Well it's been at least a week since I posted about The Hunger Games which can't be right. So here are my thoughts on book two and three of the trilogy, Catching Fire and MockingJay.
To summarize my opinions I first and foremost it was impossible not to compare these two for their predecessor, the original Hunger Games. I found the following books to sequentially diminish is quality and entertainment value compared to the first. Continue reading to find out more...
This follows on directly from The Hunger Games where Katniss and Peeta are reunited back in district 12 in their new victors village. The pair are most definately scarred from their experiences and life certainly does not come to a happy equilibrium for the couple who both seem unable to settle in their new lives and discover what makes them happy in their day to day lives.
The couple commence on their victory tour of all the districts attempting to convince the world, and the Capital of their undying love for each other. The tour is uncomfortable especially as Peeta and Katniss played some part in every one of each districts' tributes' deaths. The social unrest caused by the events in the games comes to a head when in Rue's district, 11, the crowd simultaneously salute with the leader being immediately shot by Peacekeepers and chaos commencing. Civil unrest in other districts is hinted upon throughout the book through small clues being relayed to Katniss.
The couples relationship is no longer existent and the announcement that the 75th Annual Hunger Games (the Quarter Qwell) will be taking place after a reeping of the previous victors is seemingly a death sentence to the lovers who, along with Haymitch, are the only victors to ever come from district 12.
A lot of new characters are introduced at this point with two victors from each district announced and the same rigmarole for preparation of the games adhered to. As the two protagonists begin to accept their almost certain deaths and each take on the duty of ensuring the other remains alive, they experience a slight sense of relief and when they finally do enter the arena. This is where I found the intensity of the experience is markedly reduced from the 74th games.
The arena experience definately lacks something from the first and the climax of the entire book involving some electricity, a wire, and too many characters to follow is messy. But the result is that Katniss is saved to head back to the familiarty of her family and Haymitch, whilst Peeta has been captured by the Capital, possibly to be killed and tortured.
We are left with the cliffhanger that District 12 no longer exists... BOOM!
After that bombshell in the next stage of the story Katniss is returned to District 13, which is still habitable despite the Capital's propaganda suggesting otherwise.
A full scale civil war has commenced and Katniss is the reluctant face of the rebel movement. Similarly to the previous book she is still mentally tortured but now more so than ever before. A theme which we visit again and again where both she and Peeta consider taking their own lives more than once.
There are various back and forth assaults on each other from both the Capital and the rebels but the story reaching a climax when after securing the other districts Katniss and a team of soldiers including Gale and Peeta, who has now been brainwashed by the Capitol is hating Katniss after attempting to murder her numerous times, enter the Capital on a mission to kill President Snow.
The mission goes forward with numerous casualties of beloved characters and eventually President Snow is captured after a final bloody battle where the children outside the palace's gates are needlessly murdered seemingly upon his orders. Prim is also killed at this time when she was attempting to help casualties.
In a climactic finalé during the execution of President Snow which Katniss was promised was her privilege she realizes that the orders were not from Snow but from the rebel leader and new president of Panem, someone Katniss trusted implicitly, Coin. Katniss aims her arrow away from Snow and executes Coin instead, chaos ensues and the crazed crowd surge.
Finally we are informed that Gale moved on and out of contact with Katniss while her and Peeta marry; although she will never be able to forget the torture she was put through as a result of The Games and the following uprising.
I found these two stories particularly depressing. The sense of hope and optimism in the first book is completely disbanded here and at numerous points, despite having a good chunk of pages in my right hand I felt that all hope had been lost.
Although the stories are of a dystopia these two sequels really are dark. Our main protagonists become unrecognizable from their previous selves and all sense of hope for the future vanishes. Even when the seemingly evil antagonist President Snow is due to the murdered to restore the equilibrium and remove the social apartheid the citizens of Panem are subject to, there is complications and your view of the characters is completely turned on its head again.
Yes the story keeps you guessing and I felt myself reading on just to see what happens despite knowing that peace and happiness can never be restored to the beloved characters. In this sense the story is unpredictable in how it will predictably end in unhappiness and heartache. But in any recommendations you may be making remember that the dystopian world we characters inhabit merely changed to a different kind of dystopia rather than into the utopia we all want to see. But I suppose that would be boring.
Dark, dystopian, unpredictable