WARNING: This post contains spoilers of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games
I finished reading The Hunger Games last Friday, which means roughly 1400 pages read in five days - not bad for a mother of toddler twins! I was hooked from page one up until I had maybe 10% of book three left, those I read those 10% fast, too. Seriously, I lost one and a half kilos, because I wasn't snacking while reading and it helped me get over my chocolate addiction.
I don't know where to begin praising these books. The writing is so perfect, the voice, the tense, the action. There was never a dull moment. The first book will always been my favourite, though the others were great as well. It sort of annoyed me in book two that she kept blaming herself for the deaths of people. It's just that Katniss had been so level- and logical minded throughout that it seems like she should have been able to see that those deaths weren't her fault. It was President Snow who put them in the circle and had them fight it out; it was the man in District 11's choice to salute her, which got him killed; it was Coin's plot to put Katniss in a mockingjay suit and have her be a hero of the people. It wasn't even her fault that people started to feel rebellious when she put those poisoned berries in her mouth at the end of book one, because all she was thinking about at the time was to save Peeta. She even reflects on that later, but still she doesn't recognize the fact that none of those deaths were her fault. All Katniss was ever doing when she did those "rebel acts" was saving others or being sincere (in District 11).
|Fan art by http://rohanelf.deviantart.com/|
Which brings me to book three. I was captivated, just like with the other two, but it really annoyed me that she kept blaming herself. It also annoyed me to death that she never gave Gale a chance. Yes, I was aboard the Gale/Katniss ship from the first pages, and I hated how Katniss always dismissed him. There were clues, though, in the second and third books that they wouldn't end up together: his lack of responses when he should have been angry when she kissed Peeta in front of him; his lack of being there when she needed him the most; her general lack of interest. But come on, it would have been perfect to have them end up together. Her reaction to seeing him flogged was a promise that he was the one she loved and would end up with! A promise that wasn't fulfilled. They started in the forest and should have ended in the forest. They had history, they cared for one another, they were both responsible, and he even had a cute nickname for her. I'll explain later how I think the series should have ended.
|Fan art by Apricotteacup|
Peeta. Okay, he's the boy with the bread and "pita" is bread (pronounced the same way). Still, I don't like it as a name. But that's not all. I never cared much for him. That utter self-sacrifice act of his is just too fictional. It's human nature to want to survive, but his attitude was somewhere along time lines "nah, you go ahead and live - I don't really mind dying, even though I have family at home who would miss me." The fact that Katniss had never spoken to him before the reaping makes the fact that he's completely in love with her more than a little iffy. He didn't even know her. He just seemed like a weak character, completely useless in both games and not caring, it seemed, that she hurt him over and over by being dismissive and "choosing" Gale in book two. He was hurt at the end of book one, but that was it. He forgave her for everything, before and after.
|Fan art by EmpressFunk|
Now, the ending. The way I see it, there was no need for that last scene of battle where Prim was blown up and Katniss dove into mental breakdown. There was no need to kill President Coin. It seems to have been done just to add a gasp-factor and to make the ending bitter-semisweet, making Katniss choose Peeta just because he was there when Gale had (finally) given up on her for her continuous disrespect of him. Still, if Gale had been there at the end, she could have chosen him. I mean, she didn't know if she loved Peeta or not by the end of the war, so why not?
Collins probably wrote the killing Prim-scene to show that President Coin was no different from President Snow, but I already had that impression. I think it would have been perfect if Katniss had managed to sneak into the mansion, killed Snow, staged an explosion where she and Gale "died", and then run off with Gale to live in the woods. The two of them could make it there, you know. Katniss wouldn't want to show her face to Panem anymore and she wouldn't have to. The bitter-sweet ending would be that now that Coin has taken over, not much has changed. Prim could have voiced her wishes to work in the Capitol's hospital if they won the war, which is how Katniss would have realized that she wouldn't see much of Prim anyway and she wouldn't have to take care of Prim anymore. This is how I thought it would end, and in my mind, this is the perfect ending. It would even make it possible to create a new series based on this one, if the author cared for it.
|Fan art by Kara-Lija|
And Peeta? Well, wasn't Delly perfect for him? Her taking care of Peeta in District 13 didn't make Katniss jealous (which says a lot - namely that she didn't have those sort of feelings for Peeta), so it seriously looked like that's where that was heading in book three and it looked like the perfect solution to the triangle mess.
Hookay, rant over! Even though those were the disappointing issues with the books, the pluses outweigh the minuses by far. I absolutely loved everything else. The districts, the games, the characters, the living in District 12. These series have been placed amongst the top series in my mind. Definitely the best dystopia series I've read. I wonder how Collins came up with the concept. It's just brilliant. Even though the ending and Peeta leave a bitter taste in my mouth, I still give these series as a whole five stars out of five. I borrowed them at the library, but I'm going to invest in a copy of each, since I'll be reading these books over and over - hopefully until I'm in love with Peeta (yeah, right!).
Oh, and by the way, Finnik dying...what was the point of that?
Oh, and by the way, Finnik dying...what was the point of that?