*There will be MAJOR SPOILERS*
Where to start with this book. I liked a lot of things in this book however I also hated a lot of things and I got pissed off many a times.
Basically this book picks up about a month after "Catching Fire". Katniss is now in district 13 with Gale and their families. Peeta is still captured by the capitol. District 13's president, Coin, is basically manning the rebellion. All the districts, save for district 2, are rebelling against the capitol. The book basically deals with the rebellion, Katniss' part in it, getting Peeta back, the end of the revolution and what happens after it. Its a lot to take in but I'm going to try to break it down.
First is district 13. It had survived the bombing during the dark ages and it was the capitol's district that had the nuclear technology (bombs). After 13 was bombed, the people build an amazing city underground complete with living quarters, hospitals, and so on. You name it and they got it. Elevators that go up, down and sideways get you where you need to go. District 13 and its people are entirely militaristic. Guard are everywhere and children over the age of 14 are allowed to join the army and they are called "Soldier". The capitol knew 13 had survived and allowed them to remain "dead" to the outside world because 13 threatened to bomb the capitol with nuclear bombs.
District 12 is completely gone. All that's left is ash. We find out that 90% of 12's population died during the capitol bombing. Only around 800 people survived because of Gale, who tore down the fence and led the people to the lake in the woods. From there district 13's hovercrafts rescued them. The only part of 12 that remains untouched is the victor's village. Peeta's family bakery is gone and none of his family made it to district 13. When Katniss visits 12 all she sees is ashes and bodies.
Now on to Katniss. She was very different in this book. Very fragile. I can't say I liked her this way but I understand it because of all that she's been through. She is very weak throughout the book and constantly needs to be sedated. She gets injured a lot. While I say that when the main character gets injured it makes the story more believable, the amount of injuries Katniss sustains is going to far. In like every other chapter she's in the hospital hooked up to morphling. It got kinda old. She is very depressed at Peeta's capture and wants him back. He's all she thinks about, which proves that she loves him. Throughout the book Katniss is the mockingjay or the face of the rebellion. Most of her time is spent making propos for the rebellion which get fed into the tv's all over Panem. While Katniss does have some of the fiery moments in the book that she is known for, its not a lot. Most of her moments come when she's directly disobeying orders from people, like when she helped the rebels in district 8 take down the capitol's bomber planes.
Now on to Peeta. Peeta had been tortured by the capitol using tracker jacker venom. His form of torture caused him to remember false memories of Katniss which caused him to hate her and want to kill her. He is rescued by 13, in the middle of the book. Katniss is ecstatic that he was rescued but when she goes to see him he tries to choke her. From then on, 13's doctors are trying to find a way to "cure" or at least help him and reverse what the capitol did. Whenever Peeta is seen in 13, he is chained and always has guards escorting him around. He thinks Katniss is a mutt and everything that happened in the games and in district 12 is her fault. He says some really nasty things to her the few times they speak together. Peeta was sent to Katniss squad (includes Boggs, Gale, Finnick and a few 13 soldiers) in the capitol when the rebels were trying to infiltrate it. Peeta was put on watch. The squad started a kind of game with Peeta called "Real or Not Real", where Peeta tells them a memory he has and someone tells him if what he remembers was real or not real (made up by his torture). Later on Katniss' squad was asked to do a props where they take out a street and its pods (boobytraps). The street is supposedly safe for them (they are known as the "Start Squad") with only 2 pods to disarm. However Boggs ends up stepping on a mine which explodes and this is where the shit goes down. Katniss and her squad is cut off from the rebel camp and they plan to go into the capitol and kill president Snow. After Boggs mine goes off, it causes other explosions on the blocks surrounding them. Bogg's gets his legs blown off and while Katniss is dragging him along, Peeta goes insane (think Hulk..He's ok one minute, the next something sets him off that causes him to want to kill Katniss) and tries to kill Katniss, but fails and succeeds in killing one of the squad members.
Later in Peeta feels terrible about what he has done and calls himself a monster. He then asks the squad to kill him. They refuse and drag him along. There are some instances later on where he saves Katniss and where she brings him back from his madness. Katniss tells him "because that's what you and I do. Protect each other". Later on when Peeta is trying to fight the madness, Katniss kisses him and tells him "Don't let him take you from me". Peeta says "No. I don't want to..." and Katniss says "Stay with me". Then he regains control and says "Always". Its seems these two need each other al the time which I am so totally for.
Now on to Gale. He's an ass. I do like how focused he is on the rebellion and how seriously he takes training and being in 13's army. He and Beetee come up with new bombs and strategies on how to use them which Katniss doesn't agree with. He still complains about Katniss not returning his feelings. He and Katniss fight a lot in the book but he is always reliable. He keeps her safe when their squad is making their way to the capitol. When Katniss and Gale are in district 2, trying to find a way to take out the "Nut" (peacekeeper's headquarters) the readers can see the cold side of Gale. He suggests that the rebels bomb the mountain where the nut is, which will cause all the Nut's exits to be barricaded. Gale then also suggests that they bomb the train tracks that lead underground from the nut to district 2's square so that the peacekeepers can't escape and they will all die. Katniss is appalled at this suggestion and reminds Gale that they come from a mining district where situations like the one he wants to cause are feared by 12's people. Gale basically doesn't really care. Later on in the book, once of Gale's bombs that he was creating with Beetee was used to kill a mass amount of children and someone Katniss care about. This causes her to not be able to disconnect Gale from the death of her loved one which is the end of their relationship. Now if Gale loves Katniss as much as he said he does, why doe he accept this answer? Why doesn't he try to fight for her or try to get her to change her mind? Instead he goes off to district 2, gets a fancy job and doesn't keep in contact with her. Gale should have stayed with her and over time her thinking could of changed but that doesn't happen. Guess he didn't love her as much as he thought.
This book was a lot more gory than they others. The Pods (boobytraps) in the capitol are crazy on how they kill people. Bogg's gets his legs blown off. One pod cause human flesh to "melt of the body like candle wax". Another pod has some sort of lasers that case blood to "spray from all visible orifices- eyes, nose, mouths, ears." People are beheaded, eaten or torn apart. Katniss falls in people's blood, comes into contact with body parts and skulls. Its so nasty. I almost gagged a few times.
The part in the book that really pissed me off was all the deaths of the main characters. First Cinna is dead. I'm like "WTF", no way. I knew he got beat up in the second book, but to kill him? That was so upsetting to read. I got really mad when Bogg's died. He was President Coin's second hand man but he cared for Katniss and protected her, like a father. His death was gory and really sad. He died protecting and helping Kaniss to the end when he gave her the Holo and told her to keep on going and not trust anyone. I guess that death that upset me the most was Finnick's. I mean what the hell was the point of his death? None I say! His whole wedding to Annie was put into the book as a cause for celebration in 13. He was reunited with Annie the love of his life. They were happy and finally together. You could see their bright future. But then no sorry he has to die. When I read that part I actually said "What the F***! No!" and some other choice words. It just was a senseless death. One of the other members of the squad should of died instead of him. I can't even find word to describe how upset I am at this turn of events. Its just......no. I guess the major death that everyone who reads the book is focused on is Prim's death. My sister told me that she died after I finished the first book of the trilogy, so I wasn't surprised when I read it in the book. I was surprised and angry about Prim's death when she told me about it. Again what was the reason for it? None I say again! It just makes the trilogy pointless. The whole point, besides the rebellion, of the trilogy was Katniss
protecting her sister. She made sure that Prim was safe in every action that she did. That's why she volunteered to take her place in the hunger games in the first place..so she WOULDN"T die. Collins may have well just put Prim in the hunger games and killed her off... that would of made a short book. I don't know. Sometime author's choices don't make any sense to me. If Collins was aiming to upset and anger her readers, she succeeded.
I hated president Snow with a passion in this book. What he does to Peeta, to Katniss' district and to Panem in general is such a dick move. I was appalled at what Finnick revealed in his interview, how Snow sold him and other attractive tributes to capitol people for sex. He's nothing but a perverted pimp and he should be killed for that act alone. I especially hated him when all the kids in the capitol were bombed (which also caused Prim's death). The killing of the children was abhorrent and again SENSELESS! It was just so.....wrong. But them we find out that Snow isn't as cruel and cold-hearted as we think he was because he didn't bomb the children- the new president of Panem from district 13, Coin did. I'm so glad when Katniss killed her. I didn't like her from the beginning. She was cold, too bossy, untrustworthy and unlikable. All she cared about was power, taking it from Snow and doing whatever she had to to get it. Then she asks the remaining victors if they should have a hunger game. Is she insane or what? The whole point of the rebellion was to stop the hunger games and there she is suggesting one more. What a bitch.
There was not a lot of romance in this books. Katniss is incredible depressed about Peeta's capture and she wants him back. When she does get him back, he is different because of his torture and that makes her depressed too. Its clear from her feelings that she loves him. Even Finnick says that its clear to anyone watching them that she cares for Peeta. Her mind, wherever she is is on Peeta. She says things like "That Peeta could return to me?" and "Snow has taken him from me". One part that pulled at me heart and almost made me burst in to tears was when, in the rebel camp by the capitol, Katniss was telling Peeta things about himself, that only someone who cares/loves him would know/notice about him:
At a few minutes before four, Peeta turns to me again.
"Your favorite color....it's green?"
"That's right." Then I think of something to add. "And
yours s orange."
"Orange?" He seems unconvinced
"Not bright orange. But soft. Like the sunset," I say. "At least, that's
what you told me once."
"Oh." He closes his eyes briefly, maybe trying to conjure up that sunset,
then nods his head. "Thank you."
But more words tumble out. "You're a painter. You're a baker. You like to
sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always
double knot your shoe laces"
The I dive into my tent before I do something stupid like cry"
I'm so glad at the ending where Peeta and Katniss end up together. After the rebellion and the killing of the president Katniss is sent to live in her house in district 12. Katniss is basically a lump on a log. All she does is sit at home, wallowing. She doesn't come out of her house and only eats when Greasy Sae cooks for her (which is 2x a day). She doesn't open any mail, she doesn't go hunting even when she discovers her bow and arrows in the house. She has basically given up on life until the day Peeta shows up. I'm telling you these two were meant to be together. He's planting Primroses around her house. She flies upstais, showers, changes clothes and goes hunting right after she's spoken to him. Its like an instant change when she sees him. From then on they grow and heal together. They work on a book that holds their memories of what has happened. Katniss hunts and Peeta bakes. They marry and have children. Katniss realizes that she didn't need Gale's "fire" to survive beaucse she had enough of her own. She realized that she needed "is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that." I am ecstatic that they end up together. I had rooted for them all along. I know s lot of people didn't like this book but I really did and I'm happy with the ending. I also love this quote between Peeta and Katniss at the end of the book"
So after, when he whispers, "You love me. Real or not real?"
I tell him, "Real."
This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews