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This to me felt like much more of an adult themed book than the previous two. We see how Katniss reacts to the horrors she has witnessed in both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Her mental breakdown is extremely heartwrenching and displays the traumatic experiences she has lived through that are finally taking their toll. I think up until now, Katniss has played a part, in the first book, she had to be strong for her sister and mother watching her and also had to pretend to fall in love with Peeta. This act continued in Catching Fire where she was forced under threat of death to make this love appear real for the other Districts during the tours. Finally the Hunger Games are over for Katniss, and because of this, her visage falls and she allows herself to react to what she has been through. Her anger and hatred show through and she no longer has any wish to put on a show for anyone. Because of this her immediate reaction to becoming a “mascot” for the rebellion is cynical, however we properly get to see her progression from this anger to a place where she realises she is not playing a part anymore, this is who she is now, she doesn’t just want to be a symbol, she wants to play an active part and get her revenge.
I was very surprised by the amount of violence in this book. Ok, I know the reader should expect some violence when the subject of the series is children being sent into an arena to kill each other, but I think this final chapter of the series takes a strange turn violence wise. There were some very graphic scenes in it, and while I enjoyed reading it, much more than Catching fire in fact, I found it hard at times to see how it fits in with the rest of the Young Adult series. On the back of that I’m not sure this book will end up translating very well to the big screen, as The Hunger Games movie was marketed at a younger audience than I would have expected. I recently saw a Katniss Everdeen Barbie doll for example. This is not the sort of film I would want a girl who plays with Barbies watching. Hopefully when they make the remaining films they will stay true to the book as I’d really like to see how they handle the topics raised.
All in all, I am giving this a higher score than Catching Fire because when I finished the final page, I had to sit back to catch my breath and take it all in. Even now, thinking about it, the book feels like it could have been a trilogy all by itself in a way as a huge amount happens, and it provoked a lot more emotion in me than the second. Great end to the series, and really looking forward to the movies.