I don’t think I’ve ever described a work of fiction as “harrowing”, but that is what this trilogy was. I’ve been affected by books before- I cried when Dumbledore died, and rejoiced when Frodo got rid of the ring, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so emotionally drained, so distressed and left a series feeling so empty as I have with this one.
I’ve been attempting to emotionally detach myself in order to review it, but I must say that it is genuinely difficult to do so. If you’ve read my first review, you will see that I was excited to be embarking on a new relationship with a series, no matter how gruesome the premise. However, as I closed the final page of mockingjay I was not elated, but rather crushed. All the best writers drag their characters through suffering-it’s part of the transformation of the character, but this series follows one girl’s descent into what can only be described as complete madness. The author’s ruthlessness is so relentless that I would even describe Collins’ treatment of her characters as callous.
The second book- Catching Fire starts a few months after Katniss’ win at the games, and follows the her through what is known as the ‘Quarter Quell’- where once every 25 years there is an even more gruesome tribute to be paid- this years’ Hunger Games sees the pool of tributes taken only from previous victors. At the same time, Katniss’ defiance at the previous games has started a rebellion – of which she is the mascot. Mockingjay then follows Katniss after she has escaped from the arena and the rebellion against the Capitol is in full swing. With Peeta captured Katniss must be the symbol of the rebellion- she must be their Mockingjay.
I’m not sure what is more heartbreaking- watching Katniss transform from a flawed but sweet young girl, confused about her feelings for two men, into a half-crazed, almost suicidal head case- or the realization (both hers and yours) that the regime which Katniss brings to power is only marginally better than the one left behind. I read an article in which a mother asked for the Hunger Games to be removed from her child’s curriculum because it was giving her child nightmares and she didn’t approve of the message it gave. Whilst I continue to think this woman is clearly a moron, before you begin this terrible journey with Katniss, you do have to prepared to accept extreme loss and darkness- because that is precisely what you’re going to get. Don’t forget to Donate to World Horse Welfare- it’s all for a good cause!