Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 24

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Mockingjay, how is it possible that someone could even conceive of what happens here? If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay and then sob himself to sleep for a week.

I haven’t even had time to heal from chapter twenty-two. Good god.

Let’s start off with Katniss being a badass and showing us all she doesn’t need the men in her life to survive.

But my best friend predicts I will choose the person who I think I “can’t survive without.” There’s not the least indication that love, or desire, or even compatibility will sway me. I’ll just conduct an unfeeling assessment of what my potential mates can offer me. As if in the end, it will be the question of whether a baker or a hunter will extend my longevity the most. It’s a horrible thing for Gale to say, for Peeta not to refute. Especially when every emotion I have has been taken and exploited by the Capitol or the rebels. At the moment, the choice would be simple. I can survive just fine without either of them.

At heart, Katniss is a survivor, and while that is a fair assessment to make, she’s spelled out what I couldn’t process yesterday because I’m not her: this is awfully fucked up for either of them to say or condone. It’s dismissive and unfair and I’m glad she has, at least for the moment, resolved to take care of herself first.

The next morning, they prepare further for the next step of infiltrating the president’s mansion. On the television, they watch as the rebels push forward even further into the city. I found it kind of funny that, like modern warfare in the television age, it seems the rebels are keen to televising what they’re doing, which I’ve never understood myself. I remember being a kid and watching the Gulf War during dinner on the tiny television my dad kept in the kitchen, wondering why on earth we would show our enemies on national television what our plans were.

Of course, this backfires and Gale predicts it.

“This can’t last long,” says Gale. “In fact I’m surprised they’ve kept it going so long. The Capitol will adjust by deactivating specific pods and then manually triggering them when their targets come in range.” Almost within minutes of his prediction, we see this very thing happen on-screen. A squad sends a car down a block, setting off four pods. All seems well. Three scouts follow and make it safely to the end of the street. But when a group of twenty rebel soldiers follow them, they’re blown to bits by a row of potted rosebushes in front of a flower shop.

WELL, THIS MISSION LOOKS LIKE IT WILL BE A SUCCESS. Seriously, how the fuck are they going to manage this? It seems that staying in disguise is, at the very least, the only way to inch closer to President Snow’s mansion. Katniss peers out the window and sees tons of refugees from the Capitol heading to the center of town. It’s an opportunity, sure, but it pains Katniss to think about the situation too much, as it reminds her that there were once refugees fleeing from her own district, under much more strenuous circumstances.

I didn’t expect there to be another day before Katniss and her group left the cellar, but Tigris leaves to go spy for them and the day stretches out to an unbearable length, leading our survivor group to wonder where she went. Is she turning them in? Was she arrested? Killed?

Thankfully, she wasn’t, and the information she brings back is invaluable. Peacekeepers are moving from door-to-door to assign refugees to each building based on the size of each place, which means a couple of things. First, as we learn from the TV broadcast they watch once Tigris arrives back, is that everyone in the City Circle has to abide by the rules and house refugees. That means there’s a chance people could be set up in Tigris’s shop. More importantly, though, is the fact that the president himself allegedly will open up his mansion to refugees. Whether that’s actually true or not is sort of irrelevant at this point. The situation in the Capitol has reached a pretty critical moment of panic:

It seems that this evening there was an unfortunate incident where a crowd beat to death a young man who resembled Peeta. Henceforth, all rebel sightings are to be reported immediately to authorities, who will deal with the identification and arrest of the subject. They show a photo of the victim. Apart from some obviously bleached curls, he looks about as much like Peeta as I do.


It seems that now is the time to act. There’s no point waiting around for the right opportunity. This is as good as it’s going to get. Gale and Katniss sneak away for a second to discuss this and it’s clear that while Cressida and Pollux could be useful, Peeta is going to present a problem. Surprisingly, though, when they bring this up to Peeta, he doesn’t fight it at all. Not only does he agree that it’s too risky for him to come along with them, he announces that he’ll actually be leaving off on his own.

“The one thing that I might still be useful at is causing a diversion. You saw what happened to that man who looked like me,” he says.

“What if you…lose control?” I say.

“You mean…go mutt? Well, if I feel that coming on, I’ll try to get back here,” he assures me.

“And if Snow gets you again?” asks Gale. “You don’t even have a gun.”

“I’ll just have to take my chances,” says Peeta. “Like the rest of you.”

Well, that’s a shaky plan, right? But the thing is…it’s not like they have any amount of time to come up with something better. And so it is: they are leaving in the morning to disguise themselves as refugees and make it inside the president’s mansion. Early the next morning, Tigris goes to work doing what she used to do best: be a stylist.

She redresses us so regular clothes hide our uniforms before we even don our coats and cloaks. Covers our military boots with some sort of furry slippers. Secures our wigs with pins. Cleans off the garish remains of the paint we so hastily applied to our faces and makes us up again. Drapes our outerwear to conceal our weapons. Then gives us handbags and bundles of knickknacks to carry. In the end, we look exactly like the refugees fleeing the rebels.

“Never underestimate the power of a brilliant stylist,” says Peeta.

Look, seriously, this isn’t even the saddest thing ever, and it made me tear up. Portia and Cinna and OH GOD THIS BOOK IS COMING TO AN END SOON prepare for endless waterworks.

Pollux and Cressida head out into the streets first, acting as guides of sorts so that Gale and Peeta can follow behind them in the right direction. It’s time to go, and this may be the last time any of them see each other. Katniss turns to Peeta, unlocks his handcuffs, and makes my heart hurt.

I wrap my arms around his neck, feel his arms hesitate before they embrace me. Not as steady as they once were, but still warm and strong. A thousand moments surge through me. All the times these arms were my only refuge from the world. Perhaps not fully appreciated then, but so sweet in my memory, and now gone forever.

UUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH please, please do not let Peeta die. Jesus christ, THIS IS SO STRESSFUL.

Unsure of what the near future holds, Gale and Katniss step out into the cold, frosty air of the Capitol and mesh in with the refugees. I think Collins does a spectacular job describing the atmosphere of all of these people sadly pushing forward toward some unknown time and place, the sounds of their crying and moaning mixed in with their palpable fear.

And then Collins punches us in the face. And then kicks us once we’ve fallen to the floor. And then pushes off a cliff. And I will never, ever look at this book the same again.

Just minutes after joining the group, Katniss spots Cressida and Pollux ahead of them, but there’s no chance to continue moving. Gunfire rains down on them from the roof above them and the two of them hide to get a better look at what’s happening.

What I can see, between alternating pairs of lavender and mint green leather boots, is a street full of bodies. The little girl who was watching me kneels beside a motionless woman, screeching and trying to rouse her. Another wave of bullets slices across the chest of her yellow coat, staining it with red, knocking the girl onto her back.

I can’t. I SIMPLY CANNOT. Who the fuck is shooting at them? Peacekeepers? Why would they do this? But I was wrong about my first impression: it’s the rebels. THINK ABOUT THAT. The rebels just infiltrated the center of town and THEY JUST SHOT DOWN A CHILD MOURNING SOMEONE WHO WAS JUST KILLED IN FRONT OF HER. Rebels, what the fuck are you doing???

Gale and Katniss don’t panic, thankfully, as they calmly discuss the fact that they have to keep moving on. They cannot stop now or risk being detected.

Behind a rack of framed photos of Snow, we encounter a wounded Peacekeeper propped against a strip of brick wall. He asks us for help. Gale knees him in the side of the head and takes his gun. At the intersection, he shoots a second Peacekeeper and we both have firearms.

Holy god, shit is getting real and shit is not even real yet. Gale, YOU PROBABLY JUST KILLED SOMEONE. Well, it’s not surprising, considering how much he hates the Capitol, but it’s still completely jarring. It only gets worse, though, as the two of them arrive at the next block and it’s utter chaos. It’s impossible to tell who is who and the rebels have now completely arrived to fight the Capitol.

Pouring onto the avenue, taking cover in doorways, behind vehicles, guns blazing, hoarse voices shouting commands as they prepare to meet an army of Peacekeepers marching toward us. Caught in the cross fire are the refugees, unarmed, disoriented, many wounded.

The true nature of this war is right here: two sides battle out their differences while a whole bunch of people who can’t defend themselves are murdered in the middle. Ok, sure, that’s a gross simplification of what’s happening here. The rebels have to fight in the Capitol and they’re fighting for their freedom. This is important and it’s imperative. I just don’t like the idea of the rebels being so careless, shooting little girls and defenseless refugees; it’s unsettling because it’s so violently unnecessary. I expected that there would be collateral damage during this final battle, but it’s just so grisly and shocking.

A pod’s activated ahead of us, releasing a gush of steam that parboils everyone in its path, leaving the victims intestine-pink and very dead.

THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE MOST TERRIFYING BATTLE OF ALL TIME. My god, it’s the chaos. The fact that there’s no plan. The fact that Gale and Peeta have no idea what they’re supposed to do anymore. My heart hurts. I am bewildered and confused and SHIT IS STILL NOT REAL YET.

The steam from this latest pod fills the street and essentially renders this Katniss and Gale’s view impossible. They no longer can tell who is who. It’s frightening to read that Katniss is shooting randomly, just like many of the other people on the street, but I did have a sense of comfort knowing that Gale was with her.

As we reach the next corner, the entire block ahead of us lights up with a rich purple glow. We backpedal, hunker down in a stairwell, and squint into the light. Something’s happening to those illuminated by it. They’re assaulted by…what? A sound? A wave? A laser? Weapons fall from their hands, fingers clutch their faces, as blood sprays from all the visible orifices—eyes, noses, mouths, ears. In less than a minute, everyone’s dead and the glow vanishes. I grit my teeth and run, leaping over bodies, feet slipping in gore. The wind whips the snow into blinding swirls but doesn’t block out the sound of another wave of boots headed our way.

Suzanne Collins, I submit to you. I am not worthy. You have created something that is indescribably horrifying. I seriously don’t know what else to say about this. I was never prepared for this.

To hide from the oncoming troops, Katniss and Gale fall to the ground and pretend to be dead, forced to deal with being stepped on and kicked inadvertently by passing troops. After they pass, the two of them stand to continue moving towards the mansion, but a pod is triggered. And it’s not like other pods, as the street cracks open down the middle and begins to fold downwards into something unknown under the ground. YEAH IT’S A GIANT TRAP. They should have brought Admiral Ackbar along!

There’s nothing to do but use my last seconds of connection to the tiles to push off for the intersection. As my hands latch on to the side, I realize the flaps have swung straight down. My feet dangle in the air, no foothold anywhere. From fifty feet below, a vile stench hits my nose, like rotted corpses in the summer heat. Black forms crawl around in the shadows, silencing whoever survives the fall.

You know, I straight up don’t want to know what’s down there.

The situation is as bad as it could possibly be, as Katniss dangles over her possible death. She manages to swing her leg up to the street and cling to a lamppost, calling out to Gale, hoping he didn’t fall to his death. Thankfully, he immediately responds and she sees that a group of people, including Gale, are doing the same thing as Katniss, clinging to whatever they can over the blackened pit. Katniss shoots out the lock on a door next to Gale and he swings indoors, safe from whatever was below him.

For a moment, I experience the elation of his rescue. Then the white-gloved hands clamp down on him.

Gale meets my eyes, mouths something at me I can’t make out. I don’t know what to do. I can’t leave him, but I can’t reach him either. His lips move again. I shake my head to indicate my confusion. At any minute, they’ll realize who they’ve captured. The Peacekeepers are hauling him inside now. “Go!” I hear him yell.

Gale’s gone. Oh my god, they captured Gale. I can’t believe it. I didn’t think Collins would do this. Peeta is nowhere around, Cressida and Pollux might be dead as well, and Katniss is all alone.

I fall into a doorway, tears stinging my eyes. Shoot me. That’s what he was mouthing. I was supposed to shoot him! That was my job. That was our unspoken promise, all of us, to one another. And I didn’t do it and now the Capitol will kill him or torture him or hijack him or—the cracks begin opening inside me, threatening to break me into pieces. I have only one hope. That the Capitol falls, lays down its arms, and gives up its prisoners before they hurt Gale. But I can’t see that happening while Snow’s alive.

My god, this is so disheartening. At the beginning of this chapter, I knew that there was no time to come up with a perfect plan, and that they’d experience complications. This is more than a mere complication. This is the worst of the worst, the absolute most awful thing I could imagine. Hundreds of people dead and every possibility that the four remaining rebels besides Katniss are dead or captured as well. It’s real. It’s happening. And jesus goddamn christ, I am not prepared.

Katniss pulls herself together, knowing that everything will be in vain if she doesn’t continue on, if she doesn’t kill President Snow as soon as possible. So she  leaves the house she’s hiding in, awash in the tragedy of what has just happened, dedicated to fulfill her mission. Alone, that is. She makes it to the City Circle, and it’s not at all what she expected. It’s full of refugees, sure, but what those refugees are doing is what shocks both her and myself.

About halfway there, I become aware of the concrete barricade. It’s about four feet high and extends in a large rectangle in front of the mansion. You would think it would be empty, but it’s packed with refugees. Maybe this is the group that’s been chosen to be sheltered at the mansion? But as I draw closer, I notice something else. Everyone inside the barricade is a child. Toddlers to teenagers. Scared and frostbitten. Huddled in groups or rocking numbly on the ground. They aren’t being led into the mansion They’re penned in, guarded on all sides by Peacekeepers. I know immediately it’s not for their protection. If the Capitol wanted to safeguard them, they’d be down in a bunker somewhere. This is for Snow’s protection. The children form his human shield.

HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KEEP DOING THIS, SUZANNE COLLINS???? How do you make EVERY SCENE WORSE THAN THE ONE THAT COMES BEFORE IT? Does this mean that Snow organized to have the refugees come to the City Circle with no intention to house them in his mansion? He did this on purpose, didn’t he? To protect himself against the oncoming rebel force.

It’s true. As the rebel force enters the circle and Katniss climbs a flagpole to escape the crushing crowd below and any possible pods. But no pods come. Instead, a Capitol hovercraft approaches, dropping medical supplies on the crowd via silver parachutes. It’s very reminiscent of the Hunger Games, isn’t it?

The hovercraft vanishes, five seconds pass, and then about twenty parachutes simultaneously explode.

I CANNOT. I CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS CHAPTER. Screw the rest of this book. This chapter alone is one of the most frightening and stressful experiences I can possibly imagine. Collins, you are an evil, evil genius.

A wail rises from the crowd. The snow’s red and littered with undersized body parts. Many of the children die immediately, but others lie in agony on the ground. Some stagger around mutely, staring at the remaining silver parachutes in their hands, as if they still might have something precious inside. I can tell the Peacekeepers didn’t know this was coming by the way they are yanking away the barricades, making a path to the children.


Another flock of white uniforms sweeps into the opening. But these aren’t Peacekeepers. They’re medics. Rebel medics. I’d know the uniforms anywhere. They swarm in among the children, wielding medical kits.

This is a disaster. The Capitol is willing to murder their own citizens to survive. I can’t even. I JUST CAN’T.

First I get a glimpse of the blond braid down her back. Then, as she yanks off her coat to cover a wailing child, I notice the duck tail formed by her untucked shirt.

PRIM. OH MY GOD, PRIM! She is now a medic??? Why is she here? What is she doing?

I have the same reaction I did the day Effie Trinket called her name at the reaping. At least, I must go limp, because I find myself at the base of the flagpole, unable to account for the last few seconds. Then I am pushing through the crowd, just as I did before. Trying to shout her name above the roar. I’m almost there, almost to the barricade, when I think she hears me. Because for just a moment, she catches sight of me, her lips form my name.

And that’s when the rest of the parachutes go off.



Oh my god I can’t. I can’t. Prim can’t die. If Prim dies because of Gale’s idea….oh my god. MY GOD. MYG ALSKDJFAL;DJF HOW DID THE CAPITOL GET GALE’S IDEA. WHAT THE FUCK. WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!


I am going to cry forever.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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295 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 24

  1. CINNAmon says:

    My reaction:

    What? This is a joke, right?

    Ok, maybe not, but Prim’s gonna live, right? There’s no way she’s gonna die now, after all Katniss has been through. Right?

    Collins isn’t that fucked up right?

    *think back to The Hunger Games and Catching Fire and the previous five chapters we just read*



    *stare into space*


    *trash book, rip a teddy bear apart, bite a pillow, scream*


    I will sue Collins for the emotional (and possibly physical) distress she is causing me. NO WAY anyone can be prepared for this fucked up shit!!!

    • jennywildcat says:

      You want to know the worst thing?

      This whole revolution/rebellion thing started with Katniss pulling out those berries in her first Hunger Games. But she was only in the Hunger Games because she volunteered in place of her sister in order to save her sister's life. That same sister that Katniss just saw get blow up in the Capitol Square.

      <img src="; border="0" alt="I Can't…">

      • mugglemomof2 says:

        OK time for unpopular opinion time…..
        Jenny- aside from thinking (like you) "how ironic Prim dies since this whole thing started with Katniss trying to protect her" I had no other reaction to this death.
        For me, this is one way I think Collins failed with this book. I don't feel like she ever really developed Prim's character well enough for me, so that I really didn't care (other than how it would affect Katniss) that she died.
        I just felt Rue's and Finnick's death so much more. Finnick's death killed me. But here is this character that was so integral to the whole story- and I have no emotions for her.
        Eh? Maybe I am just the cold hearted bitch of this crazy group though. Since it shocks me so many of you posted you cried at this part and I cry at the drop of a hat and -nothing!

        • ldwy says:

          I agree that most of the sad I'm feeling is for Katniss, and how this must affect her. But I also have a little sister, so even without as much character development, I relate in that way, imagining myself in that situation and how broken I would be. So for me it works, but I do understand your point. And Prim did get a lot more development in this book than in the previous two.

          • mugglemomof2 says:

            I definitely agree with you that she was at least more developed in this book- but to me it felt like too little too late. At that point, she was just a secondary character that fluttered through in passing.

            the posts are just cracking me up though. I cry ALL THE TIME reading- and this left no impact on me. I was more upset with the whole situation than her death.

            • Lynn says:

              I almost wonder if it was intentional though. Collins pulls our heartstrings plenty with heartfelt deaths so maybe she thought if we got close to Prim and knew her better combined with the sheer horror and cruel irony for Katniss that this would then just be too much. I can't say for sure, but that is how I saw it anyway.

          • shannon says:

            That's how I also felt at this part. I have a little sister myself and this part just broke me. I had to put the book down and walk away from it for almost half an hour to process what I'd just read before I could keep reading.

        • jennywildcat says:

          For me, it wasn't so much that I was attached to Prim – it was that Katniss was attached to her. After everything Katniss has had to deal with since volunteering to take Prim's place at the beginning of "The Hunger Games," I just thought "Oh crap, what is this going to do to her?"

        • Kate says:

          It made me think of how the last few times they've interacted, Katniss has been surprised by Prim's maturity, by how she's changed since Katniss first left for the Hunger Games. The loss that I felt for Katniss was the opportunity to get to know Prim as a real person, rather than as a child who need protecting, which is what she remembers. I think the very fact that Prim is under-realized makes this more tragic – Katniss was only beginning to truly know her, and now she never will.

        • jackiedaniels20 says:

          You said exactly what I wanted to say. Prim's death didn't affect me at all. I cried my eyes out with Finnick's death and cried again when Mark reviewed the chapter. But with Prim's death… nothing. And I'm not cold hearted or anything. But I think Collins did us all a favor by not letting us get to know Prim so much. I don't think I could've handled her death if I loved her.

  2. bell_erin_a says:

    Holy shit, welcome to the end of the end! I had NO idea all of this happened in the same chapter.

    At the moment, the choice would be simple. I can survive just fine without either of them.
    Excuse me while I get on my high horse, but DAMN STRAIGHT. Also, it's time for Katniss to think about Katniss. It's really telling that Johanna didn't accept Katniss swearing on her own life. Leave the boys for a minute, and maybe try to keep yourself alive for once, hmm?

    Many are still out on the street, trying to find shelter for the night. Those who live in the choice apartments of the inner city have not flung open their doors to house the displaced. On the contrary, most of them bolted their locks, drew their shutters, and pretended to be out.
    I really, really don't like this. I’ve made it my personal cannon that life in the Capitol is really oppressive and the people living there are almost victims of the government like the rest of the people in the districts are, but that’s just wrong. I’m going to pretend those are Snow’s flunkies, because this is a terrible situation.

    “Never underestimate the power of a brilliant stylist,” says Peeta. It’s hard to tell, but I think Tigris might actually blush under her stripes.
    I… have hope for Peeta. It seems like lately he’s been saying a lot more things like this, but I’m also worried what will happen when he gets out in the middle of the Capitol/if he “turns mutt” and doesn’t make it back to Tigris’ house. Alternatively, he could just die in this chaos (where is he??). 🙁

    A seam has opened up down the center of the block. The two sides of the tiled street are folding down like flaps, slowly emptying the people into whatever lies beneath.

    Sadly, I'm still asking this question, even a few rereads into this chapter now. It's absolutely, horrifyingly brutal.


    • Lynn says:

      "excuse me while I get on my high horse, but DAMN STRAIGHT. Also, it's time for Katniss to think about Katniss. It's really telling that Johanna didn't accept Katniss swearing on her own life. Leave the boys for a minute, and maybe try to keep yourself alive for once, Katniss? "

      This is what really makes me wonder if the whole point of the conversation at the end of the last chapter was not just to make this point. That Katniss does not need ANY boy to make her whole or keep her alive. Bravo Katniss! For the record I will forgive Peeta a little since he is still partly hijacked and trying to figure out just who Katniss is. It makes sense that he would trust her best friend's ideas about her not knowing that Gale does not truly know Katniss anymore the way he thinks he does.

      "I really, really don't like this. I’ve made it my personal cannon that life in the Capitol is really oppressive and the people living there are almost victims of the government like the rest of the people in the districts are, but that’s just wrong. I’m going to pretend those are Snow’s flunkies, because this is a terrible situation. "

      I think it hinted that the ones living closer to the center of the capitol were the ones most high up in the social/political spheres. It makes sense that to get there you have to be more ruthless so it makes me think that it might not be indicative of the entire population. But then again, the capitol breeds a me first attitude.

      "I… have hope for Peeta. It seems like lately he’s been saying a lot more things like this, but I’m also worried what will happen when he gets out in the middle of the Capitol/if he “turns mutt” and doesn’t make it back to Tigris’ house. OR HE COULD JUST GET KILLED IN THIS CHAOS. "

      I know! I thought the exact same things. Peeta is again saying just the right thing indicating that he is trying to come back. This made me nervous that Collins would bring him back just to kill him off! Still worried!

      • bell_erin_a says:

        It's a really good message for a YA book, and now that I think about it, it's pretty awesome that it's delivered in a scene that smacks of Eclipse (given how these books are "the new Twilight series" or some shit like that). Hence, the "DAMN STRAIGHT." However, that doesn't mean I'm not open to Katniss ending up with someone at the end, and I certainly still ship Katpee. Or Johaniss, for that matter!

        Come to think of it, Snow probably wouldn't want just any regular Capitol citizen living near him, especially with the things we've heard about him lately. That totally makes sense (I think part of it is that I have such a hard time keeping track of exactly where Katniss is with all this chaos going on around her).

        Peeta. WHERE IS HE. This chapter had enough sads for the entire series, let alone the rest of the book, but I am dreading finding out there might be more to come!

        • Hanh says:

          I totally saw it as a jab at Twilight, too. Where Bella couldn't even function as a human being without a guy by her side, Katniss is taking charge and saying I'm just fine alone thank you.

    • Depths_of_Sea says:



      You remember, waaay back in HG when we were all eager for Cato to get taken down? And it happened and it was so horrible and awful that we regretting ever wanting it? THAT IS WHAT COLLINS HAS DONE AGAIN, RIGHT HERE. We wanted to see the Capitol get taken down. Our desire for this built up over the whole series and we were so, so looking forward to seeing it happen. And then Collins gave us exactly what we wanted… but it was so HORRIBLE AND AWFUL that you wouldn't wish it on anyone.

      Collins holds the mirror up to our faces and shows us we're no better than The Capitol. OUCH.

  3. LadyLately says:

    And this, right here, is where I set down the book and went and messed about on StumbleUpon for a while. Because it's intense as fuck, but I COULD NOT HANDLE IT ANYMORE.
    And then I read some more after I'd calmed down.

    Guess exactly how prepared I was.

    • ThreeBooks says:

      You were mildly, but still unsuitably prepared?

    • ohheyitsalliek says:

      I'm going to guess…. not prepared at all and completely dumbfounded. Because I know that's how I was.

    • QuoteMyFoot says:

      If it is possible to be prepared in the negative figures, you were there.

      I certainly was.

    • Darion! says:

      You were probably so unprepared that the word “unprepared” is just not strong enough to cover it. There was probably SO MUCH MENTAL KEYSMASH.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        This is what I am expecting.

        • Darion! says:

          This is exactly what we get, ;-;

          Grab your pillows and blankies and buckle down because there is no way anyone is EVER PREPARED FOR ANYTHING COLLINS WILL SEND US.

          Now I’m going to go curl up and cry because COLLINS RUINS EVERYTHING GOOD IN LIFE in ALL THE CHAPTERS.

          I don’t want to know what’s next. D:

  4. Jenny_M says:

    My reaction to this chapter upon reading it: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING ME SUZANNE COLLINS?

    My reaction to this chapter upon rereading it: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU KIDDING ME SUZANNE COLLINS?

  5. aurorabora says:


  6. Lynn says:

    Remember back during the first book when you wondered if Collins had the guts to actually kill people off, especially children?? Now you know why people were thinking "poor unprepared Mark has NO idea what is in store for him."

    You were faster to connect the dots of the parachutes falling bringing bombs to Gale's traps. My mind was so blown and devastated at this point I couldn't form a coherent thought to process what the parachute bombs meant.

  7. Trapp says:


  8. monkeybutter says:

    I think we were all waiting for you to get to this chapter because the groumd finally does open up and swallow people. Be careful what you wish for!

    Fantastic review, Mark. I didn't really think about it whem I was reading, but one of my first memories of the world outside the US is the Gulf War. The night vision filming of the bombings playing on the evening news is one of the reasons why my biggest fear as child was dying in a nuclear attack on DC. Stray missiles horrified me. And I have to wonder what growing up watvhing the Hunger Games does to the kids throughout Panem. The terror and hopelessness that Katniss gives as a reason for not wanting kids is one thing. But what about the Capitol kids who welcomed the falling parachutes in a warzone? They were conditionneed to trust in the Capitol's gifts and now they're dead. Did any of them really understand that this was a war and not the Games? They never had a chance.

    Couple that with the girl in yellow reminding me of the girl in red from Schindler's List in terms of a lonely child in a public square, and it's just infinite sadness. These arethe things that scarred me to see as a child.

    Prim 🙁

    • Lynn says:

      "Couple that with the girl in yellow reminding me of the girl in red from Schindler's List in terms of a lonely child in a public square, and it's just infinite sadness."

      Same here, that is exactly what I thought of!

    • Beth says:

      Collins has said she was "inspired" (if you can call it that) by how children in Iraq or Afghanistan were/(are?) being killed by the fact that unexploded cluster bombs looked like the humanitarian aid packages we were also dropping on the countryside, right? This chapter is sadness forever, even more so because this ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

      • Lynn says:

        Oh wow, that is the worst thing ever! It is horrifying that people can do this type of thing.

      • syntheticjesso says:

        Wait, really???

        …………I don't even have a reaction to that. That's so horrible 🙁

      • monkeybutter says:

        I never knew Collins said anything about it, so thanks for pointing it out. It's awful that we still use cluster bombs (and landmines) because they kill indiscriminately and kids are more likely to be killed by unexploded ordinance just because they're kids: they run around outside and pick things up off of the ground. It's another one of those things were the benefit of using them is far outweighed by the destruction of innocent life.

        • Beth says:

          Well I don't know if she for sure said it. I thought I remembered reading something about it but now I can't find it. But I know she was "inspired" by images of the war, and this one sticks out to me as a pretty direct parallel. And also, again, 🙁

      • trash_addict says:

        It feels wrong to 'thumbs up' that, but it's really interesting!

  9. Karen says:

    So… first the happy stuff! Because we know that Collins won't let us have it for long!

    “Never underestimate the power of a brilliant stylist,” says Peeta.
    I loved that line just because it showed that the old Peeta, the one who always knew what to say to make other people feel good is coming back.

    I wrap my arms around his neck, feel his arms hesitate before they embrace me. Not as steady as they once were, but still warm and strong. A thousand moments surge through me. All the times these arms were my only refuge from the world. Perhaps not fully appreciated then, but so sweet in my memory, and now gone forever.
    THIS MOMENT IS HAPPY AND MAKES MY HEART HURT AT THE SAME TIME. On one hand, it's happy that Peeta actually embraces Katniss. It makes it feel like he's on the road to regaining who he used to be. On the other hand, SADNESS because Katniss didn't appreciate Peeta when she had him, and now he's been hijacked, she doesn't really expect for both of them to survive this anyway.


  10. cait0716 says:

    So many thoughts.

    Reading these reviews is so stressful. Part of that is because I don't know where any of the chapter breaks are. I don't pay attention to that when I'm reading. It means the cliffhangers barely affected me. It also means that I have no idea how much the review will cover. So I though this chapter ended with Gale's capture. And then it didn't. And reading just got more and more tense until, ugh. Poor Prim and Katniss!

    There was a lot of discussion in yesterday's comments about the similarity with Twilight's infamous tent scene. And I think Katniss' reaction to it in this chapter is what sets it apart and makes it much better. Even though it still cries out for comparison, HG absolutely comes off favorably. Because while Bella is consumed with deciding which guy she wants and can't think of anything else, Katniss just steps back and goes "screw you both". Not defining herself by which man she ends up with, or which one she wants, and recognizing that there is a lot more important shit going on. I think that's a pretty powerful statement, especially for young female readers.

    That doesn't stop me from shipping KatPee, of course.

    The idea that someone got beaten to death simply because he kind of looked like Peeta? And not by peacekeepers or rebel soldiers, but by ordinary frightened citizens. That's pretty powerful. People motivated by fear and ignorance can make some pretty awful choices because of snap judgments based on appearance. And that's true everywhere, not just in a war zone. But it's certainly heightened in a war zone.

    And the rest of this chapter is just horrible amplified. Collins takes it all the way to 10, then bumps it up to 11, then finally admits that her scale actually goes to 50. Ugh.

  11. Kaci says:

    I am at work, and thus don't have the gif handy, so you're just going to have to imagine a gif of someone pointing directly upwards from this comment to your review, with "WORD" stamped across it 'cause that's pretty much all I got.

  12. ShiiShii says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    I'm sorry, but I will happily keep saying that Collins' CONSTANT CLIFFHANGERS (yay alliteration) ARE AN INFINITE BUZZKILL. But moving on from that nonsense…
    I sat there going 'WHY ARE REBEL MEDICS THERE SHOULDN'T CAPITOL MEDICS BE THERE.' during this chapter, but even here, I didn't have "UNPOPULAR OPINION REVELATIONS". I'm starting to get really antsy because I like opposite opinion discussions but I can't DISCUSS anything yet!! It's driving me crazy!

  13. I TOLD YOU.


    Except now, because I don't want to yell. But thank you for this post–I'm really loving seeing it all again through your eyes. New perspectives and all that jazz. I hope you survive until the end of the book.

  14. Blabbla says:


  15. ohheyitsalliek says:

    I've already finished this book so I'm not going to say anything so I won't spoil… but I do want to say that one of the best things about reading along with Mark (especially already having read it) is that he picks up on so much that I think I either missed or combined with other things in my frenzy to finish because of all the shit that happens THE WHOLE TIME.

    So, thanks Mark! You da best.

  16. aficat says:

    <img src=""&gt;





  17. About the time when they mentioned undersized body parts I sat down and bawled like a baby who just had her first gas-pain. Or like a Twilighter who was just told Deadward doesn't exist. Or…..

    PRIM! NOES! Collins, you fiendish genius of soul-smashing trauma, HOW COULD YOU?! And I am a sick person because this makes me love her all the more.

    S.L.O.E. Buttercup is now wailing, and I must attend with cuddles and dishes of cream. T__T

  18. Integrity1584 says:

    Mark, every time you wished that the earth would open up and swallow someone, all I thought of was this chapter. No one deserves that. Holy shit.

    Just like we wished Cato dead and thought about how sexy Finnick was, Collins makes us wish we'd never thought these things. Brilliant.

  19. Puel says:



    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Nothing will ever be okay again. D:

    (god I am glad I bookmarked so many crying gifs for this part of Mockingjay. And I still don't have enough.)

    So. Uh. How about the part where Katniss entered the freaking Hunger Games so her little sister wouldn't die, and now her little sister got blown up in front of her?


  20. michelle says:

    I think this chapter will be AMAZING when it's made into a film.
    if they get that far.

    • Andrew says:

      Amazing, but tragic.

    • knut_knut says:

      I wonder how much of it will be cut though since they'll probably want to keep the film PG-13

      • E.L.S.O.S. says:

        ALL OF IT. I can seriously not imagine this movie made with anything under an R rating. I mean it's just too violent. I can't even imagine this being a YA novel really! This would have sent me into nightmares forever when I was the 'proper' age to read YA! Luckily, when I was the right age to read YA I was obsessed with reading books that were over my supposed reading level and saved the horrible tragedy until I was old and bitter enough to sleep well no matter the nightmare fuel.

        Unless it involves zombies. Zombies still give me nightmares.

        • knut_knut says:

          I will be SO SAD if they cut out all of the horrifying things Collins wrote! I also heard they might be casting Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and I'm not sure how I feel about that :/

          Haha, practically everything still gives me nightmares. Unfortunately, I didn't grow out of my susceptibility to nightmare fuel

          • monkeybutter says:

            I read about Jennifer Lawrence soon after reading that there was going to be a Percy Jackson sequel. I cringed equally about the two; I'm afraid the Hunger Games is going to be one of those crappy adaptations. Harry Potter and Twilight — though it kills me to compare the two — were incredibly successful and they stayed pretty true to the source material (meaning one was good and the other was awful) and didn't alienate their fans. I hope The Hunger Games goes the Harry Potter route and not the Percy Jackson.

            It's nothing against Lawrence's acting skills — I think she could do a great job — but it would mean a lot of changes that could piss off fans. It could also mean targeting an adult audience and scraping the ceiling of PG-13. I just wish they'd release the damned cast already!

    • ShiiShii says:

      WHEN* they get that far. 🙂

  21. ldwy says:

    Mark, before I say anything else about this chapter,
    And it’s not like other pods, as the street cracks open down the middle and begins to fold downwards into something unknown under the ground. YEAH IT’S A GIANT TRAP.


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Hermione,omg">

  22. zuzu says:


    Just when you think things can't be any worse, they become the worst things you could never imagine. Ugh, there is absolutely nothing even remotely funny that anyone can say about this chapter. *hint* *challenge* *hint*

  23. michelle says:

    the little girl in the yellow coat reminded me of the girl in the red coat in schindler's list.

    • QuoteMyFoot says:


      oh god they are going to film this scene in black and white with just one bit of yellow aren't they ;-;

    • ariel says:

      this was my immediate thought too! and they both served similar purposes in the narrative: showing Schindler/Katniss the innocent victims of senseless violence


  24. Shanella says:

    "And then Collins punches us in the face. And then kicks us once we’ve fallen to the floor. And then pushes off a cliff."

    I think you forgot the part where she pushes us off a cliff into a pirana infested pool, then pulls us out through fields of thorns and when we think the worst is over, drops a bomb on our hearts.

    Also, this is why this is one of the best.dystopian.books.ever

  25. andreah1234 says:


    Giving my imposibility to comment anything that's not on capslock, the gifs, I bring them.


    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    (I really want the Doctor to save the day 🙁 )

    <img src=""&gt;
    ^^ This gif, relevant for everything. And even if it's not I WILL MAKE IT RELEVANT.

  26. CuriousApe says:

    ohmygodohmygodohmygod this chapter is so horrifying. Even just reading this review, I wanted to just curl up in a blanket, cuddle with a teddy bear, have some tea and convince myself that everything is going to be ok because, hey, it's just a book.
    And then I realised that shit like that is actually going on in the world and that people really lose everything and then some more and the world is a horrible place.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Also, I love this book.

  27. lani says:

    I had a hard time digesting this chapter, it was just so confusing. So fucking painful and complex and utterly confusing. Specially that last part. I don't know why I kept thinking Katniss was running toward Effie; did she really meet Effie earlier? I couldn't handle a re-read right away, so I just left to cry in my bed with a very concerned cat staring at me from the night stand.
    I'm glad you got to this chapter (and the following ones), because I need you to explain to me what REALLY went on, and not just what my very tired, very depressed, spanish-first-language mind understood.

    Oh yeah, and Finnick should never have fucking died.

  28. stellaaaaakris says:

    My head…..I didn't realize this was all in the same chapter 🙁 When I first read this, I had no idea what happened. I did not make the connection to Gale's trap. I was so confused. I don't think even the fact that Prim was trying to help the children managed to make its way into my brain before shit got real.

    Ummm, WTF, Collins? I know it hasn't been a secret that I don't like Prim (see my tl;dr essay a few weeks back) but that doesn't mean I want any bombs going off in her vicinity! It very much does not. There is a middle ground to be found. Same with Gale. Can't stand the guy but I don't want him to be captured and/or tortured and/or killed. In fact, I want them both alive and well and Gale to realize killing everybody is not the answer.

    But, Mark, look! THE EARTH LITERALLY OPENED UP AND ATE EVERYBODY!! You finally got your wish. But many of the earth's victims were innocent, scared civilians.

    Cressida, Pollux, PEETA??? Where are you guys? Are you okay?

    There is no happy in this chapter but I think it's worth mentioning that Katniss finally realizes, to a degree, that she doesn't have to choose between Peeta and Gale if she doesn't want to. Now, I'm all about Peeta, but she's 17; if she survives all this, she can find another guy, maybe a nephew of Cinna or Chaff's son or something. She can choose to be roommates with Johanna for the rest of her life. Or she can choose nobody. I'm just glad that she is starting to understand that these two guys are not her only options.

  29. At the end of this chapter, I honestly wanted to throw the book across the fucking room. Literally. I had the physical urge to do so. I very strongly considered not even finishing the book. I could not believe Collins had done that.

    And at the same time, I think the final passages in this chapter are brilliantly written. Collins does have a gift for horrible, terrible action sequences, and this is no exception. We are right there with Katniss observing the events, and we fill in all the blanks ourselves. I re-read that last sentence so many times to make sure I was understanding it right. I know you're leaving some room for doubt, but when I read that sentence over and over, all I could see was the image of Prim saying Katniss's name right before she was fucking blown up.

    At least it can't get any worse, right?


  30. ldwy says:

    Okay. Oh my god, this chapter.
    I am so scared for Peeta, off on his own. Looking even more like himself than random people who vaguely resemble him, and look what happened to them!! I feel like he can't possibly survive this, no matter how good his disguise. Although he was the one with the line about the power of a great stylist, so maybe that is indicative that Tigris will ultimately have disguised him well enough? But then again, Peeta's so scared of what he has become, lately, and so aware that there's little he can do to help, I'm also even more afraid that his plan to maybe be a distraction will be to wander out to some public place and take off his disguise, give himself up for the chaos it will cause. It would be a huge distraction. And I feel like he's desperate enough to think this could be a good plan.
    So that is my first bout of OH MY GOD SAD AND SCARED.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Hermione,sad,cry">

    I think Collins did a fantastic job of depicting the mess and terror and indiscriminate nature of war. The poor refuges. Oh god oh god oh god.

    I was not super surprised that by the end, Katniss ended up alone. I feel like the way books go, following the "hero" archetype, if you will, the quest has to be completed alone. (We saw that in Harry Potter. All his parental figures had to die, and in the end he had to act without his friends. The shades of his support gave him strength, but they too disappeared at the end, and in his battle with Voldemort in the Great Hall he says, "It has to be me" (or something like that)). So I expected it to come down to her alone and Snow.

    But jeez, that scene where the road collapses and there's unknown terrors lurking below and everyone is clinging on for dear life? CAN IT GET SCARIER? I appreciate that Collins left the mutt monster or whatever in the pit an unknown, it makes it all the scarier.

    I am so sad and scared for Gale. They won't kill him. They'll torture him or hijack him or god knows what. I have all the same fears as Katniss. And as horrifying as it would have been for her to kill him, I get that he asked. What happened to his poison pill? Did he give it to Peeta? (I feel like I remember reading this but I may have made it up.)
    So that is my second bout of OH MY GOD SAD AND SCARED.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    I do not even know where to begin for the end of this chapter. Snow using the refugee children as a shield? I can not handle that. And then Prim, oh my god oh my god!! She's dead? She can't die. She's Prim!! How the hell is Katniss going to be able to do what she's set out to do with this having happened? I know my breaking point would have been long before now if I were in Katniss' shoes, but how can this not be the breaking point for her??? How will she stand up again, let alone carry out an assassination mission?
    So that is my third bout of OH MY GOD SAD AND SCARED. (Although, who am I kidding, this chapter was one big bout.)
    Prim, I cry all the tears for you. You became a medic and you tried to help people and this is what happened to you and it is NOT FAIR.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    And then I reread the chapter again, and my mind melted.
    It took me longer than you to realize that this was Gale's trap, Mark. Only reading again, slowly, did it dawn on me. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? IS THERE SOME MOLE SO THE CAPITOL AND SNOW KNOWS EVERYTHING THE REBELS ARE DOING? DID SOMEONE SELL OUT? BREAK UNDER TORTURE?
    Or even worse, although I can't get my mind around how it would even happen this way, DID THE REBELS, WHO HAD THIS PLAN FROM WAY BACK IN GALE'S STRATEGIZING MEETINGS WITH BEETEE, DO THIS? WHY?

  31. First I get a glimpse of the blond braid down her back.

    A blond girl that Katniss knows?

    ..oh. You wouldn't, Collins. You wouldn't. It's someone else but I don't know who.

    Then, as she yanks off her coat to cover a wailing child, I notice the duck tail formed by her untucked shirt.
    A blond girl with a 'duck tail?' Who could that be besides Pr-
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    Because for just a moment, she catches sight of me, her lips form my name.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">


    And that's when the rest of the parachutes go off
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">


    • ldwy says:

      My reactions were exactly the same, and you are a certified GIF-MASTER because I have never seen so much disbelief and terror and sadness and panic summed up SO WELL in brilliant gif form. Bravo.

    • Best. Comment. EVER.

      You win ALL the things.

    • Puel says:

      There is no joy in Mudville. Or anywhere else, really.

      Five-star use of gifs, though.

    • Depths_of_Sea says:


      It was late at night the first time I read this chapter but I'm pretty sure my thoughts went exactly the same as yours.

  32. shortstack930 says:

    This was definitely an extremely messed up chapter. It was just action upon action and everything getting worse and worse. And the worst cliffhanger ever! We don't know what happened to Peeta or Gale or Cressida or Pollux and we've just seen Prim in the middle of a bunch of exploding parachutes. So awful that for the entire trilogy all Katniss has been doing is trying to protect her family and now Prim is thrown right into the middle of the battle! So tragic 🙁

  33. QuoteMyFoot says:

    UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME I am kinda glad Prim was caught up in that trap because… well, for me it's been the first good use of Katniss' ~beloved sister~ since the first Reaping. Just IMO.

    Okay serious business time now: I really appreciate the horror that Collins puts into this chapter. I'm not sure I would have respected her if she hadn't. This is why I love Mockingjay. Not because I enjoy all the heartbreak or anything, but because it's real and Collins doesn't shy away from just how horrible war really is. Obviously I've never been in that position myself, but there are some people who just… gloss over how horrible war is, like they think you maybe getting shot is the only risk, and that you can brush that off, no problem. And it just isn't true, and I think it's worth remembering that, and remembering all the people who came before us who fought in wars like this. I think it's worth remembering the people who went through such horrors for the privileges we have today.


  34. samibear says:

    Oh, and also? You're reactions were the exact same as mine. I swear, the end of this chapter just makes me want to curl up into a ball and stay there.

  35. SusanBones says:

    My first reaction was "how the hell did Prim get to the Capital?" This last cruelty was just too much. I can't admire Suzanne Collins for this amount of cruelty, because I feel like she is just going for shock value at this point.

    This book is SO DEPRESSING.

  36. theresa1128429 says:

    Can all character deaths just be like this, please?
    <img src=""&gt;

    I find it very coincidental that we got to this chapter on the anniversary of the day that my best friend's sister died. Kinda creepy..

  37. bell_erin_a says:

    Haha, not funny, but I'm a bit relieved. Your first comment doesn't have any snark or sarcasm or puns or anything else, and it really worried me there!

  38. RachelHs says:

    When you first read this, it goes by so quickly because you're so into it you're reading a million words a minute. Now, when everything is slowed down you realize how truly, terribly fucked up this is. Tears and screaming can't even begin to express my feelings.

    Does anyone know of any other authors that are willing to seriously hurt and kill off so many important characters? Please recommend me some books.

    • la.donna.pietra says:

      Joss Whedon comes close.

      • susieq says:

        Stephen King. I've always liked his writing, because when people fight, they get HURT.

        • Darion! says:

          SO TRUE. I’m reading Desperation right now. (:
          And Needful Things.
          Stephen King is win.
          SOWISA for the rest of these reviews. SOWISA. (Pleeeease tell me I got that right. Will be so disappointed if I messed that one up. DX)

      • msfeasance says:

        The bleeding thing reminded me of the Blue Hands from Firefly.

    • Guest says:

      I know! I was reading so fast at this point, words are blurring, just thinking pleasemakeitstop pleasemakeitstop and honestly, we hadn't heard much from Prim because she was "safe" in 13 and then BAM! Bravo Collins, place her in the background even though the whole thing revolves around Katniss saving her, and then trot her out when we least expect it in the midst of the most HOLY MOTHER WHAT THE HELL CHAOS!! This is just one of the many reasons these books impacted me so much…Collins committment to painting the grim reality…good grief I need a vacation from these books! And thank you Mark, for yet another review that blows my mind, even though I knew what was coming. Way to clench our innards!

    • Michael Crichton used to kill off all kinds of "good guys" with merry abandon.

    • George R.R. Martin. The tagline for his Song of Ice and Fire series should be "DON'T GET TOO ATTACHED!"

      • ohheyitsalliek says:

        Good call. He also keeps nothing sacred. I'm in the middle of that series now and I've learned to just pretend in my mind I don't like anyone because as soon as I do… BAM something horrible happens. JUST LIKE COLLINS.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Yeah, forget "Winter is Coming." NO ONE IS SAFE.

    • Guest says:

      "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo.
      I cried. A lot.

  39. BradSmith5 says:

    I used to have schoolmates that did this type of thing. Not for real, but with whatever art supplies they had in their desks. They'd spend their recesses drawing towers and buildings filled with stuff like acid sprinklers and lava pits. They'd have fun making stick figures march through these death traps––getting killed in every conceivable way.

    Thank you Collins; you've taken me back to grade school again. I appreciate the nostalgia.

  40. Andrew says:

    PRIM! :''''''( All the sad! She CAN NOT be dead.

    This is why Collins can't have nice things. She just blows them up.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Gifgasm: commence.

    <img src=""&gt;

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    Bravo, Collins. You succeeded in making my brain explode. I will never recover.

    <img src=""&gt;

    (P.S. I've been compiling these for weeks from all over the internet in preparation for this post, so props to whoever posted/created these originally. You win all the things)

  41. CINNAmon says:

    This chapter is the worst, and yet the best, out of all YA fiction ever created

  42. tethysdust says:

    It looks like the Capitol has finally done what they've been planning to do since the beginning of Hunger Games; force Katniss to watch her little sister die.


    • Andrew says:

      Oh, god yes. If she'd let Prim go up and enter the Hunger Games maybe fewer people would have died, but the districts would have to live in fear. I don't know which is worse.

    • The Crapitol is responsible for Prim being there, but the style of trap is, as Mark points out, very similar to Gale's traps. :/ I don't know who is responsible in the end, but the Resistance has dirty hands, methinks.

      • Baz says:

        I totally agree with you. 13/The Rebels have shown many times that they're not above the violent acts of the Capitol, and this…….I mean, who knows? I can't really think of a solid reason why the Rebels would have blown up their own medics or the Capitol's children, but I also can't think of how the Capitol would have gotten a trap that Gale and Beetee made up (not that the Capitol wouldn't be able to think of a trap like that, but the trap makes me think of Gale every time). I just don't know.

      • tethysdust says:

        I think the trap was a Capitol one, though. Otherwise, why would the rebel medics have rushed in? I think Gale was just thinking like the Capitol before, which is why this is so similar

      • Inessa says:

        How is the Capitol responsible for Prim being there?

  43. SorrowsSolace says:

    Oh Gods this chapter! I thought it was coming up yesterday and was ready to comment with "Saddest things ever right?" Thank goodness I read the review and realized my error. Collin's is freaking terrifying in this chapter, how in the hells did she imagine all of these freaky death-traps?

  44. Snow's favorite movie:

    <img src=>

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • Andrew says:

      I wish I had a Pikachu. WHY ISN'T POKEMON REAL? :''''''( You're right, everything is terrible! TERRIBLE!

    • andreah1234 says:


      …What? it was a gift!…

      …From when I was 5…

      …That I still have and love…

      /Grown up.

  46. kaycee says:

    We could tell you it gets better/worse but then we'd be spoiling (or lying) right?

  47. shelly says:

    I love u…that’s all.

    Also, the ground literally just swallowed people and sent them down to be eaten by mutt insect snakes or something.

    On a personal note, my friend is reading the first book and she’s all like, Omg they are shooting fireballs at her. And I just sit on the couch and laugh at her.

    • Andrew says:

      Like at the beginning when Mark asked if Collins would really kill children. It was difficult to not just sit here and mock.

    • ohheyitsalliek says:

      One of my friends is about to start this trilogy and all I had to say was "JUST WAIT. YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW."

  48. Adrienne says:

    I couldn't believe the end of this chapter when I read it. I just can't…

  49. CuriosityShoppe says:

    The image of the little girl's yellow coat being stained red is the image that's stayed with me more than any other in these books. I reacted to it the way many readers reacted to Finnick's death: I had to go back and re-read that passage a couple of times to make sure I'd read it right, because I was hardly able to believe that what I thought had happened had, in fact, happened.

    As for the rest of the chapter, I can't even comment on it, because it's just… too much. Too horrible, too overwhelming. I don't even know where to start.

    • Andrew says:

      I agree. It's the kind of scene that would transfer incredibly well to film. I can imagine some kind of slow piano music in the background as the camera moves slowly in in. Then BOOM HEADSHOT and everything is terrible forever :'''(

  50. althraser says:

    Mark, I just read through the entirety of MRHP and MRHG in like a week. It's literally the next best thing to reading them for the first time!

    Also, HOMG NOOOO PRIM. 🙁 🙁 🙁

    I'm sorry you are now in ALL THE SADS, but thanks so much for this blog and awesomeness. We can be friends y/y?

  51. Mel says:

    Oh baby you are the opposite of prepared.

  52. Ally says:

    I was waiting for you to get here. This chapter right here made me HAAAAAATE Gale because this is his trap. Doesn’t matter who used it. Gale thought of it and now Prim is gone.


  53. Pk9 says:

    You were not prepared, Mark.

    Anyone know where he asked for the earth to open up? I remember there was one time that stood out to me a lot back when I read it, immediately making me think of this chapter, but going back I could only find him speculating that maybe the earth had opened up and swallowed Seneca Crane, and I don't think that was the one.

    • Depths_of_Sea says:

      It was back in his reviews for Hunger Games . Possibly in reference to a suitable comeuppance for Cato? I'm not sure, but I think it was around that part of the book.

  54. Gamesfan says:

    For two books and 23 chapters, I thought I was reading a sci-fi adventure story. I never realized I was actually reading a modern essay on the horrors of war. Ever since you began THG, Mark, I've been waiting for you to reach THIS point and you did not disappoint. You are as shocked as the rest of us were. It's so much fun to read this series through someone else's eyes. It's like rediscovering the surprises all over again. And it's not over yet….

  55. lolwat says:

    I had to read this twice before I understood what went down. Then I put my book down and cried for a solid ten minutes.

  56. arnenieberding says:

    Excuse me, I can't take this. Even reading this review has made me cry. Ugh. Turns out I'll be sobbing along to sad songs for the rest of the evening.

    *plays "Mad World" by Gary Jules*


  57. jennywildcat says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Crying Kuzco">

    The world is officially over.

    • CuriosityShoppe says:

      Oh god whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy do people keep posting gifs from Up!? Don't they know I like to give the impression that I have a turnip for a heart and they're making it impossible for me to keep up that facade?!

      Brb, crying forever.

  58. RainaWeather says:

    This chapter and 22 were the ones that made me wonder if the Capital has really advanced technology or if they have magic powers. I was not expecting shit to get that creative!

  59. easilyentranced says:

    Ahh, Mark when I read this the first time, I was reading so quickly that it was hard for the utter tragedy to really sink in. I think that's why I was so bummed out for weeks after I'd read the book. I needed time to process that I didn't give myself when I blasted through it. So, yeah, reliving this horrible part of the book through your reviews is actually kind of awesome, because even though I do have to relive the tragedy, I can also step away from it a bit. …If that makes any sense.

    Basically, I want to say thanks for doing these reviews and for being dedicated to doing them a chapter at a time. It makes reading the book awkward, I'm sure, but when Collins pounds us with all these heart-wrenching deaths and atrocities, it's nice to be able to slow down and recover from them.

  60. jennywildcat says:

    YES! Yes Skippy from Robin Hood. Because there are no good things in the world anymore!

  61. mugglemomof2 says:

    So much I want to say but I want to hold off on commenting on this chapter till after you finish the book.

    Keysmashes= 4 since chapter 20

  62. Jaria says:

    Never have the words "duck tail" been so frightening.

  63. prideofportree says:

    I feel so bad for Mark watching the end of season 4 of Doctor Who and reading this at the same time.

    He. Is. Not. Prepared.

  64. bookling says:

    I completely forgot that all of this was in one chapter. Holy shit.

    And then Collins made me HATE EVERYTHING.

    Did she really just kill Prim? PRIM. Prim was the reason Katniss volunteered for the Games. Prim is the reason all of this happened. To protect Prim. AND NOW SHE MIGHT BE DEAD FUCK YOU COLLINS.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    If I had been reading this book on a computer, this would have been my reaction:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I had been up all night reading and it was close to 2 AM at this point and I was terrified of how the book was going to end but so unprepared for Prim to show up and be in danger. I wanted to throw the book across the room.

  65. April says:

    I actually almost started crying just reading this post, and I'm pretty sure I did cry when I first read the book.

    Also, now every time Mark says that he hopes the ground opens up and eats a character I'm going to actually be freaked out.

  66. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Tragic joy?

  67. Mitch says:

    Among the worst parts, for me, is that you got your wish for the ground to open up and eat people, but IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE VILLAINS, NOT INNOCENT PEOPLE. >:-(

    I seriously kept thinking of this chapter every time you mentioned that you wanted that to happen.

  68. I can't says:

    Oh this is the chapter where I threw the book at my wall, left a mark. Stared at it, then put it in the freezer where time stops… Left it there for quite a while, then thought about how freaking ironic it was for the one person katniss wanted to ultimately protect pretty much gets blown up right before our eyes. LOOK. WHAT. COLLINS. HAS. DONE. TO. OUR. LIVES.

  69. Once again Collins leaves us speechless. Say what you want about her slightly unsubtle writing, the woman knows how to get at the heartstrings and how to punch you in the gut.

  70. t09yavorski says:

    So when I read this chapter I had been reading all day and was sitting in one of those floor gaming chairs. I started crying so hard I couldn't see the book anymore and I had to sit there rocking for a bit before i could read on.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    BRB gonna go sob in a corner

  71. Baz says:

    fingers clutch their faces, as blood sprays from all the visible orifices—eyes, noses, mouths, ears. In less than a minute, everyone’s dead

    Several years ago, I had a nightmare that this very thing happened to me. And then I saw One Hour Photo, and it happened there. Then I saw Serenity, and it happened there. AND NOW IT IS IN THIS FUCKING BOOK AND WHY WHY WHY!!!!!!!!!!! Siriusly, this is my biggest, most irrational fear, and here it is in the most terrifying chapter I think I've ever read, ever.

    I flew through this chapter the first time, then let a friend borrow my books, so this is only the second time I've gone through it, and it's so much harder noticing all the things I flew over the first time. It's so confusing and terrifying all at once and then, THE EARTH OPENS UP AND SWALLOWS PEOPLE….and Gale gets caught by Peacekeepers…and…oh no, oh god no, the children…the bomb…the medics…PRIM…the second bomb. Infinite sadness.

  72. Hotaru-hime says:

    That was all that was in my head.

  73. erin says:

    Haha oh god we are TERRIBLE PEOPLE FOR LAUGHING.

  74. xilopia says:

    Oh shit, I forgot how horrible this chapter was. How all the awfulness just kept piling up.
    It's everything at once and you don't even get a chance to react before something else happens.


  75. karadudz says:

    "And it’s not like other pods, as the street cracks open down the middle and begins to fold downwards into something unknown under the ground"

    When I read your comment about the ground opening up, I immediately thought that it was the earth opening up to welcome Umbridge or somethings… LOL

    But other than than I was definitely trying to avoid this chapter because I knew what was coming.
    And your reaction to Prim? Pretty much the same reaction I had. I re-read the last three pages of that chapter over and over again to make sure I was reading it right. Honestly, it didn't really help, it was worse each time I reread it.

    And after this chapter I was in REALLY BIG DENIAL. Mostly because everything just happened so fast (or maybe I read the chapter really fast), but this chapter was just heartbreaking.

    The little kid getting killed by rebels. CONFUSING. Gale's trap being used by the Capitol. CONFUSING. The children inside the "protection wall". HORRIFYING. All the violence and war and innocent people dying? I'm very much scarred.
    Then questions come… What happened to Peeta? How about Pollux and Cressida? And Gale? What exactly did he whisper and where in the world is he? Was that really Prim, or someone who just looked like her, or maybe I'm still in denial?

    Damn, Suzanne Collins. Good fucking God this is the worst chapter cliffhanger there ever was in the series…


  76. Pseudonymph says:

    "But my best friend predicts I will choose the person who I think I “can’t survive without.” There’s not the least indication that love, or desire, or even compatibility will sway me. I’ll just conduct an unfeeling assessment of what my potential mates can offer me. As if in the end, it will be the question of whether a baker or a hunter will extend my longevity the most. It’s a horrible thing for Gale to say, for Peeta not to refute. Especially when every emotion I have has been taken and exploited by the Capitol or the rebels. At the moment, the choice would be simple. I can survive just fine without either of them."

    This paragraph makes me so happy. I know that the events of this chapter are some of the most gruesome things most of us have ever read, but this paragraph is everything I wanted to hear from Katniss. I am proud of her for thinking this. It warms my bitter, feminist heart.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Yes, and if she says it out loud then that will be awesome. Thanks for pointing this part out Pseudonymph; my RAGE caused me to miss it in the actual book. And I was too busy laughing at that Ackbar gag in Mark's review to notice it there. 😉

  77. hermy0209 says:

    PRIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

    thats all i can say about that :'(

    Collins is an evil genius….EVIL!!!! :'(:'(:'(

  78. lisra says:

    And again I threw the book against a wall.

    The reader is so thoroughly beaten down it is hard to describe. Wow.

    *sets the cat lose*

    Anyone who likes to cuddle it for warmth can do so, to drive away the utter coldness of this chapter.

    And, as I said many posts ago, this is why Coin is a terrible, terrible person and game is now officially a war criminal.

    Hooray for that.

  79. andreah1234 says:

    Guys, those gifs are killing me. KILLING ME

    *cuddles under blanket, eats chocolate and watches AVPM until the sad ends*

    …(*I'll probably be here for a while*)

  80. pennylane27 says:

    I forgot the parachutes were in this chapter. I was all happy reading the review, thinking I had one more day to get to the horror, and then it hit me. I WASN'T EVEN PREPARED FOR YOUR REVIEW MARK.


    And then I had to close my laptop and cover it with a pillow so I could sob a little.

  81. 🙁 Prim is gone. 🙁

    FOR. EV. ER.

    <img src="; border="0"/>GIFSoup

    …and a Sandlot gif can't even make all the sad go away.

    Cue single tear drop rolling down my cheek.

    <img src="; border="0"/>GIFSoup

  82. Joanie says:

    I completely forgot about Gale's plan when I read this. Actually, I don't remember where the other chapter breaks were but this one is seared into my brain. Took me about three tries just to figure out that PRIM WAS PRESENT AT THE SCENE, maybe another 234098 to realize what had just happened.

    Oh god, it's already Wednesday. Do we have to wait past the weekend for you to finish the book? Mark, how do you do this?! D:

  83. ylime231 says:

    I've been reading Mark Reads since Deathly Hallows, and seriously loved reliving the Harry Potter experience with you.

    Thank you so much for introducing me to this series – even though SO MUCH PAIN!!!

    I think my fav tidbit is that Collins is/was a writer for "Oswald" – potentially the cutest, most nonviolent cartoon ever created. I watch it with my kids, and to make the connection between that and THG…… does not compute!

    • theresa1128429 says:

      Whoa whoa whoa? Collins wrote for OSWALD?!? The same Oswald with the cute octopus and the wiener dog and penguin and stuff? nooo wayy!!!!!!! lol

      • ylime231 says:

        yeah, that one… and according to wikipedia she was head writer for "Clifford's Puppy Days". Wrong. Just wrong. (and awesome!)

  84. sdempster1016 says:



  85. korat97 says:



  86. Silverilly says:

    I didn't think I could cry harder than I did for Finnick. And then this.

  87. Frianna says:

    When I read this book the first time I didn't even get that the plan was Gale(and Beetee?)'s, but it was still FUCKED UP.
    At this point I just had to stop, lay the book down and sob. PRIM! 🙁

  88. TreesaX says:

    Okay before we get to the foreversadness.jpg, Katniss' reaction is what I meant in my comment on the last chapter. Yes, there is a best friend and a guy she just met. Yes, both of them love her. Yes, eventually she will "choose" one by the end of the book. But at this moment, and throughout the past the books, and unlike a character in a book not to be named.. KATNISS DOESN'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT IT. She NEVER gave a fuck about it. This is why this book is awesome. I love that the romance aspect of these books care more to the readers than the main character.

    Okay.. now back to crying. ;____________________; I remembered last night that THIS was gonna happen in this chapter. I thought about it so much I DREAMT that I was reading your review. Anyways, as much as I was upset about all the deaths, the emotional and psychological torment that Katniss was going through, the hijacking of Peeta… this moment with Prim actually, if only for a second, literally ANGERED me. After all this.. PRIM WAS GONNA DIE? I MEAN.. REALLY? PRIM? WHAT THE FUCK COLLINS??? Then I curled up in a ball and cried like a baby.

    And I have to say this so I can get it out of my system without spoiling you.. you won't understand it (at least I don't think you will) but… YOU ARE REALLY GOOD, MARK. REALLY GOOD.

  89. syntheticjesso says:

    I forgot/blocked out half of the stuff in this chapter. Ugh.

    Prim! Gale! That horrifying pit! This chapter is so full of horrible things. Suzanne Collins is an evil, evil genius. Especially when the children are killed using a plan that Gale also came up with!

    Again, I would hate her SO MUCH if she wasn't so good at what she does.

    Also: Those of you reading this as a physical book have such an advantage. I listened to the audiobooks, and had nothing to throw across the room when things got horrifying/infuriating/unbelievable. Even worse, most of my listening time was at work, so I had to keep a straight face while listening to all of this.

  90. kylecamp says:

    This is about the point in this book where I began to sob uncontrollably. I didn't stop until about 30 minutes after I finished. IT IS SO AWFUL ON SO MANY DIFFERENT LEVELS IT'S INDESCRIBABLE.

  91. Katie says:

    Not to say that Collins isn’t a heartless soul-crusher, because she totally is, but: do you guys remember how we have complained about the way Prim was described? That she was somehow not a real human being, but just this caricature of everything that is good? I seem to remember somebody calling her a stone. I think Collins did that on purpose, to protect us so that we would be able to take what she had in store for us. Because I honestly think that if Prim had been properly described, as awesome as Katniss’s sister surely was, none of us would be able to keep reading past the end of this chapter. Especially after Finnick. So I think Collins showed us a little kindness there in keeping Prim as vague as she did. And this is why I also think there’s no chance she survived the explosions.

    • TreesaX says:

      I saw it as Collins making Prim a true "innocent". I always thought the reason why Prim did not have many appearances is that Katniss wanted to keep her away from the evil in the world. Since we can only see Katniss' perspective, I think she (and Collins) intentionally kept Prim "away" from what was going on, which invariably kept her away from the narrative in the book. The sadness and the horror, in Katniss' eyes, was reserved only for her, not for her little sister. Which is why it's truly heartbreaking that Katniss could not only protect her sister from the horror of it all, she lost her to it.

  92. lossthief says:

    "It’s a horrible thing for Gale to say, for Peeta not to refute. Especially when every emotion I have has been taken and exploited by the Capitol or the rebels. At the moment, the choice would be simple. I can survive just fine without either of them."
    If I knew how to do it, I'd post every single clapping gif I could find right now. Glad to see Collins wasn't going to let that line slide.

    The rest of this chapter kept up with that too, especially the scenes from the battles. I mean seriously, that's how you right a war going on. Shit is crazy, unorganized, and moves so fast that you don't have time to take it all in. Collins definitely put her best foot forward with this. Also Mark, I'm surprised you didn't point out that you FINALLY GOT YOUR WISH FOR THE GROUND TO OPEN UP AND EAT PEOPLE. 😀

    Before I talk about how impressed I am with Prim's death, I'd like to bring something to attention. Yesterday I said this:
    "I can't tell how this is all going to come together (although I get the feeling something bad is coming soon. Major Character death maybe?)"
    *~*Troo Seer*~* status official? I think so.

    But yeah, I'm impressed that Collins was willing to kill off Prim. It takes a LOT of guts to kill a character that innocent, and I like that she went with it, to really bring home the impact of all this death and destruction going on.

    Grade: "A"

    • BradSmith5 says:

      A!? Is this the first chapter to attain such a high grade? And no sarcastic remarks! Amazing.

      Do you care to keep the predictions coming, wise seer? 😉 Any thoughts on the fate of Peeta? Gale?

      • lossthief says:

        I see Peeta and Gale being fine, maybe one of them losing a (nother) limb or having some shrapnel in 'em, but nothing serious. Something tells me Collins wouldn't have their deaths off screen. Can't say my outlook for Pollux and Cressida are too sunny, but they've got a chance at making it to the next chapter.

        And no, there's been one other chapter that's managed to attain an "A." It was the penultimate chapter of the first book, which was the first time I really felt like the Capitol leaders were the scumrags Collins wanted them to look like.

        BTW, I have a wonderful announcement for tomorrows review. NOTES.

  93. embers says:

    This was so disturbing… Gale's brilliant 'trap' working perfectly, to kill children, and Prim.

    • I know a lot of people don't want to think that the rebels are behind it, but I would bet Monopoly Money that it's Gale and Beetee's trap, though not directly set by Gale. It being the Crapitol is just too easy an answer for Collins.
      If I am right, I will march to Hogwarts and demand Professor Trelawney's position! I need a job anyway. 😛

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        I was thinking about this, too, but I'm still going back and forth about whether or not the rebels have a big enough incentive to actually do that.

        I knew that something was up when I saw the children being used as human shields, because Collins specifically made a point of mentioning that the Capitol wasn't using its aircraft against the rebels, presumably because they needed them to evacuate President Snow if things got to dangerous for him to stay in his mansion. It seems rather unlikely that the Capitol would go from using none of their planes when they actually have a chance of winning, to using one of their planes to attack what seems to be a relatively small target (a target that's almost literally on their front door, anyway) when they're seemingly right on the verge of losing.

        On the other hand, it was said about the *super top secret meeting that Katniss wasn't allowed to attend* that that kind of warfare is going to make a huge dent in Panem's population from which they might not be able to really recover. Therefore, they know it isn't in their best interests to kill a bunch of children and medics, unless the benefits (of which it seems there's really only one) outweight the costs (which are probably many).

        The only reason I could see the rebels doing this would be to frame the Capitol for it, painting them as cruel despots who'd do absolutely anything to win the war. And given that probably the only people still even slightly supportive of the Capitol are actually in the Capitol, seeing the horrors of the Capitol's attack pods firsthand, I tend to doubt that even those people would have much trouble seeing the Capitol as cruel people already.

        So really, I still don't know. Ultimately, though, I think that Collins will have someone blaming Gale for coming up with the idea, whether the actual deed was committed by rebels or not. Which is rather ridiculous to me. But then, it was ridiculous to me that this was an idea that the rebels (who have a Head Gamemaker on their side, ffs) couldn't think of themselves without Gale's help in the first place.

  94. Cora says:

    Am I the only one who recalls in The Hunger Games when Mark wanted the ground to open up and swallow Cato? The parallel immediately came to mind.

    I haven't even gotten past Finnick and now Prim. D: I cannot handle this.

  95. maliarushall says:

    Can you imagine this chapter in the movie? Oh my God, how is this going to be PG-13?? No way they can pull that off unless they take this whole chapter out!

    I wonder how many childhoods Suzanne Collins has destroyed…or adulthoods…

    P.S.: Anyone heard that rumor that Jennifer Lawrence is going to be cast as Katniss? I think they're gonna get some seriously backlash if they cast a girl that's that white.

    • Alexis says:

      I could be wrong, but I don't think Katniss race was ever mentioned so I think an actress of any race could play her. I think they'd get a lot more backlash if they cast a white actress to play Rue

      • maliarushall says:

        The books stated several times that she has olive skin, and Jennifer Lawrence is fairly pale. The point is that Katniss is supposed to be racially ambiguous, and there's no question about JL's race.

    • I've always imagined Katniss looking like she's of mixed race. Has anyone seen Naima of season 4 of America's Next Top Model? I kind of pictured Katniss looking like her, but much younger, with grey eyes.

  96. Saber says:

    I was in tears from chapter 22 onward. Which got pretty awkward because I was shouting in the back of the theater "NO PRIM! Wait, Prim? Prim!" And a whole lot of "Finnick…."

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