On the Hunger Games trilogy

Did the Third Book Suck?

By Brent Hartinger

Here’s something I think every reader of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy can agree on: the third book, Mockingjay, is very different from the two that come before it.

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire both have similar structures, telling the story of Katniss’ actual participation in an installment of the Hunger Games.

Mockingjay, meanwhile, is about the aftermath of those Games and how Katniss ultimately takes them down.

There are all kinds of ways to tell this story, but Mockingjay turns out to be a revenge tale. This time, it’s very, very personal. It isn’t so much about defeating the Capitol and stopping the Hunger Games. It’s (mostly) about Katniss trying to kill the person she thinks is responsible for the Games themselves–the person who caused her so much pain.

As reluctant as I am to admit this, the book disappointed me. When I finished it, I kind of thought it sucked.

Okay, sure, maybe I was also slightly disappointed in Catching Fire, mostly because much of it seemed like a repeat of the first book. But the middle part of a trilogy is supposedly where the action often flags. Besides, the plot of Catching Fire still zipped along, the stakes were even higher, and that ending was, well, trippy. Best of all, the second book gave us more of Katniss, one of the smartest, most appealing reluctant heroes of all time.

So what if I didn’t like Mockingjay? Most of the reviews were raves, so I figured I just kind of missed the point.  …

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