I’m going to say it. This book was a bit of a disappointment.
Though, I’m still trying to figure out why, exactly, it felt that way.
Part of the problem might have been that I had run out of emotional energy by this book. Or that there was no calm at the end of the second book in the series, so I was forced right back into the action…but then spent a lot of time waiting, with Katniss, for the world to end…or change forever.
Also, I feel like there were many missed opportunities for emotional growth. Katniss did learn and grow in a few ways, but there were so many honest and obvious examples of emotional immaturity throughout the trilogy, and I would have loved to see Katniss grapple with more of them. (I am incredibly invested in the emotional health of my fictional literary characters, y’all.) Of course, she was only a teenager, and I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on her, since she managed to free humanity from evil oppression.
There were two plot points that I really enjoyed – which I thought were particularly great additions to Young Adult fiction, and which I would have loved to see fleshed out even more:
1. Katniss couldn’t be “groomed” for celebrity. Every time they tried to coach her, or give her a script, she would be awkward and unconvincing. But whenever she was put in a stressful situation and her instincts took over, she won over the whole country. I love seeing these genuine, unfiltered emotions. Of course, the other side of that coin was shown in the many times she acted against instruction and/or bucked authority.
2. The huge disconnect between Katniss’s opinion of herself and the way others viewed her. This…everyone deals with this, right? It felt so universal to me, and the guilt she was feeling over all of these factors which were actually out of her control. I wished there had been a bit more time spent on correcting these notions, but I think it was obvious to the reader that Katniss was wrong about herself…and I hope they realize the ways this might apply to their lives as well.
So, in summary, it sounds like I’d like to conduct a group therapy book club using this trilogy. Who’s in?