After finishing this series, I immediately came onto Goodreads to see what others had to say about this final book. I was hoping for some insightful dAfter finishing this series, I immediately came onto Goodreads to see what others had to say about this final book. I was hoping for some insightful discussions, touching upon the questions that Suzanne Collins poses about war, hardship and suffering. Imagine my surprise when all I came across was a bunch of people whining that the book didn't end the way they wanted it to because a beloved character died, or the main character didn't end up with the boy they preferred, or whatever other impertinent reason that was brought up in the various reviews I read.
I should backtrack and say that I'm a newcomer to this trilogy. I had heard/read the hype about how great it was, how it was very dark for a YA novel, that people of all ages could read and relate to it. So when I did decide to read it, I was able to read all three novels back-to-back without any wait in-between. I would assume that during the time between books, people digested the novels and speculated on what would happen next, and doing all the other things readers do as they patiently await the next instalment in a series, thus becoming fully invested in plot developments and characters arcs. And then once they read the final novel and realized that the ending they had come up with in their heads wasn't the ending they got, they became upset and hateful.
However, I think the problem is that many readers chose to focus on specific plot points rather than connecting them and seeing the thread that weaves the overarching themes and questions together. Yes, there is a love triangle between Katniss, her best friend Gale, and the boy with the bread Peeta. Yes, there are characters other than these three that we want to root for; charming Finnick, drunken Haymitch, sweet Cinna, etc. Yes, the fate of Panem hangs in the balance and we would like things to end happily ever after. But Suzanne Collins wanted her story to be as grounded in reality as possible, and by doing this she ensured that the story she wanted to tell wouldn't be tied up in a pretty package at the end.
I believe that Ms. Collins started out wanting to show that when life gets hard and there seems to be no hope and no escape from the cruelty of the privileged few who seek to control the masses of poor, there will be a force that pushes for the situation to change. But as the story progressed, I think she ultimately ended up examining the false sense of control Katniss thinks she has at different points in the plot, ultimately leading her to realize she's just a pawn in someone else's game, no matter how hard she tries to take control of her situation. She comes to the realization that this is a story repeating itself and she has to do what she can to try and break the cycle. And that's why we got an ending that was decidedly not pretty and packaged.
Since I have a short attention span and have really only touched on a couple of aspects of the overall themes and questions of this story, I'm now going to move on to specific complaints that I read and address them.
1. THE RESOLUTION OF THE LOVE TRIANGLE. I think there were some people who were upset that Katniss seemed to be with two guys at the same time. One reviewer suggested that Katniss should have taken the time to figure out who she wanted rather than "toying" with their feelings. My problem with this complaint is that she herself didn't know what she wanted and, more importantly, there were much more pressing matters for her to worry about such as STAYING ALIVE, protecting the people she loved, etc.
For those who think she should have ended up with Gale, I disagree. And I'm someone who initially thought her relationship with Gale was stronger and she'd probably end up with him. But I realized as the story progressed that Gale was too much like her and while she may have been happy with him under different circumstances, what ultimately did it in was her associating him and the bomb that killed her sister Prim. As much as Gale loved her and protected her family and was the only friend she had at the beginning of the trilogy, that association in Katniss's mind would never be overcome.
Ultimately, she had to end up with Peeta. Gale didn't understand what she had been through in the arena, but Peeta had been with her both times. They had worked hard to make it out alive by protecting each other. The Games changed Katniss in a way that I think only Peeta could ever understand. But even without the Games, Peeta's actions when they both were 11 was what led to Katniss deciding to fight to live, to take care of her family, to learn to be self-sufficient and independent. And that was something that bonded them because Katniss could never repay him for that.
So I think who she ended up with was right for her. I think that she couldn't be alone for the rest of her life because she had lost so much, and Peeta was the only one who could be with her. And I think the fact that Gale was far away in another district and doing well for himself goes to show that, while their paths crossed for awhile, in the end they had to go their separate ways because his fire burned brightly while her's had been dampened by all the loss in her life. ...more