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Mockingjay - the final book in the Hunger Games - If only we learn to surrender

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September 30th, 2010

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08:47 am - Mockingjay - the final book in the Hunger Games
For whatever reason, I couldn't sleep again last night. In the last 14 days, I must have slept less than 20 hours in total. I know why I couldn't sleep (mainly anxiousness and over-rationalizing), but I can't do anything about it right now so I have to wait til this passes.

So last night, I've given up trying to sleep and ended up finishing the final book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, "Mockingjay". I have to say up front that I totally dislike this book. Don't get me wrong, I love the series. The thing that made the Hunger Games series so powerful and enduring for me is the protagonist, Katniss. Admittedly, I find myself comparing Katniss with a couple of real-life people in my life which made her even more real to me. Katniss was placed in dire situations outside her control throughout the first 2 books ("Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire"), but yet, she intuitively does the best she can and fills herself with regret from her actions after the fact. She's the vulnerable girl (IIRC she is 15 in book 1) that is thrown into the role of the strong reluctant heroine and leader. I find myself wanting to reach out to protect her, hug her, kiss her on her forehead and tell her everything is going to be alright.

Then came along the final book in the trilogy where for whatever reason, she turned inward and spent most of her time in the book beside sedated, hiding in closets and being manipulated by the political machine and everyone around her. There seems to be this regression in character as she grows older, unable to make any sense of her actions and withdrawing from her own life. In fact, she ends up being totally dead inside all the way to the epilogue of the book, 15 years later after being married to her sweetheart from book 1 and having a couple of kids. This sense of isolation was compounded by the fact that most of the interesting supporting characters in the first two books (which drove most of her decision making) were killed off in this book.

Similar to life, I don't really expect a fairytale ending. But on the other hand, this regression of character just made me feel that there's no point to this series. It could have been a spectacular ending with great character development. But it ended up weak and frizzled out despairingly.

All in all, I would recommend this series to anyone, esp if you like the Japanese cult classic, "Battle Royale". It is similar in vein, but with a much deeper storyline and character development. It is also a very fast read. But I would definitely recommend "making up your own ending" for the final book.

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