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on January 17, 2013
I'm not a book reader but I was intrigued by the movie. The style of writing targets a teenage audience and flows well. The movie's perspective is 3rd person narrative. The trilogy, however, reads like a personal diary. We find out what is going on in Katniss's head. The movie tends to shorten or speed up the action, whereas by reading her personal account we can really experience the full 3-4 week duration of the first hunger games contest. Here is a person of unimaginable courage, yet throughout her adventures remains sincere and modest. She is a fiercely independent thinker. She has a conscience. She does not want to take lives gratuitously or indescriminately. But she does not hesitate to kill if she has to. What sets her apart is that she's not politically ambitious. She has no political agenda other than a desire to end tyranny (the totalitarian state) and mitigate the excessive exploitation of class disparity. What fascinated me was how different political groups kept trying to use her as a "symbol" without realising that she actually was as great as the "legend" she was supposed to be portraying. Only in the fullness of time in the history of Panem would people look back and recognise her for who she was and how monumental was her impact on Panem's history. An impact as great as Joan of Arc's but virtually without any religious references whatsoever. For that matter, the entire issue of sexuality was also left out of the picture, which at times became hard to accept for a young woman of 16, 17, 18 years of age. There is always an air of nobility about her, her courage, her sense of self-sacrifice. Of course, the novels drive home the reality of all the mental confusion, anxiety as well as guilt that envelope her thoughts, all of which we only get a glimpe of in the film(s). The ending (Mockinjay) is particularly significant because it does not break with, in any way, how her character has developed throughout her ordeals. And it is an ending befitting to a heroine of the highest order.
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On one hand, you could probably read the first 75 pages of "Mockingjay," skip to the final 75 and not feel like you've missed a whole lot in between. On the other hand, Collins' final instalment in "The Hunger Games" trilogy takes readers on such an intense journey that the ending feels satisfying after slogging through the middle.

Collins fills her pages with heavy violence, cruelty, death and sadness but also maintains a sense of honesty. Katniss, Peeta, Gale and even Coin come across as believable characters in the unbelievable hell that Panem becomes. The author embraces the brutality and horror of a post-apocalyptic world and displays the result of a human race at its breaking point

Battered, broken and challenged at every turn, the series' heroine, Katniss, never gives up. But the story's end doesn't come without scars and heartbreak; victory always has consequences. Readers will likely keep "The Hunger Games" in their thoughts long after turning the final page, especially since, at times, Panem doesn't seem all that imaginary.
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on September 18, 2012
** Spoiler**
So, I just finished this book and I have to say it was beyond what I expected. I mean sure there were pages, chapters in which I was skimming because it wasn't all that entertaining. But I liked it because for me, I found it realistic. I found it not some fairy tale happy ending where everyone lives and the end. Katniss is completely screwed up because of the Capitol and she will never be the same. Same goes for Peeta, if not more messed than Katniss. Gale, even though I rooted for him and Katniss, but you can tell which way their relationship will go, because its more realistic. This book isn't meant to have a happy twilight ending.

Despite the fillers and such, the ending chapters when everything is coming to end. I did not want to put the book down. When Suzanne gets into a scene, boy does she get you going with the action, drama, excitement and she gets your blood boiling wanting more and more.

Overall, I was pleased with the way this ended. Because once again, its gives you a realistic twisted ending. If anyone of you were reading this book expecting a Disney ending, we'll that sucks for you guys. Of course Katniss would end up a little crazy after the hell she's been though. Of course Peeta would never be the same. Of Gale and Katniss would never be together because she blames and anyone whose not blind can see see loves Peeta. These characters have been through hell and back, ten times over and I absolutely loved how Suzanne pulled everything together.
Its worth it to purchase the series. Just prepare yourself for the unexpected.
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on July 25, 2012
Mockingjay ties up most of the loose ends well. I was not left wondering what happened to any of the characters. That said I would have loved another hundred pages of detail thrown in. Some peoples story lines were ended quite abruptly.

This third book was very satisfing. I wasn't disappointed as can often be the case with trilogies. Mockingjay focuses mostly on the war and there is very little further character development. Katness' internal torment is the focus of much of the story. The full toll of her experience coupled with her age takes effect on her psychologically. I love how Collins hasn't glossed over the fact that this girl was ripped from her home and forced to kill other children and made a pawn by two sides in a war. Part of what makes this series so compelling is that the lead characters do feel pain and suffering. It humanizes them and helps the reader to relate.

I found myself sad that this series is now complete. This has been a great reading experience and I cannot recommend it strongly enough. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters and it's always sad to say goodbye.
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on July 6, 2012
Does Mockingjay = Batman?

War has erupted and the Capitol and the rogue districts are battling it out. The rebels drawn together under the banner of District 13 (once thought to be destroyed) and seek to rally all the other districts against the oppression of the Capitol and their Hunger Games.

Suzanne Collins does an awesome job walking you through another journal of Katniss Everdeen as she discovers just how messed up her world really is. Peeta is captured and insane. District 13 is a hole in the ground... but one that provides shelter from the refugees of District 12. President Coin (District 13's president) proves to be just as manipulative as President Snow.

The adventure follows Katniss as she decides whether or not she wants to be the rebellion's figurehead: the Mockingjay. She eventually agrees and dons the suit (I get picturesin my head of a Batmanesque figure) and embarks on an adventure to discover just how little she is trusted even by District 13.

The ending seems to be something of a debate whether or not it is good. I will leave that to the reader to decide, but it does tie up all the loose ends (at least the ones I was paying attention to) so that the story has come to a close.

For the sheer fact of wanting to know what happens, I recommend this book, but I don't feel that it was as well written as the previous two in the series.
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on June 16, 2012
*SPOILERS*
Do not read further if you do not wish to learn plot details from the book and it's ending.

After the first two books that built on the characters that readers come to really care about, Collins herself seems to stop caring whether we had cared about them or not, and the resulting last installment is more a sloppy, gruesome "hunger games" than a civil war. There are countless unnecessary mutilation & deaths of most of the key characters, leaving just a small handful of the original characters alive, and we don't even get to know what happens to many of them at the end, with only a vague reference to Gale's fate. The freedom fighters seem to be as bad as the Capital in some areas, especially toward the end of the book when it is probable that they are responsible for the death of a group of children and then the first responders, including the character that Katniss had been fighting to save, her sister. This is made more probable by the fact that the leader of the resistance wants to have a final hunger games to sacrifice the innocent children of the Capital as a form of revenge.

This last book of the trilogy took the series from the surreal into head-shaking ridiculousness, with unbelievable, rose-scented "mutts", "pods" of death that they have a map for, but of course there are many, many undocumented ones that result in death & maiming in ever increasing levels of gruesomeness, to the point that Collins seems to just want to outdo herself in just how gruesome she can make death appear.

The Mockingjay reads more as a movie script than a book, obviously intended to become a feature film, though with this level of gruesomeness I personally wouldn't want to see on the big screen, and I'm not ordinarily the squeamish sort. The book also seems very rushed - especially at the end - as if there was quite a bit of pressure to complete it, or that Collins herself had started to lose interest in the characters and plot.

The ending was as anti-climatic as any ending of a book or movie could possibly be, seemed hurriedly written, disappointing in the extreme, and with many loose ends. We don't know what happens to her "stylists", Gale is skimmed over, and we're unsure of how stable Peeta is. We are left instead with a permanently damaged Katniss who is now an almost empty shell of what she once was, without family & friends, and stuck with a man whose own brokenness and potential instances of out-right homicidal insanity makes their life together as mates frankly unbelievable.
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on June 8, 2012
Diary of a young woman forced to survive against the odds.

The Hunger Games is very enjoyable and hard to put down once you get into it. You are introduced to Katniss Everdeen and see a harsh post-apocalyptic (yet surprisingly lush) world run by a tyrannical "Capitol" which hosts the Hunger Games each year to entertain the populace, discourage rebellions, and generally control populations in a bloody survival game.

The Hunger Games reads like a diary as it is written in first person perspective through the eyes and memories of Katniss. Most of the story line is dealing with a consistent time line, but now and then, there are flash backs to earlier periods in Katniss' life. You will also notice that Katniss has little to no emotion and a supreme distrust of almost everyone. Much of what I enjoyed in this book is her overcoming this emotionless existence and how she begins to build trust in others.

This is an awesome book that drives the reader along an emotional journey. While hard to relate to, you develop concern over the characters and are swept along throughout the book until its excited, plot twisting conclusion... all the while picking up minor hints here and there that there is something bigger bubbling under the surface.

I give this book a huge thumbs up and agree with all the hype about this book.
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on May 24, 2012
Anyone remember "The Running Man?" Here again we have a society where there is a huge discrepancy between the haves and have-nots, and watching people suffer on live tv is considered entertainment. But this story is more heartbreaking and engaging in its delivery. Here we have 12 districts under tyrannical rule of "The Capital," and as punishment for a rebellion 74 years ago each district has to send two children (one male, one female) between the ages 12 - 16 to fight to the death in an arena. This is The Hunger Games and there can only be one winner, so even allies will need to turn on each other eventually. Mandatory viewing for all of Panem, the districts watch helplessly as their children are forced to kill each other in order to survive. The winner is compensated with wealth, a new house, and fame. They also get to mentor the next year's 'lucky' contestants when it's time.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are this year's lucky winners from District 12, and what begins as a tv romance to boost ratings turns into real feelings for them both. Peeta has liked Katniss since they were young, but Katniss is usually so focused on survival she doesn't examine her own feelings or notice how others feel about her. It turns out her best friend and hunting partner, Gale, also has feelings for her and there becomes a "Team Peeta" vs "Team Gale" debate within the reader.

Katniss outsmarts the game rules and as a result both her and Peeta are the winners of this year's Hunger Games. What she considered just trying to survive ignites and fuels the rebellion already brewing in many districts. Panem's president is not pleased, and we are left knowing that survival for Katniss will no longer be just about food.

I could not walk away from this story - not since Harry Potter has a story so captivated me. Maybe it's the horrible injustice, maybe it's the love triangle, maybe it's the story of how survival outweighs the consequences of society's rules - whatever it is, I couldn't wait to begin the next book.
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on May 22, 2012
The book carries the reader swiftly from the start to the end in a futuristic story that has a very personal feel within the framework of a very compelling adventure. It is told in the first person through the eyes of Katniss who gets embroiled in the Hunger Games, an event akin to the ancient Roman gladiator fights in the Coliseum. The arena even has the underground rooms and tunnels like the Coliseum. However, unlike ancient Rome the Hunger Games takes place in the framework of advanced technology with frequent technological surprises along the way. The story of Katniss's participation in the Games reveals the structure of an adversarial society where the aristocrats or oligarchs in the Capitol control those living in the 12 districts. Those in the Capitol hold all the wealth and power and privilege while those in the districts suffer in poverty and food shortages and fear. Like a good adventure story there is plenty of action as well as a web of relationships and interpersonal stories. All these operate within the framework of a society that monitors and controls its citizens very closely.The Griffon Trilogy: Part I
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on May 7, 2012
The Hunger Games took hold of me and didn't let go. I read through it in less than a week and I usually take between 1.5-2 weeks for a book this size. When I wasn't reading it I was thinking about the characters anticipating my next opportunity to sit down and continue their story. This hasn't happened to me since The Game of Thrones.

Collins has done a very good job of creating likeable characters. I found myself caring about them and sharing in their pain, joy and anxiety. The setting of The Hunger Games is disturbing but the characters are inspirational. Twenty four teenagers are thrown into a contrived battle to the death. The concept of this type of game is unsettling but serves to create a great setting. Perfectly designed to create compelling drama. I was intrigued by each character's sometimes subtle contempt for their role in the Games.

This is a brilliant story with compelling characters that I could not help but like. Anyone who enjoys a good bit of fiction should enjoy this. It has drama, violence (not terribly graphic), good character development and a little romance. Once you read the first page you will not want to stop.
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