However, let's start with the positive:
I liked how the rebellion was not clean cut. The rebels did not represent complete good, and the capitol didn't represent complete evil. I felt this gave the plot an underlying complexity that was intriguing.
I thought the scene where Finnick tells the camera how he was treated after being a victor was powerful and moving.
I enjoyed the scenes where Katniss actually got out and did something like shooting arrows at the helicopters that are trying to bomb the hospital and, well, hmmm, I guess the only other proactive thing she does is lead an attack to break into Snow's mansion. However, this is a futile attempt and in my opinion is one of the book's main weaknesses.
My overall problem with the book is the characters. Where did Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Finnick and others disappear to? I recognize Collins wanted to show the tragedy of war on the human psyche, but she way overdid it and in doing so didn't stay true to her characters.
Also, many parts of the book are unbelievable. I know this is a dystopian novel, but near the end the Capitol's defense system sounded to far fetched. For example: a government that can outfit it's city with apparently thousands of “pods” that do just about everything from melting human flesh with a bright light to ripping open the ground like an earthquake, certainly could have figured out a way to attack district 13 with more than just regular old bombs. Hello?
By the end of the book I wanted to go back and count how many times Katniss wakes up in a hospital. At least six or seven. She's has her leg ripped apart, is mentally unstable, suicidal, shot, burned, starved, put in solitary confinement, and the list goes on and on. I understand this is war, but not every violent thing has to happen one person. It feels a little ridiculous.
The climax never happens. At the end of the book Katniss and a few remaining soldiers are literally feet away from getting into Snow's house when the action stops. Katniss wakes up (again) in a hospital and the whole take-over of the Capitol is done.
I feel Collins betrays her reader by killing off nearly every important character in order for her to preach the obvious moral of the book which is war is evil. Killing Prim was the ultimate betrayal since keeping her alive is the main premise of the whole series. It just felt wrong. I see the need for there to be death in a book about war, but it seemed by the end she was killing characters left and right. It took the impact out of the book.
Like I said, Collins is a great writer and has a gift with language, plot and pace. I am impressed with what she has done in her career. I don't think this book ruins her obvious talent. I just wish it could have been different . . . a lot different.
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