First off, I am stupid for getting so emotionally invested in the books that I read, because whenever I read a series of books that ends like the Hunger Games trilogy ends, I get severely depressed.
I literally threw Mockingjay on the ground after I finished it.
I hated the way it ended.
Call me lame, overdone, simple, predictable, whatever, I don’t really care, but when I read fiction I want it to portray life as should be, not life as it is. The way I see it, fiction should heal the part of our souls that has been damaged by this life and promises us that it doesn’t have to be the way it is- that there is a life of difference somewhere out there, and that goodness is possible.
When I finished Mockingjay, I waited for the resolution, the healing to occur. I felt like it had zero healing, which is especially tragic when the characters in the trilogy suffer as much as they did. Suzanne Collins is excellent when it comes to the adventurous, exciting, gritty, gory parts of her novels, but is, in my opinion, definitely lacking when it comes to the resolution part of the story.
And to me, it seemed that the rebels were just as horrible as the Capitol. Yes, I know Katniss killed President Coin when she realized what she was, but it just left an extremely bad taste in my mouth. When I come to the end of a story I don’t want the side I’ve been rooting for to be revealed as a bunch of monsters (I mean they killed Prim! What the hell?!?!). It just seems like the whole book was a lie, that everything Katniss fought for meant next to nothing.
I know life doesn’t always have happy endings, and that’s okay. Some of my favorite novels don’t have “happy” endings. All I want is for the story to feel fully resolved. I feel like the Hunger Games trilogy ended without anything being fixed. It just ended with the surviving characters still really messed up. Yes, the fascist government was overthrown and (supposed) peace was established in Panem, but that means nothing to the reader if the protagonist ends up in a terrible state at the end of the novel.
Character growth was strange, because I didn’t really feel as though there was any. The only “growth” that happened with Katniss and Peeta (who I consider to be the main protagonists) was that they got more jaded and cynical and terrified of life. Peeta started out the story as a young man full of love and hope, and ended up being a broken shell of who he once was and full of anger. Katniss started out being the resolute survivor, tough, but still vulnerable, still able to trust. She ended the story as a deranged lunatic suffering from a severe case of post traumatic stress disorder and drug addiction. I know that realistically, given the awful situations that they were in, they would develop horrible disorders from the atrocities that they saw and committed, but that doesn’t really make me feel any different about the story.
It’s fine if characters in novels go through terrible things, because that’s how growth occurs, but I hate it when such tribulations are in the story and the characters come out of it being much, much worse. When I think of character growth, I want the characters to actually grow into characters of character! It’s fine if they go through tough times, but I want them to face the realization of what’s happened with courage and come out of it being stronger, not drowning in their inability to process bad things.
Now, I write all this as a fan of the stories, (I read the series in a span of about 3 days because I couldn’t put the books down) so I’m not someone who just loves bashing things. I loved a lot of things about the books, but it’s difficult for me to identify individual moments in the books that I liked when the whole story unnerves me so much.
I know no one cares, but I give the whole series a rating of 3 out of 5.
It was engaging and intense and quite frankly, epic, but the ending is so unsatisfying that I honestly don’t think I’ll ever read the books again.