I admit it; I cried.
I actually sobbed half my drive home.
Actually, I did that twice, two separate listening episodes.
But I can’t tell you why, without revealing spoilers. Still, for those in the know, the first was when that one character was mercilessly, surprisingly stolen away from us in that mad escape. The second was the one towards the end, the one that nearly stole the life out of Katniss, the flame blown out.
This was so much better than Catching Fire. Almost immediately better. Whereas in Catching Fire I was annoyed half the time by what was happening in the book, and had a hard time separating my distaste of the narrator (the reader) from the actual story — this time, I was so swept up in what was happening, I almost totally forgot that it was being horribly butchered by a terrible reader. Almost. But seriously, this reader is so bad, it would take a really freaking good book to make me overlook the terrible narration, so you know the story was good.
If you haven’t decided to read these books yet, hop to it, people! So good. Well, the first and the third, but of course you have to read the second one to get to the third.
I’ve read some accounts that some people were disappointed by the somewhat bleak ending of Mockingjay. I actually found it refreshing in its bleakness — if you want happy endings, go read Twilight (is that really a happy ending? I guess we’re supposed to think so). The ending to The Hunger Games series sounds exactly like what would happen if you were put through everything Katniss had been through. You can’t exactly bounce back from that — you survive, you find pockets of happiness, but you are never the same, and you know the horrors that the world, and humankind, are capable of. You go on, you move on, but you don’t bounce back, unless you are severely unbalanced.
I found the last half the book to be unstoppable. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The losses were catastrophic, the emotional toll unthinkable. Still, it was a fantastic action book and even though I am usually not a fan of dystopia, I really, really enjoyed it. People also talk about the love triangle — in this book it’s almost an afterthought. First and foremost is the war, Katniss’ role in the war, and all the accompanying horrors of war. She does end up with one of her men, but it’s almost by default. Still, it felt right to me.
I do feel like Peeta got cheated in this book — poor Peeta! At least he starts to recover towards the end, unlike Katniss, who starts to unravel.
I could go on and on about the reality-TV parallels, the War-Is-Bad theme, the love triangle, blah blah blah, but you can get all that on other blogs who’ve done more extensive reviews of this series. There’s even a collection of essays about the book. So I’ll just leave it with this: emotionally wrenching, super-duper fast-paced, shocking and merciless — a much better ending than I was led to believe by the ending of Catching Fire. Not exactly happy, but satisfying and real. I felt devastated by the end of the book, which usually means the book evoked an emotional response from me, which means, happy or not, the book was successful.
I have to admit: I hope the movies are really good.