fight it & not lose control...and that was triggered when he saw the video of himself trying to attack Katniss & resulting in Mitchell's death. He finally saw what the Capitol had done to him.

As for the kids...it implied quite a bit of time passed...five, ten, fifteen years...before kids came along. Sure it said that she agreed because "Peeta wanted them so badly", but the only reason she had been adamant against was because of the Hunger Games...and yes, it says clearly in the epilogue that "The arenas have been destroyed, the memorials built, there are no more Hunger Games.".

I think the epilogue was intended not as a message that marriage & kids is the only way to happiness, but more as a glimmer of hope...that life can go on & wounds can heal. And even when you think you've lost everything, you can find happiness in something you never even considered.

Jenners 9/1/10, 8:51 PM  

Oh I'm talking to you ... because I pretty much agree with everything you said!! Excellent post ... and I think I'll be linking to it in my review because you said so much of what I'm thinking so why recreate the wheel?

Beth F 9/2/10, 9:36 AM  

Leighann: Please read my previous comments about the abuse issue. I don't think I have much more to say. You are not alone in disagreeing with me. Same with the being talked into kids. As for the epilogue: the message is still that hope is found through marriage and children. Just my opinion, and I love hearing all the opposing view points.

Jenners: Thanks! Glad to still have friends. :)

Meg @ write meg! 9/2/10, 11:56 AM  

Just finished this morning, and I completely agree with this:

Because the story is told through Katniss's eyes and because she is sedated and in the hospital most of the time, we are left with many gaps in the story line. I was disappointed and felt there were too many solutions that happened off the pages.

That's my biggest beef with the story! Right when things are heating up and stuff is going down, Katniss gets hit with a bomb, lit on fire, etc., and suddenly she's coming-to elsewhere... and, like her, we missed everything. Then we get some lame paragraph like, "Oh! You've missed so much! Let me tell you what happened via a sudden information splurge!"

I did like the book overall, because we got some closure, but I wasn't satisfied with the neat wrap-up of the Peeta/Katniss/Gale triangle, either. Especially not when that little conversation between the guys in the fur shop took place. The hell?

Beth Kephart 9/2/10, 12:27 PM  

Oh my gosh, you have written one of those indelible reviews that has everybody talking. That's what reviews are supposed to do. COngratulations for articulating it all so well.

Beth F 9/2/10, 1:17 PM  

Meg: I am still recommending the books and I am still interested in reading more of Collins's work. I didn't hate this novel; I was disappointed in it.

Beth: Thanks!

Ti 9/2/10, 4:13 PM  

I just posted my thoughts about it today and we are on the same page for the most part. I feel totally letdown by the author.

Beth F 9/2/10, 4:18 PM  

Thanks for letting me know, Ti. I'm off to see what you thought.

Stacy at The Novel Life 9/2/10, 10:47 PM  

I have not written a review per se other than to post my thoughts on the whole extreme violence in the whole series and at what age DO we allow our children to read The Hunger Games. The reason I haven't written a review is I wasn't quite sure how to articulate my thoughts around it all...hah! now I don't have to, I can just refer everyone to YOUR post :-)
Excellent way to summarize the let-down about Katniss and what was a solid, strong heroine that girls could look to to emulate...and then the ultimate sacrifice of her in the epilogue - well, you're right...I'm definitely talking to my daughter and her friends about it!
Thank you for your awesome post!

Beth F 9/3/10, 10:24 AM  

Stacy: Thanks so much.

Unknown 9/3/10, 10:47 AM  

I totally agree with you!! I can honestly say that I was Team Gale throughout the whole series but I always kept Peeta in mind!
I was so very dissappointed at the end of the book too. I just honestly do not think that Katniss would have truly turned her back on Gale at all. They had been through so much just the same as her and Peeta.
So much was left out throughout the story that I was actually kind of confused! When Prim died I was so mad that I put the book down for a few hours, quite frankly that part was totally wrong and should have never ever happened!!

That is just my opinion and no I am not swayed just because Katniss did not end up with Gale. I think alot more explanation should have went into the book. Too many things do not make sense, especially Katniss not keeping her promise to Gale by killing him if he got caught. That is not the Katniss that shown through on The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

I do plan on going back and rereading all three books to make sure I did not miss something major in the first two books that would indicate what would happen in the third.

Alice 9/9/10, 5:02 PM  

I find it fascinating that the major thing that bugged me in the book hasn't surfaced as a conversation topic yet: how Katniss could possibly vote yes to another Hunger Games. You would think that of all people, she'd be the first to argue against the perpetuation of something so horrific, the symbolic instrument of oppression that really started the war in the first place. And to say that she's doing it for Prim, when Prim was such a gentle soul and would never condone such a thing, completely boggled my mind. How does Katniss' reaction to the children's deaths in the bombing (and her consequent murder of Coin for it) jive with her own willingness to subject more children to deliberately conceived violence?

Was this something only I take issue with?

Beth F 9/9/10, 5:10 PM  

Izabella: If you find any explanations for book 3 in your rereading, please let me know.

Alice: I agree with you. I can't speak for others but I felt I had to narrow down my post to a handful of issues and the agreeing to the continuation of the Hunger Games got lost in the shuffle. Others have argued that Katniss of course was not serious and would have never let the games go on.

Marg 9/22/10, 7:01 AM  

So, I am coming to the party late, but I am sure that you can't live without my thoughts, so I am going to share them!

Firstly, the ending. The epilogue was completely unnecessary. I thought it would have been much better to end it with the real or not real question.

I was disappointed that there was no sign that Gale and Katniss ever managed to at least make semblence of friendship out of the wreckage. Maybe not straight away, but after a while. Their friendship was too strong to have just die like that. It would have been weaker, but just some contact would have been okay.

I just didn't feel like the execution of the ideas that Collins was trying to get onto the page quite worked in this one, especially in comparison to the first one. For example, when Coin died, I had to go back and reread a couple of paragraphs to make sure that I saw it coming because otherwise it was quite a shock.

I was disappointed with the development of Katniss in this novel. When she finally got out of the hospital, bunker etc, we got to see some glimpses on the girl on fire, but for the most part we saw a shadow of that girl. And I was completely shocked when she said yes to future games.

Now Peeta! I am not trying to change your mind, but just giving you my thoughts. I don't agree with you about Peeta being an abuser, and my reason is about abusive patterns. Someone mentioned in these comments about the cycle of an abuser in that they abuse, then they beg for forgiveness, and then it is all good for a short time, and then the cycle starts again. But in my experience, and I stress that this is my experience, (I didn't end up being physically hit, but I definitely still carry emotional scars from my relationship with my ex) before that first time when it is obvious that there is abuse happening there are the signs that lead up to the abuse - the emotional denigration, the constant niggling and making you feel like you are always in the wrong, the separation away from friends and family, the possessiveness that starts out as he is a little jealous, and ends up being out of control - and that's just for starters.

I would have to reread the first two books looking for these signs, but I just don't remember seeing them. For that reason, I see the attack on Katniss as being a result of the brainwashing. I did buy into the gradual rehabilitation of Peeta, maybe because that was what I wanted to see. I thought the use of the real or not real game was very clever, and gave us insight into his gradual healing. I didn't think he was trusted when they sent him to the Capitol - he was there to do a job, which was to kill Katniss, but he managed to overcome that.

Overall, I didn't think it was as good the first two books in the series.

Should have just written my own post! lol

Susan 1/3/11, 9:10 AM  

I read all three books for the first time in order since Christmas Eve. I loved Mockingjay but by far it was the weakest of the 3 books. It was very dissatisfying how she was drugged all the time and wasn't really part of the action until the end. The epilogue was ridiculous and I had the same reaction I did to the epilogue in the last Harry Potter book: Are you kidding me?? Not everything should be wrapped up so neatly! Its ok to leave things to the imagination.
However, I will have to say I never thought of it as being detrimental to young girls until I read this post. My assumption was the reason Peeta attempted to choke her was because of the tracker jacker venom from the Capitol. I don't think Katniss would hold that against him if he was cured which I assume he was although it wasn't clear. And the reason Katniss didn't want to have kids was because she didn't want them ending up in the Hunger Games and since those were abolished she probably just needed a little persuasion to convince her it was ok. I don't know if a better message would have been that it is ok to not have kids because you are scared of raising them in a flawed world.
I do wish Katniss had been a stronger character in the books. I guess it was more realistic for a 17 year old to be damaged by all she had been through but the beauty of books is you don't always have to be realistic.
Love the review! Thanks for making me think deeper on these books!

Beth F 1/3/11, 9:22 AM  

Thank you Marg and Susan for chiming in. I've had some great conversations over the months about Gale's transformation and about Peeta's cure. And also about Katniss's reasons for deciding to have children.

Although I understand the other views and have even softened some of my stance, I still stand behind my initial feelings as I wrote them here.

Again, let me say that any book that creates this kind of discussion is wonderful -- and I'm still recommending the series to family and friends.

Anonymous,  4/21/11, 6:02 AM  

Well I get her artsy fartsy refective plot line....yeah yeah but it make the story horrid. The plot holes are the plot in Mockingjay - I'm sorry but >>>>

All the good stuff is off camera.

All other capital mutts were geneticly altered ---but she later mated with the Peeta mutt ----eww

So all she does is do drugs and hide....wow I want to be like her

Oh I know the great message that war is never worth fighting -- the loss is too great to make it matter - Prims death shows war is too costly and everyone suffers too much ---Uh huh. Now lets take a look at the entire message which I feel has been rather missed ----

The rebels are not fighting a war over little oil rights or water shortages or religion......They are fighting to stop their own EVIL government from murdering people ---- so IF that is NOT worth fighting for, the hidden message to that is... (No matter how evil, no matter the cost, no matter how you and everyone you know suffers---Never fight your Government. Be a slave and toy and never ever get enough gumption to try to stop the evil or hope for better because IT IS NEVER worth fighting for anything?)

That makes me sick.

And also that it is fine to decribe you thinking about killing the person you love more than anything -- but don't do more than kiss ---- your gonna die and your sleeping together for pure comfort ---- but don't allow any bikini parts to touch --- that would be to graphic????? Um hello - My 11 year old laughed at that idea.

Ok a few others then I will get off it...
someone who really wants to die - will drowned themselves in a toilet --- her cell was not suicide proof. I can think of 6 easy things missed...bed sheets were removed ---please.

Haymitch takes her back to twelve - but strangers came to hydrated and bathe her - No Haymitch would have been the only one she would have let touch her.

If the government is gone who is paying the winners -- why doesn't Haymitch have to work now?

Haymitch doesn't check on her? No - Haymitch would have been drinking with her - they would have clung to each other once abandoned by all others. She does have a few daddy issues - haymitch and katniss swinging in a tree ---wait there was a song about that ---lol.

What happened to her pearl? why was it drug out again and again but not mentioned after she was burned? --- did god get lost?

Katniss has a freaky mother.

Gale abandoned her because he was sure he should have been a mind reader and she couldn't ever love him? yeah and she didn't know what she was doing and Gale walked away from the hook up? He's a guy right?

If a guy whines for fifteen years - let him have sex with you and make geneticly Mutt babies you don't name. LOL ok that one was snarky ---hehe- sorry.

I was in love with HG and even loved CF thinking MJ would be the satisfaction book the tie it all up book ----I didn't know it was going to drop off a cliff into .....

lastly - raising geese. Haymitch raises geese when his booze doesn't arrive. Now when I was a child the Phrase -- "You better do it or Dad will raise geese and little chickens" ----meant raising hell -or spanking a child ---- SomE think there are actually birds there ---I am less clear on that intent.

Anonymous,  5/25/12, 5:17 PM  

I read this thinking I shouldn't post, but I think I owe it to my love of the books to write something.

I didn't read the book when it first come out, because I only just heard about them as I saw the movie being advertised on television. So, whether anyone reads or comments on my post I want to write it to write it.

I know many people hated certain things and loved others, many others loved everthing, like myself, and many hated the book(s) altogether and didn't give them a chance at all. But, since you've left commenting open to everyone, I assume you're okay will both negative and positive feedback. I think it's still nice of you to recommend these books and say you enjoyed the series.

Katniss: Katniss is the best heroine I've seen in a book, personally.

The fact that you say she was drugged and/or sedated throughout the book of Mockingjay is exaggerated in my opinion. Someone being sedated is sort of forced to be.

She allowed Johanna Mason to take some, if not all, or most, of her own morphling many times.

If you had been through the amount of torment she had been through, I'm sure after 3 books, you'd be worn down as well.

To say you understand that she's been through a lot, then call her a drug addict actually shows a lack of understanding.

Peeta: I don't know what you mean by 'fizzle out', but if you mean it didn't take long for him to recover, then you underestimate technology. I mean, we can give a person a limb - I'm sure we can heal, or lower symptoms of a psychological disorder quickly.

Katniss actually admits in this book that she does, in fact, love him. Their relationship was nothing but strengthened. Despite the fact that she was in a war, and he was recovering a tramautic experience. After surviving, and helping save each other through such a crisis, I don't know how anyone couldn't grow closer. It takes a lot of trust.

Gale: If you're confused about Gale's transformation you know very little of war. That's one of the many characteristics a person can put on during a war.

Prim: I doubt she was killed to make us hate Gale, but, instead, to open our eyes on the consequences of war.

Today, in the United States and other countries, the death of a child is seen as unecessary and much worse that the death of someone older, since children didn't get the chance to live yet.

Also, Prim was the most innocent and pure character. No one could possibly read these books without feeling saddened during both Rue and Prim's deaths. It's least expected.

However, it's not until a few, or more chapters later than Katniss actually realizes that the death of her sister is real. And it's even longer that she no longer blames herself for it. There's no doubt that Prim is in Katniss's nightmares, that probably never does away.

Gaps: It's true that their are gaps, albeit in every story, because Katniss was not everywhere. There are things that she did not witness herself, so we, of course, wouldn't know about it.

When Finnick tells us about why blood and roses are important to president Snow, that is an example of a character telling Katniss about what he experinced, so she could tell us. If a character doesn't tell us, Katniss doesn't know, so we don't know.
It's understandable that a character wouldn't want to relive a moment of tragedy by telling someone.

Unknown 11/7/15, 12:33 PM  

Mockinjay is a dark book, but that is exactly what it was meant to be, Suzanne collins wants to portray the horrors of war, and how they never leave, you may diminish your symptoms but the always accompany you.

Is not like i have PTSD, I have never been in a war, but I have read other stories about war, and I am also a Doctor, and have seen mental disorders close at hand. Katniss is broken, completely broken, she needs the medication to keep the little bit of sanity she has in her. The games destroyed her. So by calling her almost a drug addict you are leaving you are being uncopassionate, it was the only thing that could calm her pain down. Even if it was morphling, it was her escape route out of a reality she greatly disliked enought to think of various ways to take her life. It is similiar to Haymitch thirst for alcohol, or district 6's addiction to morphling.

Peeta is different, peeta never had such a harsh childhood as Katniss. He wasnt that forced to grow up so fast like katniss. He was fed, and had friends like Delly, and nice memories. His character was also the good one, the one that voted for justice with peace, the one that loved truly and was willing to give up anything for that love, even his own life. This all encompassed had made him more equipped to face hardships. He would have more resilience than Katniss, which meant he would be able to go on, despite being so affected. He didnt cure completely, becuase in the last chapter it says how he still sometimes clutched to the arms of the chair and had to wait for it to pass away. I really honestly believed that this positive mindset filled with love and goodness saved him from giving into the mutt the capitol had created. He just needed time.

Unknown 11/7/15, 12:34 PM  

As to gale, man from book one you can see his anger, and bloodthirst. Coming from a very similar background as katniss, it was very hard to love in a context filled with despair, injustice and hunger, you learn to hate in a context like that to be unforgiving, adn that shapes you and it makes you who you are, and accept a certain worldview. In book 1 he tells her how different can it be shooting a human from an animal? while katniss was still thinking there is a difference, he doenst care, its the same in his mind, whatever it takes to survive. Then of course there is the whole discussion in book 2 about fighting back against the capitol, but unlike Katniss it wasn't something that she thought about and eventually decided it was the right thing to do, but it was more out of revenge for all the things taht had gone wrong in his life. And then in the third book, man his fire was ignited, because he finally had the tools to be able to do what he always wanted. We see is uncompassionate soul, very anti heroe, and very contrary to peeta's loving character. He doesnt care about Katniss's prep team, and doesnt understan why she wants to defend them, he creates snares to trap based on human instincts justifying himself that its exactly what the capitol wanted. He gives the idea of killing everysingle person in the Nut, becasue they had already chosen teams without thinking twice,and with no change of redemption. Would you like a person like that to love your daughter?? Not me personally. Then there is something that really bothered me that he told Katniss about when he had started loving her. His love was selfhish, it was never real love and pure like peeta's who was willing to let her have a life without him. He tells her how he had noticed that he liked her when Darius had started flirting with her about changing a one of his kisses for her squirrell, six months before the first hunger games. This to me is a big blow off. Its like ohh now that someone else wnats to be with you then I have to claim you. And thats what it felt like. He would've never agreed to let her go live with peeta, ever. He wanted her with him. How horrible is that kind of possessive love.

About Prim, I was devastated about her death, like I am sure a lot of readers were. But his was done to show not that Katniss had to stay with Gale, I think she knew that Peeta was her answer, her sanity, the pearl, long before this point. But it was to show, that coin was the other side of the Coin of Snow, that either way, war/violence is never the answer. You do not sacrifice children via the hunger games or via parachutes to be able to attain some kind of power, or material thing. Coin strategically did this either finish Katniss mentally (which she almost accomplish), just like Snow used Peeta, or to put her on her side, putting the blame on Snow. The unintended consequence was that they used one of Gale's snares, which was like a punch in the stomach to Katniss, who disagreed from the very moment she heard of them.
All this mentioned above is echoed in the words of Plutarch on the way back to District 12 at the end of the book. How he says maybe maybe this is it, we will see the evolution of the human race, meaning learning that we, human beings, cannot use violence as the answer, that has to change for us to be able to survive. And i think this is Suzanne Collin's point, a crucial part. And that is why peeta is so important because he is the evolutioned human being.

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