Like the Hunger Games, this was a fast read. I found many of the elements to be derivative, however. (view spoiler)[Katniss' and Peeta's return to the...moreLike the Hunger Games, this was a fast read. I found many of the elements to be derivative, however. (view spoiler)[Katniss' and Peeta's return to the arena seemed a warmed-over version of the first book-- too much similarity, although the arena and its perils was clever and interesting.
What was better was Katniss' relationship to the Capital and her belated understanding that President Snow had trapped her with impossible demands. Katniss is essentially apolitical, and it takes her awhile to understand that her set of skills simply doesn't equip her to change the course of the revolution. Even if she was more politically savvy, all it would have done is to make it clearer to her that she was incapable of meeting his demands. (hide spoiler)]. Like the first book it is very well paced, with wonderful suspense. I enjoyed it in spite of it's repetitive elements. I was also glad to see that Collins didn't let the book just descend into a cliched triangle; although that element was definitely present, it didn't overwhelm the book. An enjoyable follow-up to the Hunger Games, but now that I've read all 3, I must say I think it's the weakest of the trilogy.["br"]>["br"]>(less)
A satisfying end to the trilogy. The third book turns the first two on their ear; in the first two books, Katniss was a killer in an artificially leth...moreA satisfying end to the trilogy. The third book turns the first two on their ear; in the first two books, Katniss was a killer in an artificially lethal situation. I the third book, she is an artificial soldier waging a war in propaganda in a truly lethal situation. I thought a lot about negative reviews I had read here as I read through the book and I must say I disagree with them.
Katniss remained true to herself-- she is concerned with her own survival and that of her family and friends. She remains apolitical and does not see much difference between the Capital and the rebels. I'm not sure what it was that readers wanted who were incensed that Katniss was "used" by the rebels. Was she to go all Braveheart; gather her own considerable influence, denounce both sides and become the leader of the other districts against district 13 and the rebels? She never had that in her; she never has the conviction or fire-- that belonged to Gale. Katniss doesn't have the skills or the infrastructure to wage her own rebellion, even if she had the conviction.
I will say that I was never much invested in the love triangle, but hell, I'm a 47 year old woman and not a YA reader. Katniss' final choice makes logical sense to me. I think Gale sees her clearly when he says that she will make the choice that will help her survive, and by the end of the war, her ability to survive and to experience many basic kinds of pleasure and fulfillment are at stake. She makes the logical choice. I don't see the ending as a Harry Potter happily ever after-- Katniss has a life, and life goes on. Children play, oblivious that their pretty meadow is a mass grave. Katniss thinks about how children can be mindful of the horrors of the past in a way to make them strong, not fearful. A happy end for Katniss of compromise-- the only thing she is capable of.
A good end to an excellent trilogy. I highly recommend it.(less)