In the past week, all I can think about is The Hunger Games. I devoured the first two books within twenty-four hours. Then, I had to make time to read the third book in between commute to work. I thought of the characters when I’m not reading, dreamed of them when I’m sleeping, talked about them to anyone listening. Basically, the series consumed me for the entire week.
I watched the first movie when it came out, and I can’t for the life of me understand what makes it good. Katniss appeared moody and the entire be-sweethearts-with-Peeta act confusing. Not until I read the book that I can fully appreciate Katniss.
There are a lot of things that I find interesting in the Hunger Games – the monotonous life of the people in each District, in contrast with the colorful yet trivial life in the Capitol, the cruelty of the Games, among many others. But what stood out, what kept me turning pages, was Katniss Everdeen.
Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire. The girl who volunteered to take the place of her sister for the game of life and death. The girl who is only one of the players of the Capitol for their amusement yet she plays it on her own terms anyway. Peeta is right when he said that Katniss doesn’t know how she affects people. Because really, it is hard not to admire her strength and mental fortitude. No matter how much the odds are against her favor, she pushes back. She shows that nobody owns her.
I do feel bad for Peeta though because he believes in Katniss’s actions. There is no malice in his words. Even if he says white lies, it is always for Katniss sake. Plus he’s such a sweetheart that it is impossible to hate him.
Then there’s Catching Fire. I’m still on the HG vibe while reading this, so I thought that was fantastic. In retrospect, it’s okay. The plot thickens, the love triangle gets intense. But it is apparently riding along the hype the first book created.
But in Catching Fire, I meet other wonderful victors -or tributes- that it is hard to see them die. Because they are all introduced as if they’ll play a major role, possibly a strong contender for the Games. Only for them to die right off the bat.
As much as I loved Hunger Games and would egg everyone I know to read it if they haven’t yet, I have conflicting feelings about Mockingjay.
For the last book in the trilogy, Mockingjay is anti-climactic. Instead of showing the highlights, how the Capitol falls, the scene moves to another scene where Katniss is injured and drugged up. Pretty much all she’s ever done in the book.
The Katniss I knew and loved, is gone and in her place is someone who can’t seem to have a will to live. Okay at seventeen, she’s gone through a lot, suffered a lot, and seen far more gristly things than anyone would in their lifetime. But if you spend most of your time, running away from things and don’t care about everything, why should I care for you anymore? You barely cared for yourself and your surroundings. She’s turned into “the ultimate negative” or a fallen hero who is not merely defeated but wants to die. It is hard to imagine her being the face of rebellion because she does too little to be convincing. Even her grand announcement to be the Mockingjay all seems half-baked decisions. Supposedly, that is a major turning point. But with how Katniss acted and the whole thing carried out, everything falls flat.
So you’d say, she is devastated about Peeta. Alright. Fair point. But HG Katniss would do whatever it takes to bring him back. Like what she had to go through in the first Games where she had to face other tributes just to get the medicine for him. But MJ Katniss only screamed, get drugged up and eventually her allies came up with the idea to save him FOR her.
I know Katniss is only human. I actually grieve with her in her moments in the wood, where she thought of better times. She acknowledges that times have changed, and so is she. But I’m waiting for her resolution that never came.
When did Peeta > Prim happen? When I got to the part where she imagined Prim as a doctor, and that a real future lies at the end of the rebellion, I thought for sure, she’d channel HG Katniss. But it ended like that – an imagination. For this Katniss is too busy throwing pity parties to act on something that really matters.
I realized I was being tolerant of her all along, probably since Catching Fire. I kept the faith that somewhere in the story, she’ll regain herself. But she never did.
My disappointment towards Katniss leads to liking other characters, namely Finnick and Gale. I spent a good half of the book worrying about them, whether they’ll get killed or not because that’s what happened to any of my favorites in the book. Like in every page I turn, or major events coming up, I might have them dead. Also, I ended up liking Johana Mason as well since, despite everything, she still got the spunk she has shown in the Quarter Quell. And of course, Annie Cresta. I’d rather read an Epilogue about her and how she’s coping with her life. The entire book pictures her as the mad woman, but in her last scene, she’s got a good head on her shoulders.
Mockingjay is a lot darker than the first book so expect lots of sad moments. I’m a crybaby when it comes to these things, but I didn’t cry because of all the deaths. I cried because they aren’t given a dignified death. You’d think that with everything that happened, they deserve to have an important screentime. But they aren’t; They are glossed over and moved on to the other scenes. Heck Prim’s death, which I expected to be an emotionally charged scene doesn’t move me.
For the romance, I loved how it takes a backseat in the first book. I’m all for Team Peeta (even if I still love Gale). But towards the end, I wished Katniss won’t end up with any of them because they’re all too broken to think of romance. I wanted her, for once, to decide for herself instead of continually going with the flow. And Peeta. Katniss didn’t choose him. He’s just… there, available. And I don’t know if I’ll buy that he regains his love for her. Besides what’s with Gale’s ending? He just goes in another district, living a fancy life? That’s it? After all he’s done and been through? THAT’S JUST IT?