Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 25

In the twenty-fifth chapter of The Hunger Games, there are few things in the world as fucked up as this. Seriously. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Hunger Games.

I give up. I can’t handle this.

Muttations. No question about it. I’ve never seen these mutts, but they’re no natural-born animals. They resemble huge wolves, but what wolf lands and then balances easily on its hind legs? What wolf waves the rest of the pack forward with its front paw as though it had a wrist? These things I can see at a distance. Up close, I’m sure their more menacing attributes will be revealed.

Yeah, could they not. Like…yeah I don’t want to see these things at all.

Gamemakers, you are winning. I would seriously be dead already, but if not, I would definitely die right now.

My hands have just landed on the metal at the pointed tail of the Cornucopia when I remember I’m part of a team. He’s about fifteen yards behind me, hobbling as fast as he can, but the mutts are closing in on him fast.

I totally get that Katniss freaks out and runs immediately. WHICH OF US WOULDN’T DO THE SAME THING. I still laughed, though, when she was like, “OH OOPS MY PARTNER.” Best teammate ever, right right right?

Cato lies on his side at the very top of the horn, twenty feet above the ground, gasping to catch his breath as he gags over the edge. Now’s my chance to finish him off. I stop midway up the horn and load another arrow, but just as I’m about to let it fly, I hear Peeta cry out. I twist around and see he’s just reached the tail, and the mutts are right on his heels.

GOD DAMN IT. I WANTED CATO TO BE MURDERED. Mostly just so this can be over with because WHY IS THIS SO STRESSFUL. Oh my god.

Peeta starts up hampered by not only the leg but the knife in his hand. I shoot my arrow down the throat of the first mutt that places its paws on the metal. As it dies the creature lashes out, inadvertently opening gashes on a few of its companions. That’s when I get a look at the claws. For inches and clearly razor-sharp.

This is definitely the most frightening thing Collins created. I am in awe at this. You were all right. Was not at all prepared.

The mutts are beginning to assemble. As they join together, they raise up again to stand easily on their back legs giving them an eerily human quality. Each has a thick coat, some with fur that is straight and sleek, others curly, and the colors vary from jet black to what I can only describe as blond. There’s something else about them, something that makes the hair rise up on the back of my neck, but I can’t put my finger on it.

Might it be the fact that THESE MUTATED WOLVES ARE ASSEMBLING. That is what does it for me. So I take it back: This is now the most awful thing Collins has ever created.

For a moment it hangs there, and in that moment I realize what else unsettled me about the mutts. The green eyes glowering at me are unlike any dog or wolf, any canine I’ve ever seen. They are unmistakably human. And that revelation has barely registered when I notice the collar with the number 1 inlaid with jewels and the whole horrible thing hits me. The blonde hair, the green eyes, the number…it’s Glimmer.



The small one with the red coat and amber eyes…Foxface! And there, the ashen hair and hazel eyes of the boy from District 9 who died as we struggled for the backpack! And worst of all, the smallest mutt, with dark glossy fur, huge brown eyes and a collar that reads 11 in woven straw. Teeth bared in hatred. Rue…

I revoke my last statement. There is nothing in this book worse than this. I am appalled. Think about this: they killed their fellow tributes and now the Gamemakers designed it so that they have to kill them all over again.

Gamemakers are the worst. I am in shock.

“It’s them. It’s all of them. The others. Rue and Foxface and…all of the other tributes,” I choke out.

I hear Peeta’s gasp of recognition. “What did they do to them? You don’t think…those could be their real eyes?”

Their eyes are the least of my worries. What about their brains? Have they been given any of the real tributes memories? Have they been programmed to hate our faces particularly because we have survived and they were so callously murdered? And the ones we actually killed…do they believe they’re avenging their own deaths?

Massively, mega-screwed up. This is horrifying. Collins, I don’t know what possibly inspired you to create this…thing, but good lord. I am impressed.

As Peeta is grabbed by a mutt, Katniss is quickly overwhelmed by everything. She tries fighting off the mutts, but the action is simply too much. What does she focus on? What happens when Cato catches his breath? Is Peeta ok?

Cato stands before me, almost at the lip of the horn, holding Peeta in some kind of headlock, cutting off his air. Peeta’s clawing at Cato’s arm, but weakly, as if confused over whether it’s more important to breathe or try and stem the gush of blood from the gaping hole a mutt left in his calf.

Unbelievable. Collins continues to ramp up the action and the risk at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever read so fast in my whole life; in fact, as soon as I finished this chapter, I immediately read it a second time, knowing I missed details.

Cato just laughs. “Shoot me and he goes down with me.”

He’s right. If I take him out and he falls to the mutts, Peeta is sure to die with him.

Cato, I am so full of rage. I hate you. Guys, where is that scene of the earth opening up and eating him? I need it right now.

Peeta’s lips are turning blue. If I don’t do something quickly, he’ll die of asphyxiation and then I’ll have lost him and Cato will probably use his body as a weapon against me. In fact, I’m sure this is Cato’s plan because while he’s stopped laughing, his lips are set in a triumphant smile.

Just awful, right? The extreme irony is that Peeta can win this game alongside Katniss, but Cato is preventing that from happening. WHAT A BIGOT.

But what happens next is possibly one of the more brilliant twists in the whole book, not just because it changes the characters, but it also affects our perception of the Games in a way that’s completely unexpected.

Peeta draws an X on the back of one of Cato’s hands and Katniss recognizes it as her chance: she draws back her bow and shoots an arrow into his hand. In this moment, Cato releases Peeta, who slams into him. He goes toppling off of the horn.

We hear him hit, the air leaving his body on impact, and then the mutts attack him. Peeta and I hold on to each other, waiting for the cannon, waiting for the cannon, waiting for the competition to finish, waiting to be released. But it doesn’t happen. Not yet. Because this is the climax of the Hunger Games, and the audience expects a show.

That show, though, is the moment I realize Collins has been planning this all along. We’ve been set up to hate Cato the entire time. He’s rude, ruthless, cruel, and desperate to cause pain. Yes, it’s in the context of the Games and we have no idea what he’s like outside of them, but we still grow to hate him for what he’s done.

And yet, as Cato fights the mutts, he delays the inevitable, as he uses the armor to his advantage as he tries to kill the mutts.

I don’t know how long it’s been, maybe an hour or so, when Cato hits the ground and we hear the mutts dragging him, dragging him back into the Cornucopia. Now they’ll finish him off, I think. But there’s still no cannon.

Night falls and the anthem plays and there’s no picture of Cato in the sky, only the faint moans coming through the metal beneath us. The icy air blowing across the plain reminds me that the Games are not over and may not be for who knows how long, and there is still no guarantee of victory.

So, I hated Cato. I begged for his death. And now I’m getting it, attached to a very Haneke-like twist: we have to read about him suffering for an entire night.

I feel awful that I ever hated him. Sure, he was an asshole in the Games, but who wasn’t? Ok, maybe not Rue or Foxface, but still. Wouldn’t you be an asshole to if you had to fight to survive.

Touche, Collins. I’m impressed.

The night stretches into what seems like infinity. I know I’ve complained a lot about Katpee just waiting around, but here it’s strangely suspenseful, despite that nothing happens for hours. HOURS. Fucking terrible.

The cold would be torture enough, but the real nightmare is listening to Cato, moaning, begging, and finally just whimpering as the mutts work away at him. After a very short time, I don’t care who he is or what he’s done, all I want is for his suffering to end.

You know who truly deserves our hate right now? The Gamemakers. THIS IS CONSIDERED ENTERTAINMENT. I know this is another culture, but who in Panem actually is entertained by all this?

Guess how long this lasts? ALL GODDAMN NIGHT. Until the sun comes up. That’s when Peeta convinces Katniss to user her last arrow (which is in Peeta’s tourniquet) to finally end the Games and put Cato out of his misery.

It takes a few moments to find Cato in the dim light, in the blood. Then the raw hunk of meat that used to be my enemy makes a sound, and I know where his mouth is. And I think the word he’s trying to say is please.

Pity, not vengeance, sends my arrow flying into his skull. Peeta pulls me back up, bow in hand, quiver empty.

“Did you get him?” he whispers.

The cannon fires in answer.

“Then we won, Katniss,” he says hollowly.

“Hurray for us,” I get out, but there’s no joy of victory in my voice.

I’m shocked. I expected to feel the slightest bit of exhilaration when Katniss won. Despite Peeta winning too, I feel dirty. As if I shouldn’t have read this and been entertained by it.

I feel fucking awful.

The mutts disappear into a hole in the plain, but after that, nothing happens. No anthem. No fanfare. No final announcement. The dread starts to fill inside my chest. Katpee have no idea why the Games haven’t closed and they decided to head towards the lake. A hovercraft picks up the remains of Cato, but nothing happens to our winning tributes.

As I stoop to pick it up, Claudius Templesmith’s voice booms into the arena.

“Greetings to the final contestants of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games. The earlier revision has been revoked. Closer examination of the rule book has disclosed that only one winner may be allowed,” he says. “Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.”

WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!!!

I wanted to start crying. Even reading this a third time while writing a review, it is like the very worst slap in the face. I feel betrayed and this book isn’t even real.

I wasn’t fucking prepared.

I stare at Peeta in disbelief as the truth sinks in. They never intended to let us both live. This has all been devised by the Gamemakers to guarantee the most dramatic showdown in history. And like a fool, I bought into it.

This is the most fucked up thing in Things That Are Fucked Up. I can’t. I just can’t.

The two of them almost immediately face off, though Peeta constantly insists that Katniss kill him. They argue frantically over who should die, both throwing down their weapons. Peeta ups the ante, though: He removes the bandage on his leg and begins bleeding to death.

“You’re not leaving me here alone,” I say. Because if he dies, I’ll never go home, not really. I’ll spend the rest of my life in this arena trying to think my way out.

That’s probably my favorite line in the whole book. Just so damning and disturbing.

But Katniss (and bless her for thinking of this) realizes there is actually a third option.

Yes, they have to have a victor. Without a victor, the whole thing would blow up in the Gamemakers’ faces. They’d have failed the Capitol. Might possibly even be executed, slowly and painfully while the cameras broadcast it to every screen in the country.

The greatest act of rebellion in the arena is one of self-identity, to make a choice outside of the system that is yours and yours alone.

Double suicide by eating nightlock.

I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta’s hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. “One.” Maybe I’m wrong “Two.” Maybe they don’t care if we both die. “Three!” It’s too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth, taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare.

The frantic voice of Claudius Templesmith shouts above them. “Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you—the tributes of District Twelve!”

I’m relieved. I can say that. And yet…I still feel completely terrible.

What the fuck, Collins.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games (novel) and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

350 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Hunger Games’: Chapter 25

  1. Silverilly says:

    Shit is now real.

  2. BeatleBabe says:

    Am I honestly the only person who was not surprised by this book at all? Maybe I overanalyze but I found this series to be incredibly predictable.

    I found the first two books tolerable but I think you'll probably end up feeling like you wasted time on this series by the end, Mark. I sure did–I just picked up these books at the library last week; read them all in two days and then wanted my two days back. Sigh.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      Could you please not comment on the entire series? I'd rather not have any sort of expectations for it in the future.

    • monkeybutter says:

      They're quick reads and I liked them because I approached them that way. Simple, dystopian YA book that criticizes various aspects of our society. I don't think they're the pinnacle of modern lit, but I've read far worse. I like the characters and was interested in how their story played out.

      • BeatleBabe says:

        Meh, I think comments on MRHP built it up for me :-/ People were talking about THG like it was the awesome and so I was excited going into them, expecting a super great series. That definitely plays into my disappointment.

        • thirty2flavors says:

          Yeah, the hype for this book turned my "it was alright" reaction into more of a "that was disappointing" reaction. If I had just picked it up on my own without any hype, I might have enjoyed it a lot more than I did.

        • hassibah says:

          The thing is though besides that people reccing books are huge fans they're also trying to get Mark to pick them over a whole bunch of others so of course they're going to hype them up a lot and not play up their flaws. I haven't started THG yet but I was thinking the same things about some of the other series that people were reccing for Mark (that they really not all that awesome) but I mean that's what hype and HP does to your expectations. Really, if we had our minds blown all the time then HP just wouldn't be that special.

          It's for this reason I always end up waiting a couple of years after the hype has hit its peak before I check something out. I never bought that popular=dumb by default but it's by that point people that aren't superfans have gotten around to checking it out and if it's meh, they aren't scared to say so.

          I totally wouldn't mind Mark Reads the classics sometime though (maybe Jane Eyre? HP Lovecraft?)

    • Silverilly says:

      You were not surprised by the MANWOLVES OF DEATH???
      Dude, what kind of world do you live in?

      • BeatleBabe says:

        I wrote a reply like this a while ago but I don't know where it went!

        I considered that semantics. I thought it was obvious that the Gamemakers would force them together, Cato would be killed, and then they would change the rules so one would have to kill the other. Likewise, I thought it followed that they would play a tragic Romeo/Juliet suicide (they're supposed to be lovers), and that they would be saved that way. Maybe it's because the plot hole was so succinctly covered in Battle Royale that it made the absence here glaring: Kamako made it clear that everyone in the Program was expendable, whereas THGs rely on the winner as a necessity for the entertainment of millions that they couldn't risk sacrificing one.

    • Jaria says:

      You saw mutated wolves that were former contestants coming?

      • BeatleBabe says:

        I just replied to a comment exactly like this, excuse me for copy/pasting!

        I considered that semantics. I thought it was obvious that the Gamemakers would force them together, Cato would be killed, and then they would change the rules so one would have to kill the other. Likewise, I thought it followed that they would play a tragic Romeo/Juliet suicide (they're supposed to be lovers), and that they would be saved that way. Maybe it's because the plot hole was so succinctly covered in Battle Royale that it made the absence here glaring: Kamako made it clear that everyone in the Program was expendable, whereas THGs rely on the winner as a necessity for the entertainment of millions that they couldn't risk sacrificing one.

    • liliaeth says:

      I'd never even heard of the books before Mark started reviewing them and I finally started reading them because Mark's reviews got me interested in reading the actual book. I ended up finishing them in three days and was almost late at work twice, because I just couldn't stop reading. I just loved them.

      I especially love the gender reversal that the books have. From the start, Katniss has the traditionally male charactertraits and role, where as Peeta more and more starts showing the characteristics that are usually kept for the female love interest.

      there really aren't many characters I loved as instantly as I have with Katniss.

    • Phoebe says:

      me too. hated last one

    • gredandforge says:

      This is a reply to BeatleBabe and since you considered her comment spoilery, mine might be even more spoilery, so don't read! 😛 It's my vague, general thoughts about the series:

      I agree! Actually, I enjoyed the first book, and the 2nd was tolerable. The last book, however, made me hate the entire series and now I can't even look at the first book the same. I have this bitter taste in my mouth because it was so disappointing — and I didn't find many characters I cared about or was emotionally invested in. They were all merely vehicles to drive the story forward, and the story and writing disappointed me. & we're not the only ones — there are a good many negative reviews on Goodreads (including one I wrote) that sums up my feelings about Mockingjay pretty well.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        You guys, please use the spoiler page for this kind of discussion. I'm sure you have some points that need fleshing out and that way you can have a debate with people who agree or disagree. Or you can at least vent with no need to censor yourself.

        EDIT: 4 tries later and I think I might have actually linked! Yay!

      • BeatleBabe says:

        I don't see your comment as spoilery at all, myself. Particularly since people on here mostly disagree with us, it would seem pretty evident we aren't biasing anyone.

        I completely understand. I'd write more but then I would probably fall into spoiler territory.

        What I do think is kind of shameful though is how simply disliking a series is somehow enough to thumb down our opinions as though they aren't worth reading. I feel sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the hype of a series and love something unconditionally which, while noble, is not necessarily a steady, unbiased precedent for judging a book.

    • iolchos says:

      even if some things were predictable, I still found them powerful. Actually, predictable doesn't bother me. Forced can bother me, but I found many of the plot developments and character developments to be natural, and if they were predictable, then I saw that as a sign of strong writing. Certainly, mmany of the themes and ideas aren't entirely original, buuuut that was sort of the point, I felt: these books were commentaries on social themes, and the author explicitly mentions drawing from other stories (in particular, myth and reality TV, so we can see what direction she's aiming in) for it. And the themes she did remark on were still powerful, possibly even more because they're so timeless: the recurrence of tyranny, the unchangeability and baseness of human nature, hope and love as something to live for. Not everyone's going to love every book, but I thought that these books were still appealing.

    • RaeLynn says:

      OMG no you are definitely not the only one. I started reading this series when Mark did (and finished in two days) and I completely agree… everything was SO PREDICTABLE. This book especially.. I'm glad I'M not the only one because I've been feeling that way lol

  3. xkcdhobbes says:

    Believe it or not, I had foreseen the major plot twists from this chapter.
    -“There’s something else about them, something that make the hair rise up on the back of my neck, but I can’t put my finger on it.” As soon as I read this, I knew that the mutated beasts were the other tributes. Dunno why though, it just was the first thought I had.
    -The fact that the change of rules was just a fake. The moment I read about the change of rules, I thought: Of course they are going to change them back to only one winner, best way to out on a show and improve their grasp.
    But even with these thoughts in my head, I couldn’t help but be really excited! Those were some awesome plot twists! When I read them, I couldn’t help saying out loud (my father now thinks I’m weird) that shit got real.
    Also, I didn’t know if Katniss could find a way to save the both of them and was rather impressed by how Collins deals with that, it is pretty intense! Threatening a double suicide! Wow, talk about a gamble, they could have lost it all! I still have shivers thinking about it.
    (On another note, "That’s when I get a look at the claws. Four inches and clearly razor-sharp." My first thought when I read this was: Deathclaw from fallout.)

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I'll explain a bit why I didn't exactly predict this.

      I felt that they couldn't revert back on the rules because they risked upsetting the general populace of Panem if two from the same District won and then had to kill each other, especially considering that the one of the pairs was from a richer District. That, of course, was a poorly judged thought, because it's now apparent the Gamemakers would do anything for entertainment, even if it's just their own.

      As far as the muttations…I just plain forgot they could do that. (The Gamemakers, I mean.) And there's certainly no way you could have guessed they would bring the dead tributes back to life in that way.

      ALSO: Fuck Deathclaws. 🙁 🙁 🙁

      ALSO: Calvin & Hobbes is my favorite comic strip and I own the complete collection. ilu

      • xkcdhobbes says:

        What I liked about this chapter the most is that even though I thought that I knew the plot twists (because I wasn't sure that they really would happen), I was still impressed when I read them because they were just awesome!

        I also liked how real Katniss' emotions felt at the end. She just tries to put Peeta's bandage again, she knows she will just lose her mind if she wins without Peeta. I was impressed by how genuine that all felt.

        Also, deathclaws are EVIL! (and scary when it's dark out, and you just see "caution" switching to "danger" and 2 frikin' deathclaws running for you)

        Also, I own the complete collection too!

      • kytten says:

        YOU PLAY FALLOUT ALSO this makes me happier than it has any right to.

    • Keen says:

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that. Though if they had to fight actual deathclaws, they'd all be dead within minutes, no matter how high they tried to climb. Those SOBs can jump like.. seventy feet or something!

    • Clare says:

      Agree and Also:
      I didn't doubt for a moment that Peeta and Katniss would actually swallow the berries and end their life. Given the situation- Even if the gamble failed and the Capitol let them commit suicide- I would have seen it as a better outcome for the actual tributes than coming out having to deal with the survivors guilt, ptsd, nightmares and as Katniss put it:
      "Because if he dies, I’ll never go home, not really. I’ll spend the rest of my life in this arena trying to think my way out."
      This was very realistic and thought provoking for me.

      Also- when I read about the "new rule" I actually didn't think the two were going to make it out either- but I thought the reason would be that Peeta would be killed by another tribute, or die sacrificing himself so that katniss could get away and still win- something that was ultimately tragic and heartbreaking or something. I was thrown off completely by how it turned out.

      • xkcdhobbes says:

        Very true. That sentence did it for me too. I think that I might have fooled myself into believing I knew it all along. I can't really be sure I did, but (same as with the tributes being the mutated wolf) I understood it would happen during the chapter itself with the way everything was written. the thing is, even if I thought it would happen, I was hoping it wouldn't. When Claudius Templesmith revealed the unchange of rules, I thought one of the two was a goner for sure.

  4. stellacarolyn says:

    This is a series I read that has stuck with me for all the reasons you've listed in this and your previous reviews. Talk about trauma…. I read this book particularly with horror- I didn't want to read but I couldn't not know what happens. She may not be the best writer but she's definitely a gripping one. And I agree- hollow victory- leaves you aching.

  5. summeriris says:

    Great twist, wasn't it? The Gamemakers, may they die in all the fires and please, let Rue die peacefully.

  6. pennylane27 says:



    will come back when my brain returns to coherency.

  7. monkeybutter says:

    The muttations are awful. For all the people complaining about how predictable the end would be, I don't think anyone mentioned "bring the tributes back from the dead for one last bloodbath."

    I felt so bad for Peeta when Katniss pulled the bow on him. I don't really blame her because she still has loads of trust issues, but it still has to be a punch in the gut. I have to give credit to Katniss for find a way out for both of them. For all his claims that he loves Katniss, he was more concerned with saving her physically than worrying about how his death would affect her psychologically. Katniss was right — it's easier to die.

    • BeatleBabe says:

      Semantics. It was predictable that the Gamemakers would force them to meet, Cato would die, then they would revoke the rule so one would have to kill the other. Likewise, it was predictable that Collins would manufacture a way for both to survive and I suspected that it would follow that they would prefer two winners over none, leading to the idea of some Romeo and Juliet suicide (that would obviously fail since I already knew this was a trilogy). I think what drew me to this conclusion was reading Battle Royale way back when–the plot hole of more than one surviver was so easily covered by Kamako that it seemed glaring when absent in THG; notably, that The Hunger Games are watched and betted upon by millions, so that the winner serves as a necessity, while the Program is done in secret and every life is expendable.

      That was kind of hardcore of her to turn the bow on him. I think I did say 'damn' aloud, even if it was to be expected.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Haha, I got this one in my email, but it didn't show up.

        I can definitely see how reading Battle Royale would influence how you read this, but I also knew that both of them would make it, too. I guess I'm more interested in the journey than the ending.

        The Program is used to subtly terrify people so they're too paranoid to rise up, and the Games are used to openly terrify people and remind them who is in control. Allowing a second victor, in contradiction to rules and in accordance with the will of the people, is a lot more damaging than two kids escaping. It was predictable that Katniss and Peeta would be forced to face each other, but it was still satisfying to see them survive by using the Capitol's methods against it.

        • BeatleBabe says:

          I should be more interested in simply enjoying the parts I did like – it flowed well, characters were interesting enough, action-packing – but it's super frustrating to waffle through page after page when in the back of my head, I'm hoping I don't get proven right, you know? I just really like to be surprised :] I guess that was one of my favorite things about JKR! She was able to lay down clue after clue and still hit me with some knowledge by the end.

          I definitely getcha. I guess my original point was simply that in BR, they made it clear from the get-go that if they pulled any funny business and tried to have more than one surviver, they wouldn't hesitate to kill them all simultaneously. When they failed to add a contingency like that in THG, it made me facepalm.

    • BeatleBabe says:

      I wrote a reply to this a while ago but I don't know where it went!

      I considered that semantics. I thought it was obvious that the Gamemakers would force them together, Cato would be killed, and then they would change the rules so one would have to kill the other. Likewise, I thought it followed that they would play a tragic Romeo/Juliet suicide (they're supposed to be lovers), and that they would be saved that way. Maybe it's because the plot hole was so succinctly covered in Battle Royale that it made the absence here glaring: Kamako made it clear that everyone in the Program was expendable, whereas THGs rely on the winner as a necessity for the entertainment of millions that they couldn't risk sacrificing one.

      But I did think it was hardcore of her to turn the bow on Peeta. I did exclaim aloud then.

    • ldwy says:

      Yes, that part made me feel so bad for both of them!

  8. Warsongraven says:

    YOU CONTINUE TO NOT BE PREPARED!!!! and this chapter was some of the must fucked up stuff I've read in a long time. that is all.

  9. Shanella says:

    This chapter made my skin crawl and sent chills down my back.

    Reading this review caused the same thing.

    I strongly dislike and like chapter 25. This was what made this book genius for me.

  10. arctic_hare says:

    The muttations remind me horribly of something from Fullmetal Alchemist.

    • monkeybutter says:

      God, I had forgotten about that. I had to look up Nina's name. So fucked up…

    • Lolua says:

      Indeed. Shou would be proud. *sad face forever*

    • residentgamer says:

      Yes! FMA was exactly what i thought about when reading this chapter.

    • hazelwillow says:

      OMG! I just started reading the first volume of Fullmetal Alchemist. I'll have to keep my eye out for… horribleness. Won't ask for details. 😛

    • Warmouh says:

      OMG Chimeras. I totes thought of that too.

    • Mreeb says:

      HOW DID I NOT THINK OF THIS? Probably because it was so horrifying in FMA that I blocked it from my memory…

    • mariekp says:

      My thoughts exactly. =(
      Plus, I so wanted Mark to review Fullmetal Alchemist… But I know it's a vain hope.

      • LOTRjunkie says:

        That would be amazing. I was actually watching FMA: Brotherhood again the other day and I swear, I could hear Mark saying, "WHAT IS THIS SHIT THAT JUST GOT SO REAL," in my head during the part about the truth about the Philospher's Stone.

        • mariekp says:

          We should totally make a petition or whatever for Mark to review Fullmetal Alchemist. I think we'd have some interesting reading material.

    • FlameRaven says:

      Interestingly, I think Nina is actually MORE tragic and fucked-up than the muttations. I mean, at this point the Capitol is obviously so sadistic and twisted that while the tribute-wolves surprised me, I also expect this sort of mind-twisting insanity from the Gamemakers at this point. But Nina.. WTF WHO DOES THAT. More to the point, who does that TWICE. Shou Tucker gets the award for #1 Bastard in fiction. D<

      • mariekp says:

        Oh I second that so hard. )<

        Even if I think the nº1 bastard in all fiction is Envy because HUGHES.

        • FlameRaven says:

          I like Hughes too, but on the list of terrible things Envy has done, he really doesn't rate very high. I mean, shooting some random kid to start a genocide is just a little worse.

          Actually, now that the manga is over, I'm amazed again that we didn't lose MORE main characters in that series. Almost everybody got a happy ending, and it didn't feel contrived, either. (Except Roy. I still think it would have been more interesting the other way.)

          Man, FMA is my favorite anything ever. I'm totally going to have to go re-read that now that the manga is done. <3

          • mariekp says:

            It's my favorite too <3 I really wish Mark would review it, I'm quite curious about what he'd think of if.

            Yes, shooting that kid was pretty worse than killing Hughes, but when he fights with Roy in the end of the manga… That made me cringe and hate him more than everything in the world. I started screaming in Angrish (and English is not even my first language! But Angry Portuguese doesn't sound as cool as Angry English) and just wanted to enter the story and slap him hard… I don't know why, but it's one of the main reasons I hate him. Also, as Roy is my favorite thing in the world ever, the whole "It's raining' thing just broke my heart. )=

            I was amazed about it too, and endlessly happy, because all my favorite manga have such tragic stories and/or endigs (Hello, Chrono Crusade and Fruits Basket!) that I was dreading it would end with somehing like EVERYBODY DIES and EVERYTHING IS SAD FOREVER.

    • LOTRjunkie says:

      Sweet Portal of Truth, SO SO SO MUCH WIN FOR THE FMA REFERENCE. Those chimeras, especially Nina… Gah, I don't want to be too spoilery for people who haven't read/finished FMA, so I won't say anymore about that.

      Oh, and y'all Roy fans don't know what you're talking about. Team Edward Elric is the way to go! I'm a Risembool Ranger forever! RED DAWN FOR ETERNITY! 😀 Haha, nah, I love Roy, too. I'm just more of an Edo fangirl. ^^

  11. Anon says:

    Still not prepared

  12. Warmouh says:

    I remember reading this chapter and being like, "Oh mutants, that's nice…wait do they have the other players' faces on them? What?"

    Agreed so hard on Collins adaptation being excellent for the big screen. I think this will be an excellent movie. Probably better too without some of the weird inner monologuing.

    I forgot how much was in this chapter. And Katpiss and Pita-cakes relationship actually taken realistically FTW!

    And now I"m sad because I will have to wait to start Catching Fire until after Christmas when I got my kindle (not spending twenty dollars on the book FTW!)

    • Gillyweed says:


      I read it from here, couldn't find the books in my city.

    • Oscar Rodriguez says:

      You can totally not wait for your Kindle to arrive–I'm there as well. But I downloaded the free Kindle app for my PC and am currently reading Catching Fire there, "currently" meaning "I started today and am halway-through already". I don't know how Mark is going to be able to read it one chapter-a-day. I don't know how he has managed these last chapters of The Hunger Games, actually. It's probably the writing, which I found a little better after the cave scenes, actually, although I don't care much for the writing as long as it's a good story.

  13. paulineparadise says:

    Oops, sorry, the last one's supposed to be this:

    <img src=""&gt;

  14. Cat says:

    Oh yes. While I was catching up on your reviews of earlier chapters where you were all, "Well, I'm not sure how far Collins is really going to take this," I was thinking of Cato and the mutts and going, "OH JUST YOU WAIT MARK. JUST. YOU. WAIT." (Seriously, my comments have been few and far between because I am so so bad at saying ANYTHING without implying spoilers of some kind. I wait every day for these to go up, though.)

    No one is prepared the first time they read THG. Ever.

  15. karate0kat says:


    <img src=""/&gt;

  16. Penquin47 says:

    This chapter was SO. FUCKED. UP.

    But now the Gamemakers have been shown to be weak. They're vulnerable. Woo!

  17. peacockdawson says:

    Ha. After reading this again I find their total backtrack to be really funny. "Nonono, wait! Yay, you win! Hahaha, we were just kidding."

    • EldaTaluta says:

      That did make me smile. I was all Katerpee won! Take that Game Makers.

      • xkcdhobbes says:

        Katerpee? My first thought went to the Pokémon Caterpie! Haha!
        I smiled too at the end for the same reasons 😛

    • Haha yeah – it's amazing how this chapter can make me go 😮 :O D: D:< :'( XD – utter insanity.

      I love how they're like "NO WAIT WE WERE TOTES KIDDING. CONGRATS ON WINNING now put those poisonous berries down YAY FOR YOU AREN'T YOU HAPPY!?"

  18. theupsides says:

    I love this chapter so much because, despite how disturbing it is, Cato's death is so significant. You realize that it's awful to have been enjoying the games at all. Even his death is so tragic.

    I also love that in the end, in a game that's supposed to be about self-preservation, Katniss and Peeta both realize they can't really win without the other. Even though Katniss aims her bow at him, she knows that if she made it out without him, she'd never be the same again. The Games effectively did the opposite of what they wanted when it comes to the two of them. They were supposed to go in and be okay killing each other, and now they'd both rather die than kill the other.

  19. xkcdhobbes says:

    I really like the Peeta with the "X" one! It feels really close to my impression of the scene.
    Also, they look like they're on a cake!

  20. cait0716 says:

    I think what Collins does with the character of Cato is amazing. She makes us hate him, makes us beg for his death, cry out for his blood. We want him to die the most painful death possible because he is awful and clearly deserves it. And then she delivers on the most painful death possible part and the reader is left shaken, realizing that no one deserves that. No one deserves to be slowly devoured by wolves for hours on end. It's a wonderful use of a villain.

    • Erica says:

      I agree. The handling of Cato's death is one of the things that elevated THG from a good YA read to an excellent one.

    • bell_erin_a says:

      Absolutely. You just want to hate Cato for everything he's done/threatened to do (like if he ever was in a position to kill Katniss, ugh) and then he ends up dying the most awful death possible. And then we all feel awful for actually wanting him to die because I didn't mean it was supposed to be like THIS! It's even more awful when you consider the Gamemakers gave him (directly or indirectly?) that body armor that contributed to his slow, painful death.

      Mark, all of us on the spoiler thread were freaking out because of the things you said about Cato in earlier chapters. You could never have been prepared and it's so cruel.

    • It's seriously amazing and I love it when authors do that because he really did come across as "cartoon villain lol" for a lot of the book….and then she hits you with this, and you're reminded that he's just a human being – a kid in a terrible, terrible situation, and while he may very well be a bad person…we still didn't truly want this for him (even if we really thought we did at one point). It's extremely moving, what she manages to do with Cato, and how she manages to take someone who initially came across as two-dimensional and hate-worthy and make us pity him….

  21. Phoebe says:

    amazing. just amazing.

  22. Pan says:

    I don't know how this is even possible, but it feels as if my brain vomited. These mutts – the entire IDEA behind them – ist disgusting in a way I don't have words for. Not in my native language, and definitely not in any of the others I've ever learned. This is in no way entertaining. No human being can possibly like this.
    I feel like a hypocrite, but to me, these muttations are infinetely worse than the Hunger Games. In a way, it is possible to imagine that someone, who never faced any problems in his/her life, might enjoy them. The hunting aspect, the suspense, the bets – if you don't realize, that the Games mean a lot of suffering for the Tributes and their families, because the concept of suffering is so alien to you, you could enjoy them.

    But this? This is just sick.

    (100% agree for Cato's death. He was a despicable human being – but NO ONE merits that.
    And although it was a smart idea of Katniss, I have the same feelings about it, as I had about the Prim-Katniss-swap at the very beginning. When the solution to a plot-twist comes so quickly, it feels unnecessary and forced. Wasn't to thrilled about it, but I've accustomed to the fact, that both of them are going to survive.)

  23. Phoebe says:

    love the last one

    • cait0716 says:

      Those look yummy. Except that I'd be a little scared that the tracker-jacker one was laced with acid

    • Gillyweed says:

      that second one: best thing I ever saw and with little pot of stew. I mean, wow!

    • potlid007 says:

      last one: PEENIS??!!!

    • Kate Monster says:

      HAHAHAHA what the fuck is with all the emo hair in the third one? Also they have no necks.

    • andreah1234 says:

      This is great! But I wouldn't touch the one with the tracker-jackers for nothing in the world. I like my cakes without bugs in them 😉

      • cait0716 says:

        I don't know that you can get cakes without bugs in them. Mostly because I don't think you can actually get things like flour, sugar, and cocoa without little buggy parts in them. mmm-mmm protein. Even the most ardent vegan eats spiders in his/her sleep/

        • exbestfriend says:

          I recently had a conversation at a dinner party that went like this–
          "You'd be surprised how how large of a percentage bug parts are allowable in food products like pre-ground black pepper, flour and the like."
          "You are right, I would be. Mainly because in my mind 0% is a appropriately allowable percentage. Any more than that and I get a little disgusted to think about it."

          • cait0716 says:

            Fair enough. I think everyone should be aware of what they're putting in their body, though, and understand the difference between what's harmless (spider legs) and harmful (phosphoric acid, which gives dark cola it's color and sucks the calcium right out of your bones). The world would be a better place.

            • exbestfriend says:

              I'm not even arguing the point. There are fucked up things that go into food products and I would rather be aware than oblivious. Then again growing up in a mixed family where half are vegan and the other half hunt anything that can be killed make for some interesting dinner conversations period. Most people can't think about how the food they eat gets on their table without tummy rumblings, whereas I can watch PETA exposes without losing my appetite. Then again I don't eat mammals. Or non-organic carrots. Actually a whole list of things, but eventually you have to be able to accept some problems or become a very rich hippie.

        • Steeple says:

          Actually, no, spiders are not swallowed:

          Hell, not only was that "statistic" completely made up, but it was made up to show how people will believe the most absurd things.

          • drippingmercury says:

            Ha, I was just going to post that snopes link. +1 for you!

          • cait0716 says:

            I don't think it's that absurd. I've certainly swallowed my fair share of bugs while riding my bike. And if you camp with any regularity, they're everywhere.

    • Aimee says:

      I wouldn't touch that tracker jacker one if I were starving.

    • calimie says:

      The last one disturbs me.

      I'd totally eat the one with the tracker-jacker because of the flowers, lol.

    • Phoebe says:


    • Phoebe says:


    • bookling says:



    • iolchos says:



      these are…quite impressive.

  24. BeatleBabe says:

    And I clearly meant Harry Potter, not Deathly Hallows… Need caffeine.

  25. EldaTaluta says:

    I find something about that first picture deeply disturbing. 🙁

  26. Erin says:

    Yeahhhh, this chapter and the ultimate demise of Cato bothered me in a major way. Which was the intention, I realize. But yeah. DDDD:

  27. Stephalopolis says:

    This chapter is THE greatest chapter in the book. Because you're absolutely right. It's messed up beyond belief. I can't add much more than you already have- this chapter is a roller coaster of emotions and you are absolutely correct in one of your final sentences- I feel dirty.(Oh- and the first time I read this book I read it non-stop stayed up till 3 am, then fell asleep and had a nightmare about the muttations. I think it was this chapter though that made me pick up book 2 the second I woke up in the morning)

  28. Anahera says:

    Ugh. Seriously. This was the first moment in the book when I was disgusted. These mutts gave me nightmares. I feel so sorry for the parents of Cato. :/

    • The Queen of Harts says:

      Seriously – how terrible must that have been for them? Any parent watching the games must be in constant agony, but that? That was fucked up to the max.

  29. Cally_Black says:

    “You’re not leaving me here alone,” I say. Because if he dies, I’ll never go home, not really. I’ll spend the rest of my life in this arena trying to think my way out.

    Mark, this was also my favorite line in the book and sent shivers down my spine.

  30. Kaci says:

    The mutts are still the most fucked up thing I’ve ever read. Nightmares irl.

  31. stellaaaaakris says:

    "Up close, I'm sure their more menacing attributes will be revealed."
    You guys, their atTRIBUTES were revealed up close and gave me nightmares.

    Okay, I take back what I said a couple of chapters ago about my hatred for the Capitol reaching a boiling point when Katniss couldn't let out her true feelings about Thresh; THIS is where all my rage should be directed. Clove carving up Katniss? Still a bitchy thing to do, but let's compare, shall we? THE CAPITOL CREATED MUTTATIONS THAT CAN LITERALLY DEVOUR YOU AND BREAK YOUR SOUL, and to do so, they inserted the EYES of a bunch of teenage victims into them. Wow, just wow. Can you imagine how the families of the dead tributes must feel watching this? They already know they're going to be receiving the bodies of their children in a few days time in unmarked boxes? Now they know they're going to be without eyes? (I'm sure people have finally figured out cloning in this hell of a future, but I'm choosing to read it this way. I can definitely seeing the Capitol using the real thing even if an alternative was available.) I never thought I'd feel sorry for Cato, but, well done, Collins, you did it. Also, not cool, making Katpee allies and now forcing them to either battle it out or commit suicide.

    On a happier note, Congrats, Peenis on being named the victors and thwarting the Capitol!

    • bell_erin_a says:

      Bad jokes are… actually kinda funny. :p

      Cloning refuses to compute in my mind because it's just not the Capitol's style. Too easy. Like I said, the first thought that popped into my head was that the Capitol gouged out the eyes and didn't return the bodies, but you know what? I bet they did. Just for maximum HEY FUCK YOU GUYS factor (complete with :)).

      Yay Peenis wins! I'm going to have to read these books again so I can giggle over the whole Peenis thing, now that it's been coined.

    • lossthief says:

      "Up close, I'm sure their more menacing attributes will be revealed."
      You guys, their atTRIBUTES were revealed up close and gave me nightmares.

      strangely enough, I misread that line as "tributes" and that got it stuck in my head that they were the tributes somehow. Lack of reading comprehension prevails again!

    • bookling says:

      Actually, this is more depressing, but I'm not sure the families of the dead Tributes even get their bodies for their own burial. It strikes me as not the Capitol's style. Grieving too much over those kids would be like a sign of rebellion against the Capitol. They want everyone to watch the Games and they want everyone to make like they ENJOY the Games – look back at the way everyone acted during the Reaping in the beginning of the book.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        I agree that it's not in character with the Capitol to send the bodies back, but I just thought they did because of something Katniss said before she and Peeta teamed up and became Katpee. I think it was the first night. She was wondering if Peeta had been killed and was being sent home in an unmarked box to his family already. So I just assumed they sent home the dead Tributes. Or at least hoped.

  32. pennylane27 says:

    Ok, I will attempt to write something that at least resembles coherent speech.

    I know that everyone's been aching to see Katniss rebel in some way against the injustice of this whole thing, but I think that it made sense for her to gradually start questioning everything after Rue's death, building up to this moment with the nightlock. And while I agree that she may not be the most expressive person, or even that she's not really in touch with her feelings, I think that she has started to feel something for Peeta, maybe not love, but something. The thought of losing him and having to go back alone is too terrible for her, and combined with the rage she feels at being played by the Capitol like this, is what ultimately leads her to propose the double suicide.

    I also wanted to comment on what you said about Cato. I wanted him dead too, we all hated him, but when it finally happened it was horrifying and traumatising and I felt dirty too. I couldn't believe that I had actually been rooting for people to die, that I was entertained by the whole book. Which leads me to finally being able to express something that I've been thinking for a while: we are not that far off from being people from the Capitol.

    Now, before you stone me to death or something, let me explain. I know that we don't send children to kill each other while we watch, but we are really obsessed with violence and we have always been. Didn't the Romans have gladiators and people being eaten by lions? Of course, we have evolved somewhat, and now we only watch such violence from the comfort of our homes, knowing that those are actors and that's not real blood. Then again, we still have sports like boxing, and we are glued to our screens when they show scenes from wars, like when the US bombed Afghanistan (I was 12, but I clearly remember watching CNN and being horrified).

    So yeah, I don't know if anyone will understand any of this. Oh well.

    • andreah1234 says:

      God, you're right. Now I feel even more awful that before. Wait, was that Collins intention? Well, shit.

      • booksinbulk says:

        Collins' inspiration from the book came from war coverage merging with reality shows in her mind while she flipped through channels. I'm not sure if it was her intention, but people being entertained by this stuff is not that far off. I'm more than sure there are people today that would go to the coliseum to watch gladiators fight to the death or people being devoured by lions. We watch horror movies and people being tortured and killed, and like pennylane said, justify it by saying "oh, those are actors, it's not real." BUT…it's people ACTING out things and making it look VERY real, and we still watch. What would be the difference if it WAS real? I'm sure many would still watch if it was socially acceptable/legal in our culture like the Romans did. Pennylane is also right about the boxing, people beating each other up, sometimes into unconsciousness, and people still watch and cheer and are thoroughly entertained. It's awful if you stop and think about it. I think a lot of people see it as being removed from themselves, especially if you don't personally know the people involved. It's probably so, so terrible for the families of the tributes, and I guarantee you that STILL the families of the winning tributes are just glad to have their children back, and the deaths of the others become a sad statistic.

    • jessimuhka says:

      The Hunger Games are really our society's obsession with voyeurism taken to a terrifying extreme. Last summer, how many times did MTV show footage of a woman getting punched in a face over a drink? How many shows center around watching people be terrible to each other for our entertainment? I'm not going to argue that we're on some sort of slippery slope where in 10 years ESPN will be showing 12 year olds murdering each other, but a lot of what we consider entertainment is really gross.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I think you got Collins' point perfectly. She says she was inspired by reality shows and one of our Wars on Terrorism. All of Katniss's asides about how angry she is at the Capitol and how she pities the other Tributes are meant to rein us in from enjoying the games and care more about the bigger picture: their fucked up society.

    • Mimbletonia says:

      "Which leads me to finally being able to express something that I've been thinking for a while: we are not that far off from being people from the Capitol."

      I think it's a really excellent point, and the more you think about the Capitol, the less foreign it seems. There are lots of parallels with our own society, even down to the obsession with body altering. For instance, dyeing your skin isn't that far from tattooing or tanning. In fact, I was just talking to someone the other day, scathingly remarking on the way some girls talk (you know, when every statement sounds like a question because the pitch goes up at the end), and I realized Collins had said the same thing about the Capitol accent. Their needs for imports are also the same as our own needs for imports because we don't actually make many products anymore. In short, it's very well thought out, and I try to find parallels between everything said about the Capitol now.

    • shortstack930 says:

      I definitely agree with this. Throughout the whole book you're right there with the Capitol and you don't even realize it. I think that Collins was definitely trying to send that message–that we are not that far off from the Capitol.

  33. Randomcheeses says:

    Woohoo! And Take A Third Option saves the day!

  34. IsabelArcher2 says:

    You know, I think it's interesting that while a majority of the readers enjoy HG in some capacity, there are also some who absolutely despise it to the point of being seriously disturbed that others could like it. I have nothing to comment on. I just think it's interesting. I've actually really enjoyed reading MRHG the most of all of the reviews because it has this division.

  35. ldwy says:

    The ending of this book was wonderful in its terrible-ness.

    Here's the thoughts I wrote down as I was reading:

    “Why don’t they just kill him?” I ask Peeta.
    “You know why,” he says, and pulls me closer to him.
    And I do. No viewer could turn away from the show now. From the Gamemakers’ point of view, this is the final word in entertainment.

    Okay, I stopped reading here too, to write a prediction. I haven’t read further. Remember when Peeta talked about trying not to lose himself, play the Games on his terms. I believe Katniss is going to risk it all to go and basically give Cato a “mercy killing”—and the real statement of this would be compassion on her part. And using her skills as a killer that they are exploiting for sick entertainment to deny them “the final word in entertainment”. To tell the Capitol her message that she’s not okay with them dragging it out for sport. (As a hunter of necessity, never sport, I think this lines up with her ideals, too, although they’ve never been stated that explicitly).

    Well, she did. But it didn’t carry as much message to the capitol as I expected.

    I didn't write anything about their potential suicide as a way to defy the Gamemakers, the Capitol, and the Games themselves. I think I was just kind of reeling at the end of the book. Way back when the games first started, I wondered whether anyone had ever taken their lives in the history of the games, rather than playing. It was a very interesting surprise, therefore, when this was their last act of selfhood.

    Did anyone else really really cringe, when they first get the announcement, and Peeta lifts his knife to take his own life, and Katniss' first thought is that he's turning it on her, so she notches an arrow at him, and then immediately realises what's going on and feels so ashamed? I felt ashamed, and I'm not in this book, I'm just reading it.

    • Elise says:

      I totally felt that shame too. But in terms of the book I thought it was great that Katniss did not just turn into a hero. I love YA fiction because the characters do feel confused and act recklessly and do things that make them ashamed.

  36. jsh357 says:

    OK, that was a pretty awesome chapter.

  37. Kali says:

    "I know this is another culture, but who in Panem actually is entertained by all this?"

    Is it so far of a leap to go from we have as reality tv today to this? A lot of people are entertained by this exact stuff happening as fiction in movies. Many people also like the absolute ridiculousness that is reality tv. I know people that say reality tv isn't real to them, it's just like watching a regular tv show. I think the same thing of the people of the Capitol. They are just so busy with their rich lives to really care HOW they are being entertained, just as long as it happens. It's all just happening on a screen to them.

    I bet that if people were watching this live, in-person, they might have a different opinion. Of course, look at the ancient battle arenas, look at public executions, look at half of history. People are entertained by the suffering of others. Pretty sick indeed.

  38. Michael Prickett says:

    Mark, I'm a secret stalker of yours. I've been with you since SS Chp 1. I don't normally post, but I've been waiting on this review to do so.

    I wanted to cry when I read this. I mean, HOW CAN THEY! THESE ARE CHILDREN!!!! I have a daughter and if I was watching, already DEVASTATED by my child dying, now she is this monster! I can't even imagine what I'd be like if that was my kid.

    Also, we the rule changed was first annouced, I thought that was a little fishy. I kinda told myself that the Gamemakers were gonna go back on their word. Never did I think that Katpee (LOL) would try a double-suicide!

    Brillant Collins!

  39. mugglemomof2 says:

    Oh man, the entire time I have been reading your reviews- this chapter has been in the back of my mind! There was absolutely no way anyone could be prepared for this chapter! Crazy, Crazy, CRAZY!
    I can't even fathom having a world where this kind of sick violence would be entertainment for people on a yearly basis! Ugh!

  40. BeatleBabe says:

    Couldn't agree more.

  41. bell_erin_a says:


    Okay, inevitable freaking out is over. Questions time. The mutts? Um, I still can't decide if they're really the tributes or not. I mean, I'm sure the Capitol has advanced technology to clone the tributes' eyes or something to put them in the mutts (ugh). But a little part of me wonders if they actually used the tributes' eyes. How sick would that be? Like did their families get a note like:
    “Dear family of dead tribute,
    We regret to inform you that you cannot get the body of your son/daughter back because we gouged out the eyes to use them for unspeakable horrors. Haha!
    XOXO, The Capitol”
    (Sorry, I had to)

    Hi there, plot twist. Collins, I'm in awe because I really think this is the only way to end the Games and save Peenis. So kudos for ending it predictably in a very unpredictable fashion (which also makes the Gamemakers look like idiots, heh). I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT THE PEOPLE WHO RUN THE CAPITOL ARE A BUNCH OF EVIL BASTARDS WHO FUCK WITH PEOPLES' HEADS FOR THE SHEER FUN OF IT. FUCK YOU GUYS.

    I'm going to go do chores now to help block out the awfulness this chapter makes me feel still, even though I've read it at least 3 times. Thanks for the most horrifying end to this Hunger Games ever, Collins.

    Copious editing/adding things is done.

    • LadyLately says:

      Well, I don't think it'd be that hard for them to take out the eyes and send the bodies home pre-embalmed. I mean, morticians use the shaped plastic inserts to hold the eyes shut and round, because the tissue degrades so quickly. They're then sewn shut.
      So it's not like it'd be much different for the families even if they did use the real eyes.
      Also, sorry for the creepy/gross fun facts.

    • The Queen of Harts says:

      Hahahaha that letter STILL makes me laugh XD

      You're so right – President Snow (lmao Snow) totally does sign his letters XOXO because he is a terrible, terrible person.

      I think that, even though the plot twist wasn't the most original thing ever (I can see how people could figure it out early on), I think the way it was carried out was very, very awesome.

      You can never block out the horror. NEVAR.

  42. andreah1234 says:

    This is horrible. Like really. It's just… I have no words.

    The thing that make the games so horrible (well even MORE horrible) is that the people in The Capitol actually find this amusing. They actually enjoy it and actually take bets for who is winning and who is dying the most painful way. I can totally see them cheering at the wolfs as they slowly and painfully eat Cato, I can actually see them smiling as he begs Katniss to end his life, to his pain. The simple fact that I, in chapters before this one, would actually be doing the same made me feel really bad. Because, yes, the guy was a complete asshole, but that didn't mean he had to die the way he did. Actually none of the tributes had to die at all, no matter how biggoted they were. Bravo Collins, this is siriusly fucked up shit. Actually very well written fucked up shit.


  43. paulineparadise says:

    I completely agree with you on thinking popular = awful.

    That's why I didn't read Harry Potter for a long long long time. In fact, when I started reading them, Deathly Hallows was already on sale. It was that 'long' ago. But I started reading them because I didn't understand a HP reference a friend of mine made, not because someone 'forced' me to. (Saying 'you should read it! It's awesomesauce!' is forcing, too. Mentally forcing) That's why I liked the books more, if someone would have told me 'These are SOOOOOO amazing you'll live the rest of your life thinking HP is AMAZING' I would have been like, 'nah.' and not enjoyed the books like I did.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yes! My friends gave up on trying to convert me years before, but HBP was about to come out and I needed some easy summer reading, so I decided to see what all of the excitement was about. I was in love with the series within a week.

  44. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    flawless use of gifs

    • thirty2flavors says:

      <img src=>

      PS: so excited for you to start Doctor Who omg.

      • qwopisinthemailbox says:


        • Openattheclose says:

          I'm not sure if you have discovered this yet or not, but HE ALREADY IS! Head on over to Mark Watches if you haven't been there yet.

    • trash_addict says:

      Considering Kaya is my mental Katniss, I like to think the Skins gif is Katniss' message to the Capitol.

  45. lindseytinsey says:


    Siriusly. That's what I thought. My heart… my brain… ouch.

  46. Cathy (catd94) says:

    Appropriate gif is appropriate, Mark

    Seriously, throughout this whole chapter I was like
    wtf is going on

  47. lindseytinsey says:

    Mixed feelings to the max. -_-

  48. Becky says:

    This is all truly terrible and terrifying, and I just have to give Collins credit for being such an honest writer. I mean, how does she come up with this stuff and then have the courage to write it and not shy away from the horrifying that a lesser writer might try to gloss over? I wonder if she hasn't driven herself into years of therapy by what she's birthed out of her own brain. Still, props to her for being a writer who is not afraid to go there and does it well.

  49. Treasure Cat says:

    Um…please tell me someone else laughed at the mental image of wolves walking around on two legs and beckoning and shit. Because that was legit my reaction. I love this chapter, its probably my second favourite in the book because of its emotive themes, but I couldnt bring myself to be scared of the mutts in the way Im sure Collins wanted me to, I just thought they were too damn silly.

    • Sharon says:

      I did.

      At first I was shocked, but when they started walking in two legs I was like"…wait, what?", but I have to admit I was impressed with the idea of the wolves having human eyes. That really freaks me out big time.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      I didn't laugh, but I couldn't be horrified. I mean, they're anthros. Not even getting into the whole roleplaying/costumes/very small percentage of that subculture that considers it sexual, look anywhere on the Internet (and in a good deal of animated media) and you'll find massive galleries devoted to people drawing exactly this kind of critter. Hell, back when I drew a little this type of thing was my favorite subject, and the odder and less human I could make them look the better.

    • thirty2flavors says:

      lol I was talking to someone at the time and I definitely IMed them with "WTF ANTHROPOMORPHIC WOLVES?" It was too ridiculous for me to be horrified, my mental image was too cartoony.

  50. Moonie says:

    These are all amazing!

  51. Jennifer says:

    Forgive me for comparing Twilight to THG, but I need to say this:
    What makes Collins a great writer despite the fact that her books are predictable is because even though you may have predicted it all, when you finally get to that point in the book when the prediction comes true, it still excites you.
    However, when Smeyers writes, she just slaps you in the face with bucketloads of foreshadowing and when you get to that part, it's just like you expected it to be, and she foreshadows so much that you can basically read the first chapter and predict the entire book. She has no exciting plot twists or anything.
    Just needed to say that. (:

  52. ruroken says:

    I think this type of bloody entertainment disturbingly similar to the horror movies in our theatres. People actually pay to go to see bloody, glory deaths/torture. It's the same sort of visual entertainment. You just have to pretend that the deaths are faked by actors who don't actually die, and then the Hunger Games will be no different from any horror movie filmed today.

    For all we know, maybe the Capitol citizens actually believe that this "game" that they enjoy watching so much is all faked with excellent special effects. Then, can you really blame them for betting on the deaths?

    I'm not saying we're at this point of depravity, since we still draw a line between fake deaths and real deaths, but it's not that hard to understand why gruesome, gory scenes are considered entertainment by even regular people with hearts.

    (I personally can't watch horror movies, but I have enough friends who think they're entertaining.)

    • bell_erin_a says:

      And that gets really interesting when you think about the fact that they are doing a movie of THG and we will be watching all of this. Yeah, it's PG-13 so they may tone it down, but if it were rated R… It's a twisted cycle that we're complicit in reading/being entertained by the book and later the movie, but that's also the entire point of the Games, that people watch them for entertainment.

      Agreed on the scary movies thing. Hate them, ugh (plus I like being able to sleep at night, although sometimes my imagination is worse with books, THG included).

    • cait0716 says:

      I don't know that we still draw the line between real and fake death so much as currently. If you look at older cultures, Rome in particular springs to mind, the death of the enemies was celebrated in much the same way.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      If you like this commentary, seriously, check out some of Michael Haneke's films. He's done quite a few covering this theme.

  53. BradSmith5 says:

    Seeing the tributes reborn as monstrosities doesn't mean much when I never knew the originals. I mean, Glimmer appeared on what, two pages!? At least Rue was there, but was it even really her? I'd be a little more horrified if there was SOMEthing in the narrative to confirm that it was. Like have her moan Katniss' name, or try to gurgle out that tune she and Katniss used. There is so much Collins could have done with this and all she gives me is "Teeth bared in hatred." They might as well be numbered robots.

    One of the commenters above said that he wanted his time back that he spent reading this. I don't feel the same way––there was some good stuff in here and Mark's blog makes even the most boring chapters fun––but this book is like when a friend pops out from behind a corner to scare me. Sure, I'll be shocked for a while and it will get my heart racing––but after it's over I'm just like, "Okay, so what was the point of all that?"

    • potlid007 says:

      my thoughts exactly. it was a wild ride at some points, but not enough substance for me to like it

    • IsabelArcher2 says:

      OR perhaps the "friend behind the corner" scenario is ultimately meant to make you acknowledge the ephemeral nature of life. DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNNNNNN.

    • lossthief says:

      You're description is very close to mine. There were some parts of the story that I really liked, especially when Collins chose to subvert our expectations, but I just never felt as invested in the story and characters as I have with other stories.

      Who knows though, there's two books left, and still a chapter or two in this one, so maybe Collins will really surprise me!

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Lossthief, we may not have agreed on those last seven books, but this time I can tell that our minds are on the same page. And true, authors always have room to improve, and I hope Collins continues to temper her skill.

        Can you get me the next book for Christmas, though? They only had hardcovers at the store and I'm a cheap, Scrooge-like miser. :'(

        • lossthief says:

          Sorry I can't 🙁

          I've been reading the books online at epubbud.

          • BradSmith5 says:

            What!? So you're even more stingy that me!? Lossthief! How will poor Suzanne ever afford colons to use in her books!? We must support struggling writers, you rascal.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I completely agree on all points.

      Someone earlier up mentioned Fullmetal Alchemist. I know they were talking about a specific thing in the show, but I think there are parallels between the muttations (did anyone else laugh at that name?) and other aspects of Fullmetal Alchemist, except FMA deals with that concept a lot better.

      I really think the show demonstrates how the things to which people have deep emotional connection are often the most prone to corruption, that in fact it's often that very connection that makes people easy to corrupt. And we see that principle in work very closely, with grotesque and heart-wrenching results. It's a lot different and more impactful than, "Oh, you possibly turned some people who I killed/were trying to kill me into wolves that are trying to kill me? Well, okay then." It could have been played out a lot better.

      I think another part of the problem is that there wasn't really enough world-building in this book for me to suspend my disbelief about the wolf muttations. I'm more than a little bit bitter that the Hunger Games has garnered comparisons to 1984, because we actually get to see a lot of the workings of Oceania and the effects it takes on dissenters like Winston Smith. We see MiniLuv and MiniPax and MiniTrue (pretty sure I'm missing one, there) and the telescreens and we know that the world is screwed. I'm going to have to see a lot more evidence before I actually start believing that the Capitol is as powerful or technologically advanced as it's presented as being.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Yeah, I saw the mention of Fullmetal Alchemist too, but I didn't want to make comparisons with another story that people may not have experienced. And every time I am tempted to make such comparisons, I just remember all the talk of 'Battle Royale' and how I have no idea what that is. =/

        With that said––pff, Fullmetal blows this book away when it comes to twisting innocence. And their king's name is 'Bradley.' So awesome.

        Now this '1984' sounds like a good book to read; I'll have to put it on Lossthief's list! 😉

  54. Moonie says:

    It's funny that you are so impressed with the mutts, because I was more like
    <img src=""alt="wat"/&gt;

    …Probably because I was imaging some sort of horrible Furry wolf.

    <img src=" :"alt="augh"/&gt;
    Like this.

    Idk, I guess I can buy killer bees, environment changing, etc… but once I got to freaky human wolfs I was very uncomfortably jerked out of the story. But got right back in with the berry scene. omg.

  55. adev0tchka says:

    WHAT DID WE TELL YOU MARK. Badass Peeniss is badass.

    In all seriousness, though…those wolf-tribute-muttation-things freaked the fuck out of me and siriusly gave me nightmares for like a week. My husband kept asking me what the hell was wrong with me, since he couldn't understand how a book could affect like that. This is coming from the guy who, on my command, read the entire HP series and the only reaction he had was, "Eh." Emotional depth of a teaspoon, that one…haha, I kid, I kid.

    I sat by and let slide all the shit you've been giving Katniss in previous chapters. Hopefully now you'll see her for the quick-thinking BAMF that she is. How many of us would really have the courage to stand up to such an oppressive regime the way she did?

  56. 1foxi says:

    This chapter is disturbing. Collins brings it real hard and isn't afraid to mess with your mind! I like that about her!

    Oh and Mark you are still not prepared 😉

  57. ladylarla says:

    NO. YOU SERIOUSLY HAVE TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!! Yeh that didn't quite cut it, I possibly screamed embarrassingly loud at that point. Just messed up, and turning Rue into a monster, they already turned all the kids playing the games into killers ( and debatable monsters) but really to make them into big hulking teeth snarling werewolf mutant monsters, fucked up.

    I called the rule change when Katniss mentioned there was no announcement of their winning and they wandered over to find their bags, after all how fucked up would that have been? take that and multiply it a bit and that appears to be the gamemakers mentality. Not prepared for the berries though. Augh Collins why do you do this too me!

  58. bibliotrek says:

    I would just like to say congratulations to everyone who predicted ALL THE TWISTS! You are clearly superior human beings in every way, and I continue to be gratified by your condescension in deigning to enlighten all of us proles who got caught up in the story about how mundane and boring it actually was. Especially the ravening manwolves! I mean, SO TEDIOUS. YAWN 😉

    Also: is this book actually a direct response to Twilight? Because now we have werewolves! Only not emo ones who want to protect the main character, but rather ones that want to gnaw her to the pain like they did Cato.

    • calimie says:

      Medals and thrones. That's why they deserve for such foresight.

      LOL at the Twilight thing. I stil think Meyer hasn't touched this book.

    • fizzybomb says:

      "To the pain" describes it perfectly. Thank you, Princess Bride.

    • Anjemon says:

      Yes. Basic plot? Predictable. World building / Actually getting there? AWESOME.

      If anybody actually predicted the Muttations and how Cato would die you can get a medal.

    • erin says:

      You said what I've been thinking for the past five chapters or so. Finally! Thank you!!

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      If I remember correctly, though, only a few people said they predicted the wolf muttations twist, and they even went out of their way to say that they didn't know how they predicted it. It seems like the problems people have with the wolves mostly stem from its perceived overstraining of suspension of disbelief and lack of greater emotional impact, not because they *totally saw it coming the whole time.*

      And to the credit of the commenters here (and of course Mark for building a respectful community), I think most disagreements have been aired with very little condescension involved.

      • bibliotrek says:

        Dude, tongue in cheek. Hence the winky face.

        I did want to point out that there have been all kinds of people coming out of the woodwork claiming to have known all along that these twists were going to happen, and I just don't really get why. It doesn't make someone a dupe if they don't see a plot twist coming. It's not a crime to be surprised. Nor does it impress anyone to say that the plot is so ~obvious~. So why act like know-it-alls? It doesn't contribute anything to the discussion.

  59. kelseyintherain says:

    This chapter, OMG.

    the muttations and Cato dying…
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    And then the rule change, even though a part of me saw it coming….
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    But then the thing with berries, I love how it's like "FUCK YOU CAPITOL!"
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  60. exbestfriend says:

    Mark, this is the sentiment that I've felt almost since the Games began and I'm kind of glad you came to the same conclusion.
    "I’m shocked. I expected to feel the slightest bit of exhilaration when Katniss won. Despite Peeta winning too, I feel dirty. As if I shouldn’t have read this and been entertained by it."
    I hope Suzanne Collins knew this was how she wanted us to feel all along, because it works. Every reader who gets into this story is tainted by their enjoyment of it.

    I think one of the reasons this series is as popular as it is stems from the basic outline of the story and not necessarily Collins' version of it. Notwithstanding how this book ends or what goes on in the following books, this is a truly fucked up story. Someone commented a couple chapters back about how an author is supposed to make this story worth telling and to define how this year's events are special and different from all other Hunger Games that existed prior, but I am pretty sure I will be enthralled if the rest of the books just deal with how you live your life after the Hunger Games. How a person can survive the Games and then go home and be treated as a hero or someone worthy of praise is a story I want to hear. There were 73 other tributes that survived the Games and I could stand to hear about every single one of them.

  61. Catryona says:

    The thing I remember most about reading this chapter was how weirdly awesome I found it that Katniss was ready to literally kill herself over someone else. She may not be madly in love with Peeta, but she was about to go further than her mother ever did over her father.

    Not sure why I thought that was awesome though. =/

    • erin says:

      Eh, I don't know if she was going to kill herself *over* Peeta, exactly. She wasn't ready to sacrifice herself so that he could continue to live. It was more like an ultimate "fuck you!" to the Capitol over the unfairness of leading them to believe they both could win, then flipping everything on its head AGAIN. (And, you know, the unfairness of the fact that the Games exist in the first place. That too…)

      • LadyLately says:

        'I'd rather die than eat you delicious lamb stew again!' -finger and a little jig of defiance. then suicide-

  62. lilithdee says:

    Hiya. I've been reading this over the past couple of days because I found myself wanting to reread the whole trilogy but I can't find my copy of Hunger Games or Catching Fire. So yeah, lurker here with some thoughts…

    I personally love Katniss, but maybe that's just cause I'm a cold hard bitch myself and her trust issues and refusal (I think it's refusal, not inability) to see that Peeta really has feelings for her is… completely understandable. Yeah, Collins herself doesn't write about a lot of the emotions that Katniss feels, but that's because Katniss herself is in a situation in which she can't express them, even to herself, for fear that everything will go wrong. Growing up watching the Hunger Games has to be taxing in and of itself, knowing every year that it could be you on that screen. The Gamemakers are fucked up and she has to be aware of that because, from the perspective of poor, powerless people so far from the capitol, the games are probably about as entertaining as watching wars unfold on national news… it's horrifying, but at the same time the curiosity will draw you in.

    And yeah. I definitely was thinking as I read each chapter review that you were not prepared, and you still are not prepared…

    The muttations… I don't think it particularly matters if it's really the other tributes' eyes or not. It doesn't matter if they are just walking robots… it's the fact that Katniss and Peeta (haha Peeniss…) are forced to wonder themselves. The mere reminder of the other tributes is enough to be psychologically fucked up as all hell. If we knew, if Katniss knew, whether or not the muttations were actually the tributes, or even whether the eyes were taken from the bodies or not, then it wouldn't cause the same kind of unknowing horror.

    and yeah. you … are so not prepared for the rest of the series. but that's why I'm going to enjoy reading your reviews. 🙂

  63. stellalinku says:

    Oh man. When I first read this chapter I was in the airport eating a pizza. When the whole "mutts slowly eating away at him" (yeah, not actual quotation, I know) came up, I was so disgusted that I did not finish my pizza. All the previous scary things like the tracker jackers (who were terrifying, don't get me wrong!) did not horrify me as much as these MONSTERS.

    I hate, hate, hate the Capitol.

  64. Coffee says:

    Not necessarily. Their last act is an act of defiance. Going out saying, "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on," is always awesome.

  65. Phoebe says:

    i really dont think cato deserved to die that way. no one does.

  66. bell_erin_a says:

    Told you it was going to happen because I just can't help myself sometimes lol.

    Ah, but you know President Snow signs all of his letters with "XOXO." It just further adds to the fact that he is an evil bastard who takes pleasure in others' pain. Although a smiley face might have also been a good touch! 🙂

  67. adev0tchka says:

    It sickens me how they violated the dead tributes' bodies and created evil monsters out of them…their eyes…omg.

    I wonder how all their families must feel having to watch their sons and daughters in evil megawolf form?

  68. bell_erin_a says:

    A+ gif.

  69. Tabbyclaw says:

    Every fandom needs a Donna. She'd have marched up to the Capitol and shouted at them until their entire regime crumbled.

    • Openattheclose says:

      She totally would have scolded Voldemort like a little boy for his bad deeds until he begged Harry to kill him just to shut her up. Donna/Molly Weasley teaming up to yell at people would be EPIC, amirite? Go Gingers.

  70. Jan says:

    Your comments reminded me of this You Tube video. It is a song about YA books and Harry Potter.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Ha! That's especially funny because he's holding/scratching Mockingjay. I do have to say that The Wee Free Men and the rest of the Tiffany Aching books are the exception to this rule, because she's a great female character and Terry Pratchett is amazing. He deserves all of the hype.

  71. Tabbyclaw says:



    Freakin' Muttations.


  72. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    The image of Peeta drawing the X makes it look like he's marking Cato as straight edge. Sorry, my mind immediately went there since I have the edge Xs tattooed on my hands.

    • Little Emily says:

      But ugh, you just know Cato would've been one of those hardliner assholes that make the rest of us look bad.

  73. xpanasonicyouthx says:


  74. tethysdust says:

    I sort of felt like it would have served the Capitol better to let them kill themselves. The way it happened, the message they sent all over Panem was "If you challenge the Capitol, they'll back down." If they had let Katpee die, the message would be "The only thing you will ever gain from rebellion is death." And really, even from the entertainment perspective, these are people who think watching kids murder each other is good fun. I bet they would've loved a tragic double suicide.

    Also, what the hell is up with the mutated wolves? I'm hoping that will be explained soon. Is she really saying that Capitol can reincarnate people as brainwashed freaky animals or were they just random animals bred to look like the tributes in order to psych people out?

    • exbestfriend says:

      I think the Capitol didn't allow them to kill themselves because it doesn't fit into their storyline. It's like that quote that goes something like –In the theatre the audience wants to be surprised – but by things that they expect. They have a whole country of people watching, some of them are required to watch, and they created a twist of letting 2 people win, which even I can say is awesome, then took it back, which is not terribly surprising for anyone, but those were twists they had control over. If the Capitol let them commit suicide it would be allowing any other tribute to walk into the stadium and do the same thing. It would be a statement that said tributes didn't have to play the game anymore, they could very literally choose to kill themselves than be subjected to the Capitol's rules. Also, they were put in a bad place of having to make a very quick decision over something and it probably came down to Claudius Templesmith not wanting them to die versus President Snow or anybody else of major importance. It's funny that with millions of dollars and viewers, only one of them has the microphone, so only one of them gets to make a decision.

      • tethysdust says:

        Hmm, I like your second point. I guess they didn't really have much time to react to the suicide threat, so they wouldn't have really thought everything through.

        I still think though, that letting them kill themselves would have been less harmful to the overall strategy of oppression. With the way the Capitol backed down, it seems like in next Hunger Games, all the tributes could just stand firm and say "No, we'll all kill ourselves before we fight each other". After all, there's now precedence for Capitol letting them get out of the games that way. If they had let Katniss/Peeta kill themselves, then sure, other tributes might do it too, but it would still reinforce that the only way out of the Games is death or mass murder.

        • exbestfriend says:

          I think long term it would work out better for the Capitol if they had just let it happen, but once Katniss and Peeta are dead there are no do-overs. With all of the reasons to maintain the status quo and trying to balance all the what ifs in their minds, the gamemakers made a snap decision that made it seem as though they were still in control, but who knows. I don't think they had a correct answer. They can dish surprises, but they can't take them. I think Katniss and Peeta both surviving is the least surprising part of this chapter, but how will it play out is the part that intrigues me the most.

      • erin says:

        Ha, that's a good point. You just made me think that maybe, if someone nearby to good ole Claudius had thought about the message the Capitol was sending by backing down, that announcement might have gone more like:


        And meanwhile, Katniss and Peeta are alternating between holding each other at knife point and being best friends…

    • dvtd2hp says:

      in my mind the muttations are a combination of biology and machine. This is the capitol, which has unlimited resources. Why shouldn't they have the technology to do this? And aside from that, if they were really just biological creatures, how could they have the measure of control that they have over them?

      • tethysdust says:

        I think it's not impossible that they are simple biological creatures. Maybe they're some kind of mutated wolf, and Capitol carefully bred them to have the eye colors of the tributes for this year's Games. Then, maybe they behaviorally conditioned them to attack humans.

        I do think that they are something more than animals too, though. I hope they explain it soon :).

        • dvtd2hp says:

          I guess the main issue that i have with them being purely biological is that the tributes have been in the arena for, what, 10 days? How could they possibly have engineered these creatures, raised them, and conditioned them in that short amount of time. And if they eyes are actual human eyes, did they transplant them from the dead tributes? i dunno. I guess for me, the time thing is the major factor in whether or noth these are a combination or purely one or the other. They didn't even know who the tributes were until approximately 2 weeks ago. Just seems like it would almost have to be some horror of biology and mechanics that they were working on previously, then personalized in this way.

          • tethysdust says:

            Oh, right, somehow I forgot it had been such a short time. Given that, I think your idea makes a lot more sense than mine! Or, it could be some kind of techno-magic reincarnation thing.

            • dvtd2hp says:

              i know, right? they've experienced enough horror and trauma for one lifetime smashed into about 2 weeks. ptsd, anyone?

    • FlameRaven says:

      The Capitol does not back down, they just choose a more strategic battleground. Wait until next chapter.

      Also, while it's less horrifying, I don't think the wolves are the actual tributes. They're just wolves bred to look like them (coat color, some human attributes.) They probably prepared them at the start of the games and were holding them in reserve. There really wasn't enough time to mutate the tributes, and don't forget that probably not all their bodies were in any shape to undergo crazy genetic modifications. This doesn't matter though because they give the impression of being the tributes, and honestly that alone is enough to make Katniss (and us) freak the fuck out.

      (But no, it's not actually explained. Again, Katniss doesn't know, so we don't know.)

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      One possibility concerning the suicide bluff: We don't know how big the delay between the action in the arena and people seeing it on their TV screens actually is. It can't possibly be live, because the Gamemakers (or whoever's in charge of the video feed) have to censor some of the footage before it gets broadcast to the general population.

      I'm guessing that there might have been enough of a delay between the action and the broadcasting for the Gamemakers to simply edit out the "Just kidding you both have to fight each other" part, so that the only ones who know about the suicide exception are Katniss, Peeta, and the people who have access to the uneditted footage.

  75. spectralbovine says:

    So fucked up, right?? When Katniss realized the muttations were all the dead tributes, it was like…WHAT. WHAT THE FUCK. THIS IS HORRIBLE. YOU DID NOT. YOU DID NOT. WHAT THE FUCK COLLINS.

    And I was so secretly hoping that the Gamemakers would change the rules back, so I was actually glad they did since the original change felt like an easy way for Katniss and Peeta to both survive (and I had already gleaned from discussions that Peeta did survive, so I was basically spoiled about that). I didn't feel the sense of betrayal that you did, but I love it. At that point, I couldn't figure out how they were both supposed to survive, so Katniss's idea with the berries was BRILLIANT. Ballsy as shit, but brilliant.

    Man, you're almost done and ready for the next book! Guess how prepared you are for that! (Hint: Not very.)

  76. exbestfriend says:

    I know I've already made a comment but this chapter really got under my skin.

    Cato didn't deserve to die that way, but no one does. I think that was the point of killing him off in that terrible manner. Cato's character was created to be the most hated and evil of all the tributes, but no one deserves to be put through that much pain. I think Cato's death is the action that motivates the reader to remember that the Gamemakers are the real enemy. It was over the top and grotesque and the only way to remind the readers who is the most evil. It isn't the kid who can't control his anger and who has been hunting the protagonist through the story, but the people who put him into that position.

  77. Mimi says:

    This chapter made me feel like dementors had sucked all the happiness out of the world.

  78. lossthief says:

    So this was a pretty awesome chapter all things considered. Somehow, I actually guessed the secret of the Frankenwolves (which is totally what I'm calling them so STOP JUDGING ME.) and I figured Cato would be dog chow by the end of the chapter. I really liked that Cato's death was used to evoke sympathy in Kat and Peeta, as opposed to the cartoonish way he'd been portrayed so far, and I liked that his suffering wasn't considered something he "deserved" for daring to fight against our protagonists.

    The whole twist with the Gamemakers screwing them over felt kind of rushed, and I feel that the announcement that they were revoking the rule change would make a good place to end the chapter, with Katpee's dilemma being the focus of a short chapter after it, to allow everything to coalesce better, but that's really my only complaint, and it still worked well.
    Grade: "B+"

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Oh yeah, I agree that this chapter would have been a good one to expand on. The previous two would need to be ripped out to make up for it, of course. 😉

  79. potlid007 says:

    is it weird that i imagined Dobby's eyes on all of them? just giant round globes sticking out of strange dog things that sort of resembled the CGI wolves from Twilight…

  80. Arc says:

    You know .. I wonder if the show's viewers actually take a part in what happens in the show, like if they vote for a certain trap to be used for example, I think this would be quite a good idea to make more money and it just seems like something they'd do.

  81. Quizzical says:

    one of the things i found so horrifying about the mutts (as potentially sort of comical they might have been) was the thought that the families of the tributes had to watch their kids die once already, and now in a way have to see their memory of them perverted, and for some of them, to die again.

    for entertainment.

    and yeah, as much as the writing is clunky in places and sort of irritating in others, i too found that point of having to examine myself as a reader and the way i was reading this for entertainment. that was very confronting.

    'listening' to cato's prolonged demise was horrifying.

  82. Tabbyclaw says:

    Did they have Katniss and Peeta and Cato muttations ready to go, too?

    I doubt it; I'm guessing they were made up in the lull before the final confrontation.

    • spectralbovine says:

      But that seems REALLY quick! They had to have known they were going to pull that shit all along. Maybe they made them throughout the Games as each tribute died.

      • lossthief says:

        Yeah, it's really fast, especially considering foxface, who's been dead less than 36 hours when they show up.

  83. fizzybomb says:

    I figured the wolves had to be muttations (what a strange word…) I was not expecting them to be the dead tributes, but once that was revealed, I was instantly reminded of the wolf-creatures that appear at the top of that building in So You Want To Be A Wizard. It's been several years since I read the book, so I forget what exactly they were and what they were called, but I remember that they were apparently human at one point and still had human eyes.

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      PERYTONS. God, I want the movie deal to happen for that book so bad.

    • bell_erin_a says:


      Also SYWTBAW movie deal. YES.

      I love that people on this blog have completely validated my childhood adulthood too. I still read those books!

  84. Emily says:

    Mark, I just want you to know you are personally responsible for my family thinking I'm out of my mind.
    I haven't read this series (I'm reading it through your reviews!) and At least THREE times in this review I went
    – *smacks hands on face like the poster of Home Alone*

    My boyfriend, mother, and brother now believe I have lsot my mind, and need to stop being so loud.

    But Mark, if reading these reviews is wrong, I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT! 😛

  85. Sophie says:

    I completely agree with what other people have been saying about Cato's death. Collins set us up to hate him, but then his death… it was horrible. Nobody deserves that.

    I'm kind of relieved to hear (read?) Mark say that he almost cried when the Gamemakers revoked the rule change, because so did I. XD In hindsight, I should have seen it coming, but it really did feel like getting hit on the head with a piano at first. Bitch move, Gamemakers, making Peeniss (lol) think they can win together and then telling them they can't? Good thing Katniss thought of the berries.

    So… which is more terrifrying/creepy/disturbing/fucked up: the wolf mutts, tracker jackers, or Dementors?

  86. Turq says:

    Yup. Probably the most disturbing chapter in the whole book.

    I can't wait for you to read Mockingjay, it'll be great! There's so much there! Only, now the Gamemakers are gonna be ticked. They just got outsmarted by a sleep-deprived, starving 16 year old! How are they gonna get out of this one? Not to mention, will the brainless Capitol citizens be mad because their favorite star-crossed lovers almost had to kill each other?

  87. Phoebe says:

    Actually, I have to disagree with Mark here. If I understand correctly, I think Mark is forgiving Cato for being mean because who wouldn't become mean? But actually, Cato chose to be in the games voluntarily. He is a carrer, which means he's trained all his life to kill people and has made a career out of it. He probably volunteered like Katniss to be in the games. However, he still didn't deserve to die like that.

  88. prosodi says:

    NEGL, this was the part of the book that I thought was completely ludicrous. I like a lot of the themes in this chapter, the turning point of feeling horrible about wanting Cato dead, but I totally don't buy the whole tributes-in-animals-whatever-I-don't-even-know thing. It's such a weird moment of 'AND THEN THERE WAS ULTRA SCIENCE!!!!' that really put me off when I read it. I mean, I buy the cross breeding and genetic alteration to create new species like the Mockingjays, but I don't really have any clue how they…what they… — no seriously, what was going on with those animals? Did they just put the tributes eyes into them? Were they really supposed to be some fucked up version of the tributes, all their human attributes stripped away and then put into the animal bodies? IDEK, but every time I think about it, it seems weird.

  89. trash_addict says:

    I read this chapter again last night and I still can't even be the least bit eloquent about it.
    This…just, this chapter….is why you are Never, Ever prepared.

    Also: JFC Collins, raw meat? The mutts disturbed the hell out of me but that really, really revolted me.

  90. Elise says:

    I agree. I think sometimes the twist ends up being a trope in itself. There was such anxiety and dread while reading this book because I didn't trust the gamemakers to let 2 win yet I didn't know how that was going to play out. You want to get to the end but you are kind of shielding your eyes at the same time because you don't want to see the horror.

  91. Blabbla says:

    Yes, but she also says that there are mausoleums in the Arena.

    • LadyLately says:

      I think it was that the old Arenas were preserved, and the launch rooms were like mausoleums in that it gave information on the tribute that used it. The bodies are always sent back.

  92. mag11 says:

    What I personally thought was fascinating was that Katniss was still willing to kill Peeta at the end. Or at least thought she'd have to. And then she feels so foolish when she realizes Peeta wasn't attempting to fight/kill her. I think it's such an interesting moment.

  93. BradSmith5 says:

    Yeah, all it would have taken is for one of the Worgen-fied guys to growl, "THERE ARE NO BEES TO SAVE YOU THIS TIME, KATNISSSSSSS!"

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      "What are you going to do now, Gamemakers? Release the mutts? Or the tracker jackers? Or the mutts with tracker jackers in their mouths so when they bark they shoot tracker jackers at you?"

  94. forthejokes says:

    I honestly didn’t see this coming, and even when I re-read it recently and knew what was about to happen, it’s still SO REAL. You’re seriously not prepared.

  95. hpfish13 says:

    I was reading the Evil Overlord List on TV Tropes and this caught my eye in reference to this chapter

    "I will not bother wasting resources to create weird hybrid animals. A flying bear army might be really cool, but it would cost millions of dollars to create just one winged bear, and it would probably have a multitude of genetic defects. An entire army would drain my budget. The awesome hybrids can wait until I've conquered the world and have unlimited resources. If I do make these creatures, they will fight condemned criminals in the arena. The public needs its entertainment. "

    It is oddly fitting.

  96. Mauve_Avenger says:

    I like how absolutely no one is mentioning this, which stood out to me the moment I read it:

    "Yes, they have to have a victor. Without a victor, the whole thing would blow up in the Gamemakers’ faces. They’d have failed the Capitol. Might possibly even be executed, slowly and painfully while the cameras broadcast it to every screen in the country."

    Katniss says that the Gamemakers are basically Just Following Orders that they'd probably be tortured and executed for disobeying.

    Maybe it's just that I'm perpetually stuck in Harry Potter-everything-must-be-a-Chekhov's-Gun mode, but I couldn't help but think that might be a setup for a Heel Face Turn.

    • agirlinport says:

      Good point. I hadn't thought of that. Bringing this quote to light also made me think that it actually may have been pretty awesome if they had, in fact, killed themselves. Because that would have been their stand against the Capitol and everything it stands for. But then there might not be a book 2 or 3 and that would be sadness.

      • iolchos says:

        or those books would be narrated by someone not Katniss? 😉 the possibilities of, which, man… OH THE URGE TO SPOILER, SO FREAKING DIFFICULT JFDKLSA;

  97. amandajane5 says:

    OMG Katniss with Peeta telling her where so shoot, that is so good and I love it forever!!!!

  98. Emily G. says:

    I completely devoured this book. I couldn't get my mind wrapped around the next word, or my hands on the next book fast enough. This book, I always thought, played more like a movie in my head then anything I have ever read. Sure, I can see things when I read, see in detail whats going on, every movement, every breath. I can and have been transported into another world before because of good literature, but never have I felt like I was WATCHING a movie. I could see myself in the theater, taste the popcorn and hear the gasps of the people around me as Katniss and Peeta held those berry's. Although I do not think this is the best book ever written, or even comes close to being what most would consider great literature, I do have to give credit where credit is due. Collins created an incredible story, with interesting characters and a society that many can barely stand to imagine.

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