Oh I know, it’s a very old book and what not. I read the first 2 books before the movies and then I decided to wait for the third movie to come out to read the third book, if that makes any sense. And I was not going to put my thoughts here but I had too, since I have been thinking about this book for some time.
I had very high expectations, needless to say, and I had prepared myself for disappointment, but I was so surprised. Of all the ways I had thought this series would end, this was not it. It would have been easier to create another hunger games type scenario in this book and give it the same heart pounding, edge of the seat thriller ending. But the author took a great risk, I feel, with this book.
We all think of Katniss as this ultimate heroine, who in-spite of all her doubts and reservations will kill the evil president Snow, choose one of the boys she’s in love with and live happily ever after. But we forget to see the trauma caused by the hunger games, of killing people and seeing people you once knew die. We also forget the lasting impression it can have on a young mind because we want action, and we want to see good triumph over evil and we want to see a happily ever after. But things don’t work that way, do they? I reality all we see, is people carrying on, forging ahead and living because they have to. And this is not what we would want to see of our favorite heroine. We want to see her rise against all odds, but everyone has a breaking point and Katniss had one too. If we look back on the first two books, Katniss really wasn’t this super girl who wanted to be a hero. She was forced to be the face of the rebellion; she was never this girl who wanted greatness for herself. She did rise to the occasion whenever required. But when faced with destruction and the loss of loved ones, she just didn’t see a point to all the violence and a need to go on. At the end of it, she was just someone who was broken from within and saw no point in all the heroism.
I don’t remember when I last cried after reading a book but this one had me in tears. It’s not just a rebellion story anymore, it’s also about the consequences of war, the possibility of loosing your loved ones to it. It also shows how power can corrupt and what lengths people can go to keep it. The author is not afraid to kill people. In most books of this kind, the author is usually reluctant to show any real harm done to the main and popular characters of the book. Not in this case, it just makes the situation more real by reminding us that violence doesn’t spare anyone and it leaves lasting effects on those who survive. They win, they might even celebrate, but in the end, all they do is put one foot in front of the other and manage to keep sane.
I find myself thinking about this book days after I’ve read it, and it makes me love it even more. It’s depressing but it’s also strangely very satisfying.