A brutal, unflinching conclusion to Collins's Hunger Games trilogy. I still like Katniss, I admire her strength and her vulnerability, and her agonizi...moreA brutal, unflinching conclusion to Collins's Hunger Games trilogy. I still like Katniss, I admire her strength and her vulnerability, and her agonizing over the violence she must cause. Thank God Collins stresses the costs of war over the romantic aspects, although Gale and Peeta are still important parts of her life, and the moments between them earned. Collins's writing is quite lyric at times, gut-wrenchingly graphic at others. The story is so relevant and bigger than any strictly romance-centered YA series. But, seriously, this is a violent book. Not for the faint of heart or fans of fluff.(less)
**spoiler alert** This was a lot of fun (in a demented way, of course), and I found myself marveling at the author's plotting (figuring out pacing, ho...more**spoiler alert** This was a lot of fun (in a demented way, of course), and I found myself marveling at the author's plotting (figuring out pacing, how/when to kill off 42 students, each one's little story, etc.). I was a little annoyed by all the lead-up to Shinji's plan that didn't even get executed, and I know that was part of the point, but for nothing really to have been done with that (besides trying to blow up The Terminator, i.e. Kazuo)? I'm glad it was Noriko in the end who shot Kazuo because I was getting sick of her just being The Girl, perpetually wounded and supporting the other guys and mooning over Shuya (like practically every other girl, jeeze). Especially when there were other kick-ass girls (my favorite being Takako, track star), even if one was pretty crazy (Mitsuko).
The various weapons, fights, interactions and relationships between the students were inventive, and there were constant surprises. Like I said, a lot of demented fun, and also moments of real sadness (e.g. "No, not THAT person!").(less)
Four stars because this was hard to put down and had some pretty great characters, plus it takes up hefty issues in complex ways. The one scene of unw...moreFour stars because this was hard to put down and had some pretty great characters, plus it takes up hefty issues in complex ways. The one scene of unwinding is genuinely horrifying, and you'll find yourself (whatever your beliefs in terms of pro-choice or pro-life) appalled many a time and thinking through matters along with the characters. I do have some issues (beyond the horrendous amount of typos--wtf?) in that there seems to be an insistence on abortion as largely the result of a mother not loving a child, as if men aren't involved or a factor, or economics, age, etc. There are also hints of stem cell research that are vaguely gestured to and, in my opinion, misleadingly (and damagingly). But the story takes place in a post-"Second Civil War" between pro-lifers and pro-choicers setting, and the author may be relying on basic knowledge or conversations that may happen as a result of the text. My final niggling complaint is that once again an awesome female character, Risa, is somewhat sidelined in favor of a young man hero. (less)