My verdicts on the concluding two novels in the Hunger Games trilogy!
Having now read The Hunger Games and its sequels Catching Fire and Mockingjay, I thought I'd bring you a review of the latter two novels to advise you as to whether to keep reading on now the first of the three films is out in cinemas and the sequel is only a year and a half away. Here we go, then...
CATCHING FIRE (4/5)- Easily the best novel in the entire series, Catching Fire picks up where the movie lefts off, with Katniss and Peeta now participating in a Victory Tour amongst the various districts after their heated win in the Annual Hunger Games tournament. However, beneath the surface seeds are being sewn for nationwide rebellion in Panem as districts are thrown into disarray, at which point President Snow realises that he must make an example of his victors or risk the Capitol's downfall. Although the structure of the book is somewhat misjudged, opening rather slowly given the fast pace of its predecessor and closing in a predictable 'surprise!' fashion, Suzanne Collins does wonders with her characterisations. We really begin to empathise with Katnip, Prim, Peeta, Gale and the band of lovable rogues, and wonder intensely how their stories might end. I can't wait to see how Catching Fire turns out as a movie when it hits the big screen in November 2013.
MOCKINGJAY (3/5)- Sadly I would say that the concluding instalment in this epic trilogy of novels is its weakest entry. Katniss is forced to adopt her now symbolic look in order to lead a rebellion against the Capitol, provoking a chain of events which will have dire ramifications for any and every one of her friends. As you might expect, not everyone makes it out alive, but the overall plot just feels too convoluted and bizarre to keep up with, making it hard to know which characters we should feel dismay for when they meet their demises. Of course, Collins obviously wants to make it clear that like Katniss, we shouldn't know who to root for, yet that idea is taken a bit too far to the point that it's hard to keep track of what's going on, and the overly rushed and disappointing resolution to many of the series' various plot arcs doesn't help either. Don't feel you have to rush to reach Mockingjay, because we might need the film to expand and develop upon its brief conclusion.