The first two books are adventure stories, about getting people jazzed for revolution. But the third one changes genres and switches into misery porn. It’s about the consequences and the reality of that revolution.
You wanted a war, dear reader? Here is war, up close and personal. Here is the boredom and the fear and the being locked in a “safe” place with no control. Here is Prim dying pointlessly. Here is PTSD. Here is a brainwashed, weaponized version of your beautiful lover who went off to battle and came back a killer. Here are people, fatuous people but people who cared about you and who just happened to be on the wrong side at the wrong time, people who are beaten and kept in chains by your allies. Here are your friends and peers dying screaming in the stinking dark, literally torn to pieces and devoured alive. Here is the man you thought would be your confidante for life and maybe something more, the blood of your fucking family all over his hands. Here is beaten down exhaustion and despair and confusion. Here is everything you wanted, dear reader. Eat it up. Choke it down. Does any of it seem so necessary now?
And for all that price paid, what changes? The old man is dying anyway, he chokes to death on his own blood laughing at you. The old lady just brings the games back. Everything you fought for, perverted by power-hungry politicians. All that changed was the color of the boot and the neck it pressed down on.
Even after righting THAT final wrong, the only happy ending Katniss gets is that she can tell her kids why mommy wakes up screaming at night.
Yeah, the prose isn’t the best. But damn do I love where Collins took the series. It’s not an adventure series about justified vengeance. It’s about the consequences of violence, and the personal and social toll it takes on everybody. She fashioned an intense anti-war story and suckered the audience into it with her thrilling dystopia tales. What a great trick.