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A Lost Opportunity
on February 15, 2015
It is not necessarily surprising that the third book of the Hunger Games trilogy peters out as compared to the earlier books. What really set the first book apart was the originality of the dystopian concept and the bleakness with which author Suzanne Collins brought us into the lives of those in the districts. Even in the second book, the games themselves provided some good action while giving us some better insight into the nation of Panem.
By now, that originality is gone, and we are left with the more mundane task of trying to overthrow the tyrannical government. Sure, I want the rebels to succeed, but it just does not feel that original anymore. Now it is just a more-typical underdog tale.
Collins herself seemed to recognize this, as seen when the fighting in the Capital is compared to one of the Hunger Games itself, with booby traps laid throughout. But this literary trick only works halfway. I never felt the same excitement in this book as I felt in the others.
A bigger problem, though, is the wasted opportunity of MOCKINGJAY. There are some seriously unanswered questions that should have been explored far more, and that would have made for a better end to this trilogy. It is not credible that a nation so utterly morally degraded would be taken down just by the removal of one president. When the Capital’s residents consider kids killing kids to be the height of entertainment, we are a long, long way off from resolving anything in such a pat manner. The book would have worked better addressing the moral issues surrounding how the Hunger Games were ever accepted in the first place than with the removal of President Snow. After all, in a country this morally sick, any president would, by necessity, have to be equally odious.
Although THE HUNGER GAMES is adolescent literature, I think most teenagers themselves would be far more interested in such over-arching moral issues than they would be in what is, at the end of the day, a governmental coup. Alas, an opportunity lost.