Middles; why are most of them awful? I am hard pressed to find a middle section of a trilogy or three-parter that I prefer to the beginning or the end. With of course the exception of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which is definitely the best film of the three; you cannot beat giant talking trees. The middle episodes of Sherlock are never as brilliant as the others, I put The Subtle Knife down fairly quickly, and the second Die Hard film ‘Die Harder’ is definitely one to avoid; to quote Buffy’s ‘Once More With Feeling’ Willow,’I think this line’s mostly filler’. So far my only exception is The Millennium Trilogy, however, I have not read the third book yet so we’ll wait and see.
If you are a regular reader you will remember that disappointment inappropriately reflecting my feelings for Catching Fire; the characters felt rudimentary and hungers games 2.0, contrived. I held out little hope for enjoying Collins’s third instalment, Mockingjay, the culmination of Katniss’s adventure. Refreshingly, I was proved to be mistaken in my doubt.
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains–except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.Synopsis from Goodreads
I enjoyed Mockingjay so much I felt the need to email myself every time I found something interesting. Where Catching Fire lacked character development and an interesting plot line Mockingjay made up for it. With the exception of Gale, who I still believe was portrayed as nothing more than a romantic distraction for Katniss; each sub-character came into their own.
In Hunger Games and Catching Fire Peeta’s love for Katniss was often ridiculously steadfast; unmoving and unchanging with Katniss’s indecisiveness, concealment and betrayal; dramatically changing this to a point where Peeta hated Katniss was fantastic. Not only did this allow Katniss to reassess her plans to be the Mockingjay and her actions at the Capitol, it also allowed her to adultly asses how she felt for both Peeta and to a lesser extent Gale. I did find myself frustrated with the time in which it took Katness to realise that Peeta was being used as a tool against her, as it was glaringly obvious, however, the removal of his constant adoration was a pleasant change. I am not sure this trilogy even needed Gale; Katniss could have been confused in regards to Peeta without another love interest. The subtle dissolution of their friendship was inevitable and boring.
Collins’s development of characters such as President Snow, President Coin, Finnick and Haymitch has made me crave a prequel, leading up to Katniss volunteering as Tribute for Prim. Snow’s abuse of his Hunger Games champions, using Finnick as an escort, killing Hamiches family; this added needed depth and interest.
The use of propaganda in this trilogy was wonderful. Initially I wanted District 13 to be a wonderful new place to discover, and after my initial disappointment I was gleeful at its clear similarities with the Capitol. Both opposite and yet alike; where the Capitol is hedonistic, relying on this production of its districts, 13 is austere and fierce with a strict regime. Both shared stark differences and glaring similarities; 13 wanted exactly what the Capitol had, they utilised the same methods, the way they lived appeared to be their only difference.
Mockingjay was a wonderful end to what could have been a disappointing trilogy; ignoring the necessary middle it has been a fantastic reading experience.