I loved the first book The Hunger Games, although I wanted it to go a little further and thus NOT be a young adult book when it came to the actual Games. I absolutely LOVED the second book, Catching Fire. I had no issues with that book whatsoever. So I naturally moved on to this third book without hesitation. I have to say I was disappointed.
The premise, in case you're one of the few out there who isn't in the know, is that Katniss won the Hunger Games in the first book by essentially snubbing her nose at the rules and the Capitol, forcing their hand. This act became a sign of the rebellion already stirring in this nation of Panem, and Katniss herself became am unwilling and unwitting symbol of that rebellion. In the second book, President Snow attempted to get Katniss to quell the rebellion, and when that didn't work, attempted to kill her by sending her back to the Games. But the rebels rescued her from the Games and now the rebellion is in full swing. In Mockingjay, Katniss has to deal with the her new status as the Mockingjay, symbol of the rebellion, and that Peeta was NOT rescued along with her and is in the hands of Snow. How far must she go to help the rebellion in its aims in order to save Peeta? And what will the consequences be to herself, her family, and Gale?
I think my main disappointment with this third book is that, except for one moment at the very end of the book, Katniss herself is simply a witness to events that others initiate. The rebellion is, in essence, out of her hands and she is a piece being moved here and there in order to further the cause. Katniss herself makes almost no real decisions herself, and those that she does make gets her into further trouble with not only Snow, but Coin, the leader of the rebellion in District 13. I don't think Katniss should have been an integral part of the rebellion, in the respect that she should have been fighting on the front lines or anything. That's unrealistic. She IS a symbol, and is used as such. But she should have been stronger and voiced her opinion more, especially after what's happened to her up to this point. I wanted her to ACT, to do something more significant than what she does. And for a long while, it seemed that she would, once the rebels reached the Capitol itself. However, that plotline ended up simply rambling into nothing, a huge disappointment.
That said, her one significant act was tremendous and a game-changer. Even though it was obvious it was coming (at least to me), it still had a huge impact and made the book at least a satisfactory conclusion to Katniss' story.
I think that's the main problem with the third book--it attempted to focus on events that were outside of Katniss' story, when it should have remained exclusively about Katniss, her family, Peeta, and Gale, with the greater rebellion happening off stage from this more personal story. Where the book isn't quite as good is when it's dealing with the rebellion and world as a whole, when the focus is OFF Katniss. If it had stayed more focused, and Katniss had been stronger and dealt with the personal storyline more directly, it would have been a better book.
Not that is was a bad book by any means. I have some critical things to say, yes, but it was still a good book, and definitely a series worthy of the attention that it's gotten up to this point. It would have been nearly impossible to live up to the greatness of Catching Fire (IMO) regardless. *grin*Joshua Palmatier/Benjamin Tate