I honestly don’t know how to rate this book in terms of “stars”. I can’t say unequivocally that I really liked it, but I also can’t say that I didn’t. There were times while reading this book that if I had stopped at a particular moment and not picked it back up I would have said that I really didn’t like it; fortunately, I kept picking it back up and made it all the way to the end. As is true with every story, it all boils down to the ending.
A friend asked me recently for my take on endings. Did they have to be happy? Could an audience love a book that had a “downer” ending? I’m not saying that Mockingjay ended in either fashion, but my response to my friend was that an ending must be satisfying. It’s great when it’s happy, it certainly can be sad, but either way it has to feel right. When I read the final line of The Hunger Games trilogy and closed the book, I was satisfied. The ending felt realistic and right.
Suzanne Collins handled the love triangle masterfully, but thankfully the choice between Gale and Peeta was not the be all and end all of the story. There was a much deeper message. I’ve heard some people say that the books are too violent, especially for young adults. I certainly don’t think that a story has to have violence to be amazing, but as for too violent…well… I seem to remember reading a lot of historical fiction as a pre and early teen. There were scenes in these stories that were every bit as grisly and brutal, graphic and horrifying, as anything described in The Hunger Games; the only difference? These were based on true events of what real people had done to other real people.
I think that Ms. Collins paints an unsavory picture of what could be, but more importantly she delivers a powerful example of what we should strive not to be, for it is always the children who suffer the most.