What I didn’t like about The Hunger Games series

**WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SERIOUS SPOILERS. ONLY CONTINUE IF YOU’VE ALREADY READ OR DON’T INTEND TO READ THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES**

In anticipation of The Hunger Games movie release later this week, I finally read Catching Fire and Mockingjay, books two and three in The Hunger Games series. I’ve got to admit, I didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as I’d expected.

Don’t get me wrong, I did like them. But I didn’t oh-my-god love them like I did the first book (I reviewed the first book a while ago and gave it 4.5 out of 5).  Catching Fire seemed a bit repetitive of The Hunger Games, and I wasn’t that enamoured with the clock concept of the arena or the majority of the characters Katniss and Peeta shared the arena with.

Despite this, I still burned through the pages of Catching Fire (pardon the pun), and read Mockingjay even faster. I loved the first two-thirds of Mockingjay, with all of the lead-up to the rebels’ attack on the Capitol. But it was the attack itself and the resolution of the series that really let me down. After all of the build up, having the attack end in a drug haze was really disappointing. I guess I was expecting an epic battle victory, like in Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Maybe I missed something, but for me, even with the ceremony where Katniss shot Coin and Snow died, the finale to the war between the Capitol and the districts felt rushed and unfinished.

This is also how I felt about the resolution of the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. When Katniss asked Gale whether the bomb that ended it all was his design, I had no idea that was going to be their last conversation. So I was dumbfounded when Greasy Sae told Katniss later that Gale had got a job in District Two, and that was the end of it. Where was the heartbreaking moment with all of them present where Katniss had to decide whom she truly loved? Gah! Ripped off!

I also felt that the reunion of Katniss and Peeta was nice, but not sufficient. After three books of a painful love triangle and a significant chunk of time of the last book spent with Peeta wanting to murder Katniss, all we were rewarded with was a couple of pages – mainly in summary-style – of Peeta and Katniss falling back in love. Really? That’s it? Sorry, but that wasn’t enough for me. Not after everything we went through to get there. I would’ve liked at least another ten pages or so exploring their relationship and also giving us more of a picture of how the world re-built itself post-Hunger Games.

And on a final note… Prim. Dear, sweet Prim, the reason Katniss got involved in the Hunger Games in the first place. Why did Prim have to be blown up?? Why why why?? That really hurt. I really wish that hadn’t happened. And I honestly don’t know why Suzanne Collins felt the need to do it. Couldn’t Katniss, Peeta and Prim have enjoyed the post-Hunger Games world together? Maybe I’m too soft, but I would have preferred that MUCH more.

I know almost everyone adores The Hunger Games series, so I’m interested to know whether anyone else had similar feelings to me? Were you disappointed by the lack of pay-off? If not, why not? What did you enjoy about the ending of the series? I’m really interested to hear what other people thought.

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14 Comments

Filed under Book review, YA fiction

14 responses to “What I didn’t like about The Hunger Games series

  1. *THIS COMMENT ALSO CONTAINS SPOILERS*

    I understand your reservations about the trilogy’s ending. It would have been nice to have had more detail about the resolution of the love triangle. Overall, I thought Gale got a rather poor deal (storyline-wise), and him disappearing so quickly heightened that feeling for me. Not sure what I think about Prim’s death. I have a feeling it was there to illustrate just why Katniss could NEVER be with Gale, because he *might* (if I’m remembering this right?) have been responsible. So it seems as though she dies in order to make it easier for Katniss to decide between her fellas. Which is… questionable. Despite saying all that, though, I really enjoyed the trilogy!!

  2. I loved the series, but I agree with your assessment. I was disappointed mostly by the third book and by the ending – anticlimactic after all that. I felt like both Peeta and Katniss were settling and that there wasn’t any real love between them, more like affection or leftover fondness. I still loved the series though.

  3. I LOVED book one, It was a real page turner for me. But like you, I didn’t enjoy the next two quite as much. I still love the premise and Katniss and I’m looking forward to the films but yes the ending lacked something for me. I think Prim’s death was there so Katniss chose Peeta and not Gale and most series have one heartbreaking death, it’s law or something 🙂

  4. The first book was the best, but it’s usually that way. Enjoyed the review!

  5. Amy

    I loved this trilogy too, but I definitely agree with your points about the ending of the war and the resolution between Peeta and Katniss. I wish there would have been more of an explanation on both accounts, but overall it was enjoyable to finish. I’m still hoping for either a novella or another installment to sustain the quickness of it. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  6. The only thing I wanted answered was whether or not Peeta had good buns.

  7. I thought it ended very realistically, and I liked that about it. I know most books are looking for the final battle with all the bells and whistles, and the lovers declare themselves for each other and live happily ever after, but that doesn’t happen in real life.

    But I also tend to like tragedies, so I’m weird like that.

  8. I got through the first book, just. It was boring. I expected something more so I’m blaming the hype to an extent, but it just didn’t grab me whatsoever and reading it felt like a chore. Ah well, perhaps I’ll enjoy it more in the movie format, who knows. I also don’t get the whole Game of Thrones hype at all, so I’ll just have to conclude I’m an oddball ;p

  9. Interesting, ’cause I really liked the clock concept in Catching Fire! Lol 🙂
    IAnyway, I wasn’t that excited about the ending of the series but, like Rebecca, I thought it was realistic. By the time we got to the aftermath of Prim’s death (the possibility of which I had been preparing myself for), it seemed to me that everything Katniss had endured was just so damn horrible that there was no way this series could have a nice happy ending. I accepted that. I was on team Gale, but once Katniss realized he may have played a part in Prim’s death, I knew there was no hope for them. Still sucked that he didn’t get more “book time” though!
    For me, the happiest part about the end of this series was that Peeta “came back to himself”. I thought it was truly horrible what the Capitol did to him, making him so bitter about everything, that it was relief to me that he could get past that to the kind and gentle person he really is.

  10. Terry

    I just finished the first book, Hunger Games, and actually did not think it was all that wonderful. I thought the writing style of the story was somewhat annoying and the love story too trite and contrived. I don’t plan on reading the other 2 books. I will wait for the movie to come out on DVD, for something to watch.

  11. Santana

    I’m reading the first book, and to be honest I find Katniss irritating often. Some lines of the book literally have made me laugh out loud.
    ‘…spoon fouls of fish soup. The saltiness reminds me of my tears’
    (describing tribute from district 1) ‘…she’s sexy all the way’
    Those are just off the top of my head… did none of its many readers not find those lines just the slightest bit absolutely ridiculous? And I’m only 150pgs in. It is better than twilight and the story is very interesting though, I’ll give it that.

  12. Tess

    I in every possible way agree with you. I had the exact same thoughts when I read the end of Mockingjay, it was really disappointing.

  13. Hi, sorry I’m so late, but I just stormed through the books in the past couple of weeks, and I’ve yet to find anybody who wasn’t completely enamored with the series.

    I had reservations about the entire series. I didn’t understand how the Capitol was conveniently making so many mistakes in a row after so many years of little to none. Yes, the berries was an act of rebellion, but the decision to allow both her and Peeta even the opportunity to live didn’t fall on the Capitol’s shoulders, it fell on Seneca Crane’s. The Capitol could obviously tell that the districts were starting to rumble with plans of rebellion, so why didn’t they display Seneca Crane’s execution for the public? I mean, they handled it so well when Haymitch trumped them, why was it so hard this time around? (Also, I don’t understand how Haymitch’s victory made them look like fools. This is something I legitimately need help understanding, because the citizens knew that the arena had to end eventually. Unless the Capitol was just worried that someone who could outsmart them would easily be considered a threat since they knew about the existence of thirteen). I also felt like much of the series was rushed. The first book being somewhat of an exception. The first one started paralyzingly slow to me. Not necessarily in a way that made me want to throw the book down, but in a way that made me question why it was so popular (I’d heard nothing of any book but this since they announced the movie). However, when the first book started, it STARTED. The second book was hard. I couldn’t tell where it could go after such a string beginning to the series, and I felt like everything was placed in such an awkward way. I kept trying to explain what I mean, but all my sentences took me nowhere. I feel like you explained what I couldn’t, though. And the rest, I’ll have to try as the opportunity presents itself, but it is hard to explain. The Quarter Quell seemed too convenient for the story, but made the second book too much like the first. There was very little extra interest placed into it, also, because the tributes turned around so quickly from their rebellious pose back to the Games. I enjoyed the clock element, but it took away a lot of the surprise. I adored Finnick as a character and Peeta was great as always, but the story didn’t flow as well as it could have. I thought the theirs book was okay. Parts of it were better than all of the rest of the series, but some of it I just wasn’t feeling. That’s also hard to explain.… I felt like everything was too convenient for the story (I know I keep saying that). There were really no moments in the final book that I was surprised to see happen. I also didn’t understand Prim’s death, because it did absolutely nothing for the rebellion, the rebels had already taken the Capitol. I guess it was used to a catalyst to show Katniss Coin’s malevolent intentions, but that could have been done with the first explosion. Katniss already had a reason to visit Snow, for all the other stuff he did to her or people she loved. I found when Peeta got off the train in the Capitol to be where it picked up big, but even that part was rushed. I also hated the way it ended. It felt like Collins was just like “here’s your stinking happy ending!” although I adored the last line.

    I liked the book series, but as a whole I felt it to be ill conceived and overrated. But it was a much better read than I think I was expecting and I certainly don’t regret having read the series. Sorry my comment’s so long.

  14. Bryan

    I can definitely agree with some of these. I really enjoyed the first book. I had gotten pretty obsessed with it, but I do feel like the series got worse as the story went on. The biggest problem I had was Katniss’ attitude. In the first book she was full of hope and she had to struggle to keep everything she wanted alive. In the next two books, she struggled, but she had kind of given up on life. I got tired of the times when she would say I could just die and not care….that pissed me off…she’s the girl on fire, with a fire in her gut, like the end of the book says…she would not settle for anything less than success.

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