Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 25

In the twenty-fifth chapter of Mockingjay, we learn of the terrifying ramifications of the Capitol bombing of the City Circle. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.

It’s taken me nearly a day to write this review. I’d assumed that those nowhere near the Capitol would be safe. But the pieces were set up chapters ago, with Prim stating that she was in training to be a medic. And now she’s gone, dead by a trap designed by Gale and somehow stolen by the Capitol to be used against them.

This chapter completely fucked with my expectations. I’m still waiting to see how the final chapters after this unfold before judging Collins’s endgame, but my preliminary feelings are that, so far, THIS IS REALLY STRANGE. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, for the record, but chapter twenty-five opens with Katniss being physically and mentally removed from what ends chapter twenty-four. Katniss is burning from the bomb blast and her consciousness takes her to a place where all of the places she’s been assimilate into a mish-mash of images, people, events. She’s a bird, her wings burning, and she falls into Finnick’s ocean. Collins weaves in the hallucinatory images through Katniss’s narration, and, at first, I believed that Katniss had died, that what we were witnessing was a narrative sleight of hand, that all along, Collins had planned for this to happen. What’s even more horrifying to me is that had Katniss died that day during the Capitol attack and had this opening section been her recollection of that, it would have been much easier to handle and much less frustrating to read.

Instead, we witness, through Collins’s words, Katniss realizing just how painful the past two years of her life has been, how many people she has lost, and how she has to say goodbye to her lonely, loving sister.

The small white bird tinged in pink dives down, buries her claws in my chest, and tries to keep me afloat. “No, Katniss! No! You can’t go!”

But the ones I hated are winning, and if she clings to me, she’ll be lost as well. “Prim, let go!” And finally she does.

I guess I had a small hope that Prim would be alive after all of this, but that’s not Collins’s style. In the greatest irony, one of the people Katniss trusts the most seems to have inadvertently created the very weapon that has harmed Katniss so badly, and has taken her sister away from her. So many people lost over the course of this series.

But Katniss survives. The girl on fire (how ironic is that name now?) survives.

In the dazzling white Capitol hospital, the doctors work their magic on me. Draping my rawness in new sheets of skin. Coaxing the cells into thinking they are my own. Manipulating my body parts, bending and stretching the limbs to assure a good fit. I hear over and over how lucky I am. My eyes were spared. Most of my face was spared. My lungs are responding to treatment. I will be good as new.

She won’t. She won’t ever be fine, will she?

When my tender skin has toughened enough to withstand the pressure of sheets, more visitors arrive. The morphling opens the door to the dead and alive alike. Haymitch, yellow and unsmiling. Cinna, stitching a new wedding dress. Delly, pratting on about the niceness of people. My father sings all four stanzas of “The Hanging Tree” and reminds me that my mother—who sleeps in a chair between shifts—isn’t to know about it.

God, Cinna. Poor Cinna. I miss his fierceness already. I’m sad he also didn’t get a goodbye, but it seems Collins moves her books along at a frantic pace and sometimes, there’s no time to grieve.

One day I awake to expectations and know I will not be allowed to live in my dreamland. I must take food by mouth. Move my own muscles. Make my way to the bathroom. A brief appearance by President Coin clinches it.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I’ve saved him for you.”

Holy shit, the rebels won???? What?

The doctors’ puzzlement grows over why I’m unable to speak. Many tests are done, and while there’s damage to my vocal cords, it doesn’t account for it. Finally, Dr. Aurelius, a head doctor, comes up with the theory that I’ve become a mental, rather than the physical, Avox. That my silence has been brought on by emotional trauma. Although he’s presented with a hundred proposed remedies, he tells them to leave me alone.

If anything, most of what chapter twenty-five deals with is trauma: the physical trauma of the war against the Capitol, and the mental anguish and terror it’s brought everyone. For Katniss, she’s experienced so much that I’m not at all surprised that her mind has reacted to it like this.

It’s sort of Collins’s trademark in this series to rush through summaries of what happened recently, and I was reminded of the summary Haymitch gave Katniss at the end of Catching Fire here. We finally learn what happened after the Capitol bombed their own children.

On the war: The Capitol fell the day the parachutes went off, President Coin leads Panem now, and troops have been sent out to put down the small remaining pockets of Capitol resistance. On President Snow: He’s being held prisoner, awaiting trial and most certain execution. On my assassination team: Cressida and Pollux have been sent out into the districts to cover the wreckage of the war. Gale, who took two bullets in an escape attempt, is mopping up Peacekeepers in 2. Peeta’s still in the burn unit. He made it to the City Circle after all. On my family: My mother buries her grief in her work.

So much information all at once! I’m surprised that none of the other main characters died, and I’m surprised that Katniss did not succeed in her mission to reach Snow. I expected the end of this book to be one giant showdown between them. But Collins has a thing about taking my expectations and punching them right in the face.

As someone who has suffered from abuse, from post-traumatic stress disorder, from many years of depression, and from some fairly life-stopping moments of tragedy, I want to give Collins credit where credit is due. I don’t want to insinuate that my experience with tragedy or pain is universal, or that it applies to anyone else. For me, though, I felt a strange and growing sense of respect for the way in which she portrays Katniss’s mental state in the many days after the end of the war against the Capitol. For example:

I take to my old habits from District 13. Wandering unauthorized through the mansion. Into bedrooms and offices, ballrooms and baths. Seeking strange little hiding spaces. A closet of furs. A cabinet in the library. A long-forgotten bathtub in a room of discarded furniture. My places are dim and quiet and impossible to find. I curl up, make myself smaller, try to disappear entirely.

When my father died, I became Katniss’s mother. I buried my grief in work. I only took a half day off, the day I found out he died. It seemed cliché to return to work the next day, but I did it. And it helped, at least, to distract myself.

But in the past, detachment worked the best. It worked when I was being abused, it worked when I was being bullied, it worked when I was dumped, it worked during times of ridiculously absurd stress, and it still works for me to do. Hiding from the world and, inevitably, my problems. I don’t know that Collins has ever experienced anything like this before, but I felt a strange kinship in these pages with Katniss, that even a fictional character like this somehow knew how I felt, knew what I’d experienced.

She even seems to nail down visual triggers so well, too:

Patches of my former self gleam white and pale. I’m like a bizarre patchwork quilt of skin. Parts of my hair were singed off completely; the rest has been chopped off at odd lengths. Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire. I wouldn’t care much except the sight of my body brings back the memory of the pain. And why I was in pain. And what happened just before the pain started. And how I watched my little sister become a human torch.

What’s so distressing is the thought that Katniss’s own body will now become her own unique trigger to that day in the City Circle. And I hate President Snow for making it a reality.

The time draws near, although I could not give you exact hours and minutes. President Snow has been tried and found guilty, sentenced to execution. Haymitch tells me, I hear talk of it as I drift past the guards in the hallways. My Mockingjay suit arrives in my room. Also my bow, looking no worse for wear, but no sheath of arrows. Either because they were damaged or more likely because I shouldn’t have weapons. I vaguely wonder if I should be preparing for the event in some way, but nothing comes to mind.

With this, Collins finally shifts to the evil, sadistic mastermind behind all of this: President Snow. It seems Katniss will finally have her day to kill him, and I really adore that Collins has made it so that none of us feel victorious about it. To Katniss, it’s meaningless. Snow took her sister and Peeta. He’s already won, despite that the Capitol is no longer and power. What joy could possibly come from such violence?

Days pass until Katniss wanders off into a part of the mansion she’d not been to before, a quiet area with thick, cushy carpets. When the smell of roses overwhelms her, she almost loses it, believing mutts to be coming to attack her. When they don’t, she moves closer down the hall towards the doorway that holds the roses. It’s guarded by two rebel guards, who refuse her entry on President Coin’s orders.

That’s when Commander Paylor, the woman from District 8, orders the guards to let her in to the room of the roses:

“On my authority,” says Paylor. “She has a right to anything behind that door.”

I didn’t understand what this meant, initially. Did Paylor mean that anything in Snow’s former residence belonged to Katniss? She enters the room, the smell so strong she almost can’t smell anymore, and looks upon row after row of colored roses. It’s her goal to send an ironic and necessary message to Snow on his death, and she finds the agent to send that message her in that room: a white rose.

“That’s a nice one.”

My hand jerks, the shears snap shut, severing the stem.

“The colors are lovely, of course, but nothing says perfection like white.”

I still can’t see him, but his voice seems to rise up from an adjacent bed of roses.

And Paylor’s comment now makes sense: this is where Snow is being held. Katniss has every right to him.

He’s as well groomed and finely dressed as ever, but weighted down with manacles, ankle shackles, tracking devices. In the bright light, his skin’s a pale, sickly green. He holds a white handkerchief spotted with fresh blood. Even in his deteriorated state, his snake eyes shine bright and cold. “I was hoping you’d find your way to my quarters.”

Well, I guess I’m getting what I expected from this chapter, but in a context I couldn’t have dreamed up in a million years. It’s the confrontation between President Snow and Katniss in his mansion.

“There are so many things we should discuss, but I have a feeling your visit will be brief. So, first things first.” He begins to cough, and when he removes the handkerchief from his mouth, it’s redder. “I wanted to tell you how very sorry I am about your sister.”

Oh, fuck you, Snow. My god. Even now, possibly days away from his death, he’s still interested in psychological fuckery. Ugh, the way he uses that slimy tone of his to pretend he’s sorry is awful.

“So wasteful, so unnecessary. Anyone could see the game was over by that point. In fact, I was just about to issue an official surrender when they released those parachutes.” His eyes are glued on me, unblinking, so as not to miss a second of my reaction. But what he’s said makes no sense. When they released the parachutes?

Wait a goddamn second. What the hell are you talking about, Snow? Are you trying to skirt responsibility by blaming the bombing on someone else in your ranks? I DON’T BUY IT.

“Well, you really didn’t think I gave the order, did you? Forget the obvious fact that if I’d had a working hovercraft at my disposal, I’d have been using it to make an escape. But that aside, what purpose could it have served? We both know I’m not above killing children, but I’m not wasteful. I take life for very specific reasons. And there was no reason for me to destroy a pen full of Capitol children. None at all.”

What is he saying. What. I mean, it could have been a last-ditch effort to swing the war in the opposite direction, right? To distract the rebels by killing children??? Right????!?!?!

“However, I must concede it was a masterful move on Coin’s part. The idea that I was bombing our own helpless children instantly snapped whatever frail allegiance my people still felt to me. There was no real resistance after that. Did you know it aired live? You can see Plutarch’s hand there. And in the parachutes. Well, it’s that sort of thinking that you look for in a Head Gamemaker, isn’t it?” Snow dabs the corners of his mouth. “I’m sure he wasn’t gunning for your sister, but these things happen.”

I am so heartbroken right now. They did it on purpose. They tricked me. They tricked Katniss. I should have known; the rebels had control of the Hovercraft. Just because there was a Capitol seal on the bottom did not mean it was the Capitol’s doing.

I feel so betrayed by this all. The rebel leadership is now no better than President Snow: they both murdered children in order to gain power.

I can’t. I just can’t.

“But I wasn’t watching Coin. I was watching you, Mockingjay. And you were watching me. I’m afraid we have both been played for fools.”

I refuse for this to be true. Some things even I can’t survive. I utter my first words since my sister’s death. “I don’t believe you.”

Snow shakes his head in mock disappointment. “Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other.”

Heartbroken forever. I was never, ever prepared.

About Mark Oshiro

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

328 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Chapter 25

  1. liliaeth says:

    And the worst part is that what Snow says all makes sense. After all, if he really had a hovercraft, he probably would have run for it, even if only to save his own hide.

    And Coin played all of them to perfection.

    • DTDRC says:

      Yes!! And yesterday in the comments people were asking how they had rebel medics at the ready to care for the capitol children. It's because they knew they were going to bomb the children and medics would be needed!

      And while it was Gale's trap idea, his plan was kill a few enemies and then when more enemies come to their aid, kill all of them too, not to kill your own people. Coin somehow took Gale's terrible idea and made it even worse! (Though Gale was willing to let 13's spies die in the takedown of the nut, so who knows what he would think of this.)

      • He'd just say they were collateral, like he did about District 2. Gale said several times that he'd be willing to sacrifice others in order to defeat the Capitol.

    • ldwy says:

      I totally agree. Learning this is awful. Learning it from Snow makes it that much worse.

  2. blis says:

    THIS BOOK…it know…it… I can't.. FUCK!

  3. Silvertongue says:

    I don't *like* Snow, but there were definitely times and ways that I preferred him, possibly, to Coin. Not that he isn't still playing and manipulating Katniss, but he almost feels more honest about it? I think just that she expects it from him.

    And poor Mark =( All the hugs are for you, and the wet Doctor.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I think Coin's been pretty obvious that she doesn't care about Katniss outside of her usefulness, either. She was pretty upfront that the Mockingjay was important, not the girl behind it. I think this is actually one of the few times that Coin's actions aren't transparent — did she or didn't she do it — and Snow is dealing with Katniss in an upfront manner. He's usually too deep in his own political games to bother with anything other than threatening her, but now he's been reduced to sitting alone in his greenhouse with only an injured soldier to talk to.

      But, yeah, it's hard to pick which one is the biggest ass sometimes.

    • Well, at least Snow is interesting, being a Botanist of Villainy. I'm imagining him polishing his trowels while humming, "Danny Boy" or something.

    • erin says:

      Isn't that weird?? Like, Snow is a horrible human being, but this scene almost makes you feel like it's him and Katniss against Coin or something. "The enemy of my enemy" and all that. His total honesty is what makes him so appealing as a villain, I think. Awesome job, Collins. Just awesome.

  4. LadyLately says:

    I felt physically ill reading this chapter.

  5. ohheyitsalliek says:

    Now I think it's quite a sure thing that Katniss will never be alright again.

    • sparkerworks says:

      I don't think she'll ever be alright with Gale again : /

    • karadudz says:

      Or maybe rephrase that to:

      Katniss will never be the same again.


      • ohheyitsalliek says:

        I think both could be considered accurate. I think that I knew that she would never be the same as soon as she was sent to the first Hunger Games (because… how could you be– that shit is so fucked up), but can you imagine the PTSD that she is going to experience ON TOP of the depression and hurt that she's already feeling? I'm not sure she WILL ever be okay. Which makes me so sad that anyone, especially someone who is so young who should have such a long and (presumably) happy life ahead of her, has to experience.

  6. Fusionman says:

    This chapter does this to me.

    HYGIESHNEJURHSOKVNHYBGJNDJ VHB. Keyslams is all my brain is doing.

    For some try at levity let me say that I tried saying nightlock 3 times. I failed when it’s really quick saying Nylock instead. Every other speed is successful.

    • sparkerworks says:

      You have to have really fantastic diction to command a Holo

      • Fusionman says:

        Holo? Sorry I’m a bit failing today.

        Anticipation for the Who series 4 finale is getting me. What’s a Holo?

        Thanks for the diction compliment though.

    • Saber says:

      Holo = the electronic map thing Katniss wanted to steal from Boggs

      • Fusionman says:

        OH YEAH. DOY!!

        So yeah someone said that the blooper reel will mostly be Katniss’s actress messing up the nightlock 3 times. I tested and I saw that it wasn’t really that hard.

  7. CuriousApe says:

    My favourite chapter in this book. Everything is a lie, everything is horrible, nothing has really changed.
    I adore how Katniss' grief is portrayed. This all feels so real, so raw. I don't think I have ever read a YA book before that dealt with trauma in such a convincing way.
    I love this book.

    • I agree, I was impressed by how Collins handled the physiological side of Katniss' trauma. I'm not an expert on trauma but another author I think writes grief very real is Melina Marchetta. Most of her books deal with tragedy, grief and identity in some way and to me (in my admitted limited perspective) they seemed like really true depictions. On The Jellicoe Road in particular is very good (and tragic). I've been thinking of recommending it to Mark but I think after this series we could all do with something a little more uplifting…

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        Can I also say that I love all of this as well?

        • You may indeed 🙂 Quick question: Are you ever going to review something that isn't tragic, dramatic, or rage inducing? And if you did what would become of all your fabulous ALL CAPS and key smashes? I think the site would just look hollow without them.

      • trash_addict says:

        Uplifting….argh…The Book Thief is up next, isn't it?

        If you haven't read it – you may not be prepared.

        • I haven't read it or heard of it. Should I be stocking up on tissues? Actually I'm pretty not affected like that by books. I was devastated for Finnik and plenty of other tragic moments in this series but I don't think any book Mark has reviewed has ever made me cry. Does that make me horrible?

          • trash_addict says:

            I dare not spoil a single thing about this amazeballs book…..but yeah, maybe grab a packet of tissues or a pillow to cuddle.

  8. Annie says:

    The summarizing in this chapter was a bit odd, but you're right, it fits Katniss's mental state. I think why Prim's death is so tragic is that Katniss has been through all this only because she volunteered for her sister, to prevent her death.

    Also, as a reader you always suspect that Coin is as bad as Snow, but when Collins reveals that she killed the children, it becomes reality.

    • Annie says:

      Well, that sounds like Collins killed the children. I meant Coin, of course. *facepalm"

    • ldwy says:

      I agree, the summarizing was a little odd. But as I progressed through the chapter and realized how damaged by her grief and trauma she was, it kind of made sense. Because what's she doing inside her head except reliving all this? So summary kind of works in parallel to help us get inside what Katniss is feeling.

      This chapter was so awful to read, but I admire Collins' skill at constantly surprising me in tragic and horrific ways.

  9. cait0716 says:

    Gale killed Prim. Inadvertently. Accidentally. Still. Anyone was fair game and the means justify the ends. So Gale developed the trap for the rebels and they used it and Prim got caught in the crossfire.

    What was Prim doing there anyway? Training to be a medic, sure. But she was fourteen and surely not fully trained yet. No need for her to be at ground zero. The rebels knew they were going to do this. Maybe Coin sent her there specifically? To get back at Katniss?

    Gale killed Prim.

    This is worse than when Snape killed Dumbledore.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Well, yeah. Dumbledore's death was basically assisted suicide. But I think there's a good comparison in how unclear what brought about their deaths. Until reading DH, how many people could say that they trusted Snape? How many of us trust that Snow is telling the truth now?

      • cait0716 says:

        I don't know if I trust Snow, but what he says just makes so much sense. Especially the part about not have access to a hovercraft.

        Then again, he is a master of manipulation. Maybe he and Coin are in on it together? So many conspiracy theories are filling up my brain right now.

        • andreah1234 says:

          Well, the thing is, I surely do not trust Snow but why would be lie? What does he has to lose? He's going to die anyway, one way or another he's as good as dead. So why not take Coin with him in the process?

          I might be wrong (I'M NOT A SEER, I WON'T BE ABLE TO WORK AT HOGWARTS. EVER 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁 ) but I do see Coin as a manipulative bastard with a heart of steel that might kill children for the fun of it.

          • DTDRC says:

            Well, she didn't really kill the children for FUN. It was a quick way to end the war. It caused her supporters to rally and fight harder. It also horrified Snow's supporters so many of them gave up.

          • cait0716 says:

            I don't like the "what does he have to lose?" argument. Why would he change his stripes just because he's been sentenced to death? Especially stripes that he's worn for 25+ years. Why wouldn't he want to fuck with people just a little bit more? It's the only power he has left.

            I think he might be telling the truth, because it's a truth that will hurt Katniss more.

        • ldwy says:

          Wow I didn't really think of that. What an awful twist would that be?

      • :: raises hand :: I'm one of the hardcore Snape-Trusters.. (trusters is totally a word, I knows it!)

        • monkeybutter says:

          Haha, I believed wholeheartedly that Snape killed Dumbledore on his orders, but there was still that infinitesimal chance that Snape could have turned out to be on Voldemort's side at the end. Plenty of people thought that, or weren't totally convinced of his loyalty. Just a tiny seed of doubt is enough!

    • Lynn says:

      I think it was deliberate on the part of Coin. There could have been two possible motives. One is that Coin knew Katniss would be going to the capitol center to get Snow. By sending in her sister Coin might have hoped to draw Katniss closer to the bombs and thus her death. This would alleviate Katniss as someone who might now support her grab for presidency.

      The second possibility is that Coin wanted to break Katniss emotionally so that she would be virtually worthless to oppose her rise to power. Katniss would not care about anything. This seems to have been what happened after all.

      • Lynn says:

        Now should be not

      • cait0716 says:

        But if the goal was to kill Katniss, why save her? I guess she couldn't have very well ordered her soldiers to assist all survivors except Katniss, though. And the emotional shutdown certainly seems to be working in her favor regardless of her intentions, like you said.

        In any event, she's not someone I'd want in my government. It's basically Snow 2.0 Power-hungry AND vengeful

        • Lynn says:

          Yeah, she is no better than Snow. The flip side of the coin which is obviously what Collins meant with the name.

          I think that if she had wanted Prim to bring in Katniss that it would have had to be top secret. But she got her out of the way during her claim to the power vacuum so I don't think Coin cared if it went in either specific direction. She just wanted Katniss dealt with and out of her way. I could be wrong though.

    • tethysdust says:

      Yeah, that's what I thought when reading this chapter. Once Katniss works that out, I can't see how she'd ever even consider him a friend anymore.

      • cait0716 says:

        Yeah. I don't think Gale knew or could have known that Prim would get caught in his trap. But I wonder what he would have done had he known. Would she have been just as expendable as the people in the Nut? Or is she somehow worth more because of his feelings for Katniss?

        • tethysdust says:

          Gale was also very close with President Coin, so it's possible that he was in on discussions of planning this sort of thing. I don't think he could have possibly known Prim would get caught in it, though. If he had known, I think he would not have considered her expendable. Gale had to know that he would lose Katniss for sure if he sacrificed her little sister.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:




      • cait0716 says:

        Jeez, Mark. I nearly had a heart attack and thought you were going to ban me. I re-read my comment three times to make sure there weren't spoilers before I got the joke.


    • karadudz says:

      Except Snape killed Dumbledore out of loyalty and whatnot (and Dumbly was pretty much dead anyway. Bless his soul…)

      Except for Gale? There have been so many chapters where it shows how Gale is subconsciously violent and evil. He doesn't just have hate on the Capitol and all, he's actually said once that he wants to sort of… eliminate or exterminate them. I mean, wasn't that the whole point of his creation? The bomb that kills double the amount than it looks? And how about District 2 where he hands down didn't even care about the number of innocent people he would kill in the Nut.

      Sorry but, Gale is definitely VERY FAR from what Snape did to Dumbledore.

      Even if he didn't kill Prim himself, it was his creation therefore it was his fault (well somehow along the way it was).

      • cait0716 says:

        I think we agree. That's why I said that Gale was worse than Snape.

        Only, I wouldn't call Gale evil. Machiavellian, sure. But he has good intentions. Maybe it's the same thing, though. Road to hell, blah blah blah. Of course, Dumbledore was pretty Machiavellian. So maybe the better comparison would be Gale as Dumbledore and Prim as Ariana? Hmmm….

      • erin says:

        I'm not sure I buy that Gale designed the bomb, ergo, Prim's death is his fault. If someone buys a gun and goes on a shooting spree, the person who assembled it in a factory isn't to blame. :

        • bendemolena says:

          Totally agree. If someone creates a new gun for the battlefield, are they to blame for all the crimes committed with it?

          • karadudz says:

            No I completely agree with what you're saying and it makes perfect sense. I admit that I may have phrased my point wrongly by making it sound like it was completely Gale's fault.

            But there is always going to be that underlying relation between Gale and the parachute bombs.

        • cait0716 says:

          True. But things are a little bit different with technological advances in war. Oppenheimer and many of the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project never stopped feeling guilty for designing and building the atomic bomb. It wasn't their fault, but they made the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki possible. Then again, if we hadn't done it first, Germany would have. It's a catch-22 and it's awful

      • Hanh says:

        We are all subconsciously violent and evil. I think Collins has shown us that. Just the act of hurrahing for Snow's death is proof. I still believe Gale is a product of what happens when you let anger get the better of you.

  10. Kate says:

    The only thing I could think about this whole chapter was: Prim is dead. Why did Katniss even volunteer for her in the first book? What was the point if she was just going to die anyway? I mean, I know that isn't a reasonable way to look at it, but…PRIM! Ugh, tears forever.

  11. Victoria_Allen says:

    One of the worst thugs about this, for me, is that Katniss volunteered for the Games to keep her sister alive. That started all of this, and Prim died anyway. Katniss went through so much only to have her reason for starting this get taken away. 🙁

  12. monkeybutter says:

    The end of this book is so jumbled in my memory that I had totally forgotten about phoenix Katniss, her muteness, and even the meeting with Snow, which is ridiculous because I did remember Katniss finding out that the Capitol wasn't necessarily behind her sister's death. I guess this is another reason why reading Mockingjay slowly is a good thing?

    This chapter is hard to read — it's Katniss going from one type of misery to another. She's near dead, she's hospitalized, she's hiding, she's confronting her nemesis. But I like it anyway because they really did need to have one more final face-off. I dunno, I think seeing Snow gave her some sort of closure, or maybe hearing him talk angered her enough to break her silence.

    So now Katniss has to sit there wondering whether Gale's idea led to her sister's death, just like you did at the end of Chapter 24. It's terrible.

    On a happy note, at least Pollux and Cressida survived? I forgot that they had, and it cheered me up a little.

  13. ShiiShii says:

    Here we go guys, UNPOPULAR OPINIONS AHOY.
    "WHAT. OPPOSING OPINIONS?!" yelled the milkman.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Now for the record, I will mostly be coming from a writer's viewpoint and story structure more so than "Oh it's a war thing. This is what happens." because I'm a writer and I'm planning to get my own story out, (maybe if Mark doesn't mind doing incompletes, he'd like to read it!). But basically, in the terms of literary fuckery, this is why I am part of the Mockingjay backlash (not the whole "OH IT'S A TRAGEDY YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND" view…though I will admit that Mark has made me change my views on some parts of this book).

    Okay, this chapter starts with Katniss having her meltdown. I understand the whole basis of shit can happen, REALLY bad shit, but there was beautiful climax building in the previous chapter. I loved the hectic pace, and I was waiting for the climax to hit its peak after the parachutes falling. It was GORGEOUS. However….Katniss has this crash and burn deal, and she wakes up with new skin (which I'm totally finding a little MarySue-ish but that is just me) and 'no sister' (which I still say isn't clarified very well for the reader…or maybe I'm just a blind bat, I dunno).
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    BUT LOOK, MORE RETROSPECT AND NO REAL ACTION. This bothers me so much it's ridiculous. This was where I said, "WHAT THE FUCK. THAT IS LAME." Katniss starts telling us, rather than Collins SHOWING us mayhem like the chapter prior. She says that President Snow was being held captive…………….PRESIDENT SNOW CAPTIVE?! SO BASICALLY, ALL OF THE CLIMAX BUILDING went down to her waking with a fresh coat of new skin and a CAPTIVE ANTAGONIST?! UGH! This is not how you write the biggest moment of the book! If you want a climax, and you BUILD to a climax, you should HAVE a climax! AARGH.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    This last part of the chapter irked me too: Snow's Words and Magical TB. Now, I'm starting to understand this more as well, but I could not stop raging when I saw this magical plot tuberculosis that Snow had when he and Katniss are discussing the meanings of life. WHAT. WHAT IS THAT. Looking back now, it's clearly the poison coming back and saying, "Durr hiya!" Welp, then it's Magical Plot Poison and not Plot Tuberculosis. OH HOW NIFTY OF YOU, SNOW, TO BE COUGHING UP BLOOD NOW. HOW. NIFTY.
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    And his hinting a different main antagonist REALLY bothers me, because then you don't have time to build the opposition of the other person! THERE ARE WHAT, 50 pages to go? 30? I don't have the book on me at the moment but C'MON. Do that at the beginning of the final book where a neat twist could build and be awesome, not after faking out what would have been a BRILLIANT climax to have Katniss get roses farted on her and Snow being all snake-like, which I fear is becoming a cliché: "LET'S ALL BE SNAKY GAIZ WOOOO I CALL VIPER."

    But yes, this is what I had to say about this chapter. I would really really like to hear some opinions because I'm open for discussion, rather than attacking other people. 🙂 AND I SAY THIS TO ALL OF YOU IN ORDER TO BE HUMOROUS:

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

    Just…come at me kindly.

    • tethysdust says:

      I think the magical plot poison isn't quite that bad. Ever since the beginning of Catching Fire we've known President Snow has smelled of blood. He's had this health problem for years, apparently.

      Other than that, I actually agree with you. I thought it was really frustrating that we had all this build up to the series climax, and then instead of the climax we got an unconscious time-jump and an explanation.

      • ShiiShii says:

        Yes, you've got a good point there. I think what I was hoping to see was this health problem growing more evident earlier somehow, but I'm not Collins, so I have no idea how it could be worked in.

        • theanagrace says:

          It is possible that his health has declined rapidly since his capture because he is not getting/taking any medications or antidotes he may have. He may have just decided, 'Eff that, I'm going to die before they can publicly execute me.'
          That is one reason/rationalization for why he is suddenly so sick.

    • Lynn says:

      I liked it, but it is ok to disagree. I don't mind people having differing opinions.

      I personally liked the build up and thought Katniss on fire was the action. But then we are taken to a place of distortion in Katniss' head and it felt real. Plus I think the info dump worked better in this chapter because it feels a little displaced. It feels kind of like an aside which I think really goes to where Katniss is in her head. She sort of cares but she also can't really care too much about what is going on because she is too consumed with her grief and overwhelming feelings. So she catalogues it away without really focusing on it.

      • ShiiShii says:

        You have a good point there with the info dump and how Katniss isn't really caring about it. It makes sense since she's too focused on losing Prim that she just dumps the load. I just wish that this wasn't a replacement for the climax that was being led on. Like, if a climax was in, and THEN Katniss ends up in this surreal moment afterward, with the info dump following, I probably wouldn't be bothered with it at all.

        • BradSmith5 says:

          My biggest problem with that exposition was that most of it could have been implied by the setting. Why tell me who won? They are IN the enemy's mansion with rebel guards at the doors!! Why tell me that Snow is held prisoner? We SEE HIM IN SHACKLES near the end of the chapter! I think seeing the president would have been more of a SHOCK that way, but I guess Collins has gotten them all out of her system AT LAST.

    • liliaeth says:

      but really, Collins has been building up Coin as the bad guy sinc the start of the book, she's just been somewhat subtle about it.

      • ShiiShii says:

        This is very true. I think the reason why it got to me was because Coin was more so introduced in THIS book. Like, if she's the bad guy, why does she only exist in this final book, you know? It could also be the fact that I never really had a problem with Coin when I was reading the book on my own time.

        • Darion! says:

          I assume its because Coin is the President of District 13 and 13 was in hiding and didn’t really show up to anyone. There was really no way to introduce until Katniss went to 13 and she didn’t go to 13 until Mockingjay, therefore no Coin until Mockingjay?

          That’s just my thinking. Looking back, I don’t really see a way for Collins to have introduced Coin earlier without entirely changing the storyline of CF. Besides, looking back, its obvious that Coin is just power-hungry and willing to do whatever it takes to get power and to beat down the Capitol. I think to Coin, she herself is the only one who absolutely cannot be sacrificed to the cause.

          These are just my thoughts on it though.

        • t09yavorski says:

          In my personal opinion Coin is not the bad guy. Nor is Snow. The "bad guy" of this book is more like War or dictatorships or child murder, personal (destructive) ambition, etc. Not a person but and ideal/action/way of life.

          • ldwy says:

            I have a similar opinion.

            For me, they're both the "bad guy." Snow is a bad guy. Coin may have better intentions, but she's the bad guy too. Dictatorship, as you say, is the bad guy. Total control and lack of individual choice is a huge bad guy in this book.

            I liked that. I think Collins paints a very realistic picture of the world and just how many bad guys we have to face or may have to face.

        • Val says:

          I didn’t have a huge issue with Coin either. Maybe it’s because I expect a certain amount of mendacity and ruthlessness from politicians and she didn’t seem out of line given the circumstances she was dealing with.

          [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

    • Blabbla says:

      Why do you think it's Mary-Sueish for her to get burn treatment?

      • ShiiShii says:

        Not so much that moment alone, I just found it a little irksome that Katniss continued to get fixed up over and over again over the course of the series. I understand now that it's more of the Capitol making sure people look perfect but it aggravated me a little.

        • theanagrace says:

          Oh, it just occurred to me that they may have used her latest fix-up to remove that 'hideous' scar on her arm from where Johanna cut out her tracker. More surgical polishing without her permission, lol.

        • lolwat says:

          Well, the books would have ended a lot quicker if they didn't keep fixing her up. She got treated for probably very serious burns, would anyone have prefered it if they just left her?

          • iolchos says:

            yeah, the next time she appears on camera for the rebels she's so hideously burned that she has to be wrapped in bandages. That would have gone over like a lead balloon with the propaganda department, in the very least.

    • andreah1234 says:

      Thumbs up because of the gifs. And because (as I said yesterday (YAY I FINALLY COMMENTED ON DOCTOR WHO (ok I'll stop now))the awesome of this blog is that (well Mark is amazing) we can have honest discussions and we can have differents points of view and still be friendly and cool and undertanding about it. I love that, really.)

      It's great you think that, but I will have to disagree. It's fine, we can do that see. Because for me Snow is just a representation of the evil we are presented here, an oppresive and manipulative regimen, which is willing to do anything to mantain it's power. I do the fact she just finds him there a bit anticlimactic, but after everything that went down just one chapter before, I'm perfectly fine with that. One thing that I liked about that "scene" was how Collins, through Snow the main villain, is telling us how easily he can be replaced (by Coin, but it could be anyone really) and how easily the terror could go on and on without end. I digged that.

      Well that were my two cents, feel free to correct me or say you didn't liked what I said or say it better that I did (which I'm sure someone will be able, people here are incredibly accurate). Come at me bro(s).

      • ShiiShii says:

        Ain't no problems with disagreeing! Ohhh I never really saw it like that with Snow just saying, "Ehh Coin will replace be and be exactly the same!" That totally brings up the bar a little bit for me. I think I was one of few who actually liked Coin, which is probably why that reveal bothered me. xD

    • Karen says:

      Honestly, Coin's bitchyness was obvious from the start, now she's showing her true colors, all of this was already there. Her demanor when we first met her was not some heroic kind leader who wants good in the world, it was a calculating person from D13 who wanted revenge and power. Her sending in Peeta, her sending in Prim, she never cared about Katniss, she wanted Peeta remember? She obviously sees people as disposable objects for *her* cause.

      I think the point of having Snow captive is to show that there is no "one big bad guy" that we focus all of our hatred upon. There's no one source of evil. All this time we've thought of the Capitol as this horrible entity of evil evilness, but now it's obvious that this horribleness is not being spawned from some rich people with dyed skin and floofy feathers, it's from *within* everyone.

      What Collins is trying to show us is that this is not a good vs. bad guys fight, this is a realistic fight in which both sides are guilty. Coin, Snow, Gale, even Katniss, everyone really. I see the death of Prim as a really blatant metaphor for the destruction of innocence.

      I understand your confusion, and I was confused too when first reading it, but you have to give Collins some credit, it really is all there. Also, we still have what? one, two chapters left? We know how much Collins can pack in a page, let alone a chapter. I won't knock out the possibility of another climax or a conclusion just yet. 🙂

      • ShiiShii says:

        Oh totally, but I think that's why I liked her. She was like, "Hi, I'm Coin, I don't care about you, I just need to get this shit done." That obviously turned out to be very bad for me and I completely understand where you're coming from with Coin's reveal. Thanks for going in a little deeper for me with the fact that both sides are very guilty, because I obviously didn't catch it through my reading of Mockingjay.

        • Jaye says:

          I actually really loved Coin–her steely determination and judgment (especially about initially wanting to save Peeta instead of Katniss) showed she was an effective leader, if not a particularly warm and fuzzy one. I'm generally a fan of bitches who get shit done, so Coin was naturally one of my favorite characters.

          For me, that really made the reveal about the parachute-bombs even better. The fact that one of my favorite characters deliberately did something so awful, and she wasn't even someone who necessarily ruled through fear. She doesn't kill rivals or threaten them because she revels in violence or psychological manipulation; she does it because she finds it expedient. Snow was always such a fantastical and somewhat cartoonish villain (although still chilling and well-written), that the smaller buildup of Coin's "villainy" struck more close to home and seemed more like a realistic warning about our own leaders.

          Someone made an earlier comparison to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I think it certainly applies here. Truman wasn't necessarily a bad president or villain, even though many historians agree that using the atomic bomb was indeed "wasteful" since there were indications that Japan was preparing for unconditional surrender anyway. It's ordinary people, or likable characters that make these kinds of decisions.

          (hope this wasn't ranty, but this is the first time I've felt compelled to comment after seeing someone else say they like Coin. I have so much pent-up awe/guilt for loving Coin. She's just so damn real for me.)

        • iolchos says:

          I've totally always shipped Plutarch/Coin and it's gotten to the point where it's not even crack to me either. Coin is hilariously apathetic, I love her so much.

    • cait0716 says:

      I'm not sure what I think about the lack of climax. I think Prim's death *is* the climax. But I also think it went by way too fast. I had to go back and re-read to get that she had died. It might have been better to have the line about Prim going up like a human torch at the end of the last chapter. Just another paragraph describing what Katniss saw before she got knocked out, instead of yet another cliffhanger.

      • ShiiShii says:

        I totally agree; I had to reread as well to really get that Prim died. I wouldn't mind reading the final sentence as "And then I wanted Prim catch fire and die." Yes, it would be terrible and horrible, but it would kill a cliffhanger and send us off. I do see Prim's death as the possible climax, but personally, I could never connect with Prim well enough to get that worked up over her death.

        • cait0716 says:

          Yeah. Prim's a little hard to identify with because she's so absent. And I don't think it would have been hard to make her more of a presence in Katniss' life. Collins is fond enough of flashbacks. So maybe a specific memory of Prim as a young girl when Katniss meets Rue? And their interaction when Katniss' father died in the mine accident, instead of just Katniss, seemingly isolated. I think a few more scenes with her pre-Mockingjay would have made her a more satisfactory character. Then her death would have been something that happens to the reader (like Cinna or Finnick) instead of just something that happens to the protagonist. A lot of the sympathy is second-hand which really cheapens the choice to use this as the climax.

          Then again, I love this story and have a tendency to look past horrible writing and fill in any blanks with my own imagination. Discussions on this site are really helping me think critically about fiction. It's interesting because I find myself enjoying fewer things, but really really liking the things I do enjoy. Thanks for all the points you made above (and to all the other commenters who have been criticizing these books as we go)

          • ShiiShii says:

            Yes, I would've loved some more Prim/Katniss scenes in Catching Fire, since Hunger Games wasn't much of an option. I adored this story a lot and I hated that I didn't like the ending like I wanted to. I'm glad to say that I can start to like it (once all my opinions are out during the remainder of these chapters XD)

            Thank you for bothering to give a response! I love these kinds of discussions because I can now broaden my knowledge and take what I learn into my own writing.

      • tearbender says:

        I agree it's not the actual events of the scenes that I have a problem with so much as the pacing and execution. I consider myself to be a pretty careful reader most of the time and I had to go back as well.

    • calimie says:

      Okay then, let's go!

      1) I don't think skin grafts are MarySue-ish. She'll have terrible scars for the rest of her life, the only luck she got there was that the fire spared her face and her eyes. For me, her meltdown felt extremely real and it hit me really hard. Katniss has never been a super-heroine, I don't see her running inside the mansion with her back burned, jumping over burned children (and her sister) just to kill Snow. She's more likely to run away, which is what she's been trying to do all this time.

      2) I prefer captive antagonists better than a duel to the death, but that's a personal thing. Besides, while Katniss weapon is her bow, Snow's are his words. You can set up a talky fight but I think it makes more sense with him captive.

      3) I had never thought about his coughing blood but I wonder if he had the medicines to control it anymore?

      4) As for creating a diferent antagonist in 30 pages, I think Coin has set herself for an antagonist pretty early on. She never liked Katniss, she was ready to murder everyone in the Nut (and we don't know what might have been going on in other districst) and Boggs himself said Katniss was an obstacle to Coin if she decided to support a different candidate. It's just that now Snow adds more reasons for it.

      • tethysdust says:

        4) Wasn't Gale the one who wanted to murder everyone in the Nut? I thought Coin required that they leave the train tunnel open and unobstructed so that people could get out.

        • calimie says:

          Hmm, I don't remember exactly, you are probably right. I do remember Gale being all for it, but I thought Coin wanted too, I'm probably mistaken.

        • andreah1234 says:

          Nope, it was Boggs who did that. Gale wanted to kill everyone and Coin didn't give a shit. She's cool like that. =/

    • monkeybutter says:

      I don't really get how Katniss's skin grafts are Mary Sue-ish. Would you mind explaining? I just saw them as necessary medical treatment, and it's not like she's suddenly beautiful; her skin is mottled and uncomfortable. I also don't get what you mean about "no sister," because I thought it was clear that Prim blew up if Katniss was severely burned despite being on the other side of the barricades.

      As for Snow, I don't think he was ever the thing Katniss and the rebels were fighting against, even if he is the main antagonist. He's the figurehead of the Capitol's abuses, but he didn't create an authoritarian society like Panem all on his own. He abused his power, and he's an almost comically sadistic shithead, but he's not the root of the problem. I'd also say that ever since Katniss arrived in District 13, we've been made to question the way their society is run and the trustworthiness of their uncaring, utilitarian leader. Coin has been an antagonist for Katniss this entire book, so I'd say Collins did take the time to set this up.

      I will agree that the great climax that was set up in the last chapter was undone by unconsciousness and summarizing, though. I understand the backlash against Mockingjay and I look forward to talking about it when Mark finishes!

      • ShiiShii says:

        I'd be happy to explain! It wasn't the burn procedure itself that irked me (lord knows she would definitely need the procedure to live), it was the moment of Katniss getting renewed yet again after a battle. It's happened enough time that it's gotten to me a little. I'm not calling Katniss a Marysue by saying this, I'm just stating that the fact she is always getting renewed one way or another was a little annoying.
        For the moment with Prim, I was just wishing for a legit line that said, "I watched Prim die." I don't think it's good for someone to have to reread a number of times to figure out, "Ohhhhh Prim DIED!" But again, I think I could have been just oblivious to this fact in my read.
        I did see Coin as an antagonist, but I think I just got mad cause I enjoyed seeing Katniss argue against a higher authority that she was forced to work with. I think the reveal of her 'true evils' made me upset. 😛

        • monkeybutter says:

          Katniss was really only put back to normal after The Hunger Games, and it bugged me then, so I'll give you that. She came out of Catching Fire with even worse PTSD, a lingering concussion, and a disfiguring scar that had to be covered with costumes and make-up. Now she's covered in skin grafts and burn scars. Her body is nothing like it was when this whole thing started.

          Yeah, I can see how you would miss Prim's death if you're reading quickly or overwhelmed by the action in the rest of the chapter. If the explosion hadn't been spliced by the chapter break, I think it would have been more obvious, but that's more related to Collins' habit of ending on a dramatic note. It gets in the way sometimes.

          I think having an evil character without snake eyes and a pervasive odor of blood and roses was an incredibly GOOD thing. A world with only one big baddie would be a bit unrealistic for a story centered about the evils of war. Most people who do or allow evil things don't announce themselves with menacing laughs and a horrible presence. They're normal. Anyone could have approved what happened at the end of the book. The entirety of the Capitol was entertained by children killing each other. Plutarch, Gale, and Beetee plotted killing methods without seeing the substantial collateral damage as real people. Coin used Katniss for all she was worth and I think the reveal in this chapter is completely plausible from what we've seen from her so far. I'd have hated this book if Collins' didn't recognize that evil acts come from ordinary people, not just super-villains.

          Thanks for taking the time to respond! It's good to read other people's opinions. I think you're right that structure-wise, this chapter has issues, but the characterization is fine to me. Do you think your disappointment in the way Collins broke up the scenes and summarized might have made you more annoyed with what you were reading?

          • ShiiShii says:

            Honestly that's another good point. Villains don't have to be super to be evil. They don't even need to be evil, they just have to be in the way of a protagonist's goal. And I definitely think that the start of another cliffhanger got me in a rant mood. Cause then Katniss was waking up elsewhere, and Snow was captured, and oh look! Snow's coughing up blood, I think it just became a giant snowball of 'What is this madness?'

    • QuoteMyFoot says:

      I think I'm going to disagree with you about the climax, because I honestly think that what Collins wrote is better than anything that could have happened afterwards. As President Snow says in the chapter, he was basically ready to surrender. I think it would have been a terrible anti-climax to burst into the mansion and have him arrested. He wouldn't have resisted. Why bother?

      This also serves as a good climax in a more symbolic way. Throughout the trilogy, Katniss has been used by others, never given the information she needs to make an informed decision. Snow, ironically, has probably been the only character who has been completely honest with her. (Maybe Finnick too. I miss him.) So I like that Collins is bringing him back again, and I think here, by being given Snow's side/version of the story, it opens up the opportunity for Katniss to make her own decision, finally. That, for me, is the true climax.

      But thanks for taking the time to look at the structure of the story more closely, it's very interesting to read the opinions of others and I like your analysis even if I don't agree with it. 🙂

      • ShiiShii says:

        Thanks for caring about my opinion even though it's not your own! And you make some great points about there being a more symbolic climax. I guess I just love violence and wanted to see something to really top off the craziness of the battle before (is that bad? I think that's not healthy <_<)
        True, Snow says that he was ready to surrender, there really wouldn't be a point in having a big rush if he was just going to kneel and say, "CUFF ME BRO!" It's also interesting to see that Snow is very honest with Katniss, and I think I agree with how this can help give Katniss the chance to finally make a decision for herself.

        • QuoteMyFoot says:

          The image of Snow saying "CUFF ME BRO!" is made of hilarity, ngl.

          I like actiony stuff, too, so I can understand your disappointment, but I think the journey to the Capitol had enough of that in it for my taste! XD I'm also fan of wordy summaries, though, which is why I tended to like HP's "kick ass and then explain all" endings.

    • Lurker Dee says:

      ohnoez unpopular opinion! crush! maim! destroy! *eats you*

      ahem. sorry if that was… weird. it's just what popped into my head. ANYWAYZ…

      I think audience expectation of some final, satisfactory showdown between Katniss and Snow is exactly what Collins was aiming to confront. While Katniss's ultimate decision to STOP being a pawn in pretty clearly made when she decides that she's going to Captiol on her own agenda and her own agenda ALONE, there is something to be said for the fact that there have always been outside forces manipulating her and that her simply barging into the Capitol's mansion and killing Snow would NOT have been the proper climax – because it wouldn't confront the antagonist that Coin has been all along (she's not SUDDENLY a new antagonist – she's been controlling and manipulating Katniss and the whole war since the beginning of the novel). It wouldn't confront the real issue that Collins is dealing with – it's not Snow's dictatorship or the Capitol's oppression. Those are as much consequences of Katniss's true enemy as Coin and District 13's authoritarian regime. If the climax of the novel had been the expected final showdown, it would only have dealt with those consequences – what needs to be dealt with, however, is the urge to control and manipulate that brought this whole thing on. Both Snow AND Coin are the enemy because they both represent the desire of those in control to use those weaker than they are to their advantage. That Coin does it in the name of freeing the oppressed and Snow does it in the name of keeping the oppressed in their place is besides the point. It's Katniss's journey to protect the ones she loves – specifically, Prim, a symbol of childhood and defenselessness. Her journey fails here, and that's the climax. It's unsatisfying in a way, but it's also a confrontation of the thought that Coin's form of manipulation is in any way better than Snow's. If Katniss's journey had succeeded and she'd ended the war on her terms, then it would almost be like saying the ends justify the means – that Coin's form of power play is somehow 'better' than Snow's and so the 'good' side won.

      In terms of structure, Prim's death IS the climax – not something leading up to the climax. And so it fits in that sense that this chapter is summary and explanation. Not just in the sense that it captures Katniss's mental state pretty damn near perfectly, but also in the sense that Katniss's utter inability to control her circumstances has finally been pushed to the extreme. This is what's left.

      I was actually really impressed with the fact that Katniss's skin is burned so badly… I don't see anything Mary Sue-ish about a depiction of very real wounds – her skin may be 'new' but it's not a hopeful or 'beautiful' rebirth. She is physically, mentally, and emotionally scarred for the rest of her life because the ONE thing she thought she could do – assassinate Snow – on her own, free from the oppression and manipulation of the power-hungry, has now been taken away from her. Yeah, she might get to kill him now, but it's under Coin's regime – the same way we wanted Cato to die, but when he did, it was awful and there was no victory in it.

      Structurally, I think Mockingjay is sound – emotionally, there are definitely large parts that are unsatisfying. The audience doesn't get the climax they want – they get the climax that Collins has had planned since the beginning: Prim's death and Katniss's rebirth into a lifetime of knowing she had no free will, no sense of self that she could keep protected during the war.

      Anyway… your comment definitely addressed a lot of things that made me a little uneasy about Mockingjay the first time I read it. But the more I think about it the more I find that Collins's habit of summary isn't laziness or some great weakness in the story. It serves just as much a purpose to her points as the action sequences do. And while I'm always a little uneasy with stories that are really essays-in-disguise, I think this one is incredibly well-done and there is no loss of character development or structural integrity for the sake of moral righteousness.

      • Lurker Dee says:

        and in the sense that there is a sense to everything that is sense, I may say the phrase in the sense that a little too often, in the sense that my sense-filled paragraph filled my senses with senseless irritation. x_x

      • ShiiShii says:

        *IS EATEN* D:

        First off, that was a beautiful explanation. Beautiful. 🙂 I've stated in the other replies that I think why I got angry over Coin being revealed was because I liked her as an angry character (they're one of my favorite kinds) and I liked seeing Katniss go head-to-head with her constantly. Antagonists are not necessarily evil, they just try to stop the protagonist from what they want to do. I mean, Coin could never be revealed as EVIL and still be an antagonist.

        You make a lot sense and bother to go deeper into why Prim's death would be the climax, and I definitely feel like I understand it more. But if her death was that important, I wish Collins could have showed Prim a little more throughout the story. I didn't feel attached to her like I did with say, Finnick (AHH FINNICK!). I think what I need to do is sit down and reread Mockingjay with these thoughts. I think I'll enjoy it a lot more.

        Thanks for taking your time to point out a lot of important details.

        • Funny, I was very attached to Prim but had no attachment whatsoever to Finnick. Never saw why he was so insanely popular, to be honest.

          Apples and oranges.

          • Lurker Dee says:

            I think the whole 'hooker with a heart of gold who defies gendered expectations and is devoted to his one and only love' is something a lot of people swoon over. I know I do. 🙂 I'll take my oranges with tridents…

            (because that made sense?)

          • andreah1234 says:

            Sexy oranges. 😀
            I think the reason why I liked his character so much is because he's one of those characters that make you smile with random things and that even if they have a sucky background they're still awesome. And while I liked Prim, FINNICK! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 I MISS YOU,BB

        • Lurker Dee says:

          why thank you. 🙂

          you know… now that I think about it, there aren't really enough 'good guys' who Katniss doesn't like. I guess Plutarch might count, but he's so in line with Coin and sort of… idk. the antagonism doesn't sparkle between them so meh. the only one I can really think of is Johanna – they come to respect each other but I'm still not sure they'd have very much to talk about after the war. but that's the reason I loved Snape so much – the interactions between him and Harry always made me smile. but yeah… I think Coin crosses the line into evil a bit too easily, and for me that happened long before Snow's little revelation about the bombs. I can see how it would be disappointing to find out Coin was evil if one perceived her in the same/a similar manner that I always perceived Snape.

          yeah. Prim's character is lacking… I mean, I think it's just supposed to be that Katniss idealizes her so much that she doesn't see her flaws but… you'd think there could be at least a little subtext in there to give her personality? Something Katniss would have reason to comment upon but wouldn't necessarily interpret as a flaw or some kind of depth because she's blind to the idea that her sister might be a real person underneath that duck tail? Prim has SO MUCH potential to be this awesome character but we only ever see her with her halo on, so the impact of her death is more about what Katniss has lost than about actually missing her/caring about her.

      • monkeybutter says:

        If the climax of the novel had been the expected final showdown, it would only have dealt with those consequences – what needs to be dealt with, however, is the urge to control and manipulate that brought this whole thing on. Both Snow AND Coin are the enemy because they both represent the desire of those in control to use those weaker than they are to their advantage. That Coin does it in the name of freeing the oppressed and Snow does it in the name of keeping the oppressed in their place is besides the point.

        YES! Really, your entire comment is perfect.

      • Lynn says:

        *clapping* Lurker Dee that was very well said!

    • celestineangel says:

      Collins completely Bella Swanned Katniss.


      Katniss is either unconscious or not present when most of the coolest shit goes down.

      • Treasure Cat says:

        Not nearly to the same extent. I didnt like Katniss being unconscious and us therefore missing out on a 'climax', but Collins gave us way more than Smeyer ever did, could or would. Its a tad unfair to Collins to be that harsh about it, if you see what Im saying.

        • celestineangel says:

          You have a point, it was just so incredibly annoying for it to happen at the climax–if not of the book, then of the war with the Capitol–after Katniss had already spent a good deal of time away from the action in this and the last book. Why would an author build up this incredibly kickass female character, and then have her story become so narrow in relation to all of the things she's supposed to be fighting for and representing?

    • Puel says:

      new skin (which I'm totally finding a little MarySue-ish but that is just me)
      I'm pretty sure those are skin grafts — considering the extent and degree of her burns — and well within the Capitol's technological capabilities. I also don't think they look particularly good.

      If you want a climax, and you BUILD to a climax, you should HAVE a climax! AARGH.
      There are still two chapters left in the book. It's definitely not going to be the climax we were led to expect, but there might well still be a climax. This is actually the objection I get most, and I do see where you're coming from, but I don't think this series has ever been about the showdowns. I'm remembering the first book and Cato, where we were led to expect that kind of battle at the OK Corral and a lot of us were rooting for it, and then Collins introduced the mutts. And I liked that thematic refocusing then — it pointed out that Cato was never Katniss's real enemy, and that as awful as he was, he was as much of a victim of the system as she was. He wasn't the real oppressor. Similarly, I think that Snow isn't the only problem in Mockingjay, and killing him doesn't resolve the problem of how both sides have committed atrocities in this war. But again, I do understand the lack-of-climax complaint, and the thematic refocusing doesn't work for everyone.

      Welp, then it's Magical Plot Poison and not Plot Tuberculosis. OH HOW NIFTY OF YOU, SNOW, TO BE COUGHING UP BLOOD NOW. HOW. NIFTY.
      If I had to guess, I'd say that Coin and company are withholding the antidote from him — I'm pretty sure Finnick talked about how he had to keep taking the antidotes for some of the poisons he used, and without them, his condition's deteriorating.

      • ShiiShii says:

        Thank you for some clarification on the climax part where showdowns in this book aren't exactly around. I had a feeling that she had skin grafts, but after her deaf ear being completely repaired, I got a little skeptic. And you're correct, I remember Finnick going in depth about Snow and his need for antidotes. I feel a little easier now that so many people have kindly shed on some light to me. I was sad because I didn't like this book but I LOVED the series, I didn't want a faulty ending. Now I feel a little happier. 🙂 Thank you!

      • Lynn says:

        Puel, great point about the actual climax vs the expected climax of The Hunger Games. In hindsight it really is pointing to who the real enemy is and this echos here as well. I had not made the connection between the two before so thank you for that!

        I love book discussions, I am such a geek!

        And ShiiShii thanks for starting this topic and then being open minded about listening to what others have to say and not just trying to make your points. I am gaining some even deeper insight into the series by reaching deeper and you helped initiate this conversation. Thanks!

        • ShiiShii says:

          Then let us geeks unite! Cause we care!

          And thank you for expanding on it, Lynn! This was just how I felt, granted some ideas were a little more vague than others, but it's good to know that people are willing to be nice about their opinions if you're nice about yours. Let's face it, we don't wanna go Twihard up in here! XD

      • spoilerpolice says:

        Just saying that is a spoiler….

      • Anonymous says:

        If you don't want to spoil, why are you?

    • hermy0209 says:

      I dont think the "bad guy" was just one person in this series, either Coin or Snow…it was the government itself and the quest for absolute power and doing whatever it takes to get it…throughout all the books, its seems that those in charge are doing everything they can to keep their power over everyone else…Coin and Snow were not the only ones to make the decisions, there had to be others on their side helping them…it was a power struggle between 2 opposing sides and although district 13 was fighting for "freedom", they still acted like their enemy

      i dunno if that makes sense…its just seems that war and power are the real bad guys in these books, not just specific people and thats how collins can have 2 people acting like bad guys…its their quest for power that drives them

      i personally liked the ending, it just seemed more real to me, killing Prim was a climax to me and in this chapter, Katniss is dealing with that loss while inadvertently telling us what happened after the bombings, but there is still one more chapter to go, we will see what happens, but none are prepared! 🙂

      • ShiiShii says:

        Makes plenty sense! I definitely see that with war and power being the true evil. I rather enjoy symbolism such as that, but boy, I was idiotic to see past that for something violent (cause everything else was in this story XD).

        • Patrick says:

          This book and this series is about Katniss. The war, the games and the arena are just the world that she lives in. But from very very beginning we know that her entire life's mission has been to provide for her family and namely her sister. So I think that its a pretty fitting climax of having the parachutes go off and the screen go black, exit stage left. Prim is/was Katnisses life.(yeah, i said katnisses) And while sure, the build up and various events have lead to our heroine's reevaluations of her life and there may be more pressing issues than "provide, care, save Prim" that has been her obvious underlying goal always… Prim's death marks the failure which Katniss has feared since her father's death, and this story being about Katniss, I feel was a pretty accurate climax.

          *Note: I desperately wanted a run and gun showdown, cat and mouse game with Snow and Katniss (and Peeta, and Gale, and Boggs, and Johanna, and Finnick, and many many more.) but I don't feel slighted by how we got to where we are.

  14. L_Swann says:

    At first, I felt like Collins took the easy way out with all the summarizing. But it's almost better, in a way. It seems like every Fantasy/Sci-Fi book nowadays has an ultimate showdown. It's almost less cliche (and more realistic) for her to do it this way. Katniss is broken. After watching Prim die, she's not going to summon the strength to go have an epic battle with Snow. This is literally the best thing Collins could have done.

  15. momigrator says:

    TO be honest, I thought it was the Rebels that did the bombing while I read the chapter, and I was confused when I read your review yesterday. I thought about commenting, but then I stopped myself because, what if I was right? Glad I waited because this chapter revealed that. So, for me, it wasn't a surprise, but it's still messed the Eff up.

  16. prideofportree says:

    I can't even

  17. andreah1234 says:


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

    <img src=""&gt;


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

    And because aparently I have made my job to bring the happy/LOLs/and other silly things to this sea of dispair, I present you this:
    <img src=""&gt;
    (Random macro is random, but I love this guy (and Joseph Gordon Levitt) and thought "WHAT THE HELL, I NEED SOME HAPPINESS IN MY COLD DEAD HEART")

  18. Puel says:

    I am trying to think of some kind of coherent comment on all of this, and I'm coming up with nothing. It's so awfully and carefully wrought, and as much as this chapter physically hurts to read — I spent most of the last third of Mockingjay curled in on myself, too numb and sick to cry — I have a lot of respect for Collins for not shying away from the consequences of any of this. She goes there. Whether or not you like where she goes, she goes there.

    And the summarizing actually works for me here, partially because Katniss does need some of this explained to her (since she was recovering in the burn ward), and partially because well, she's going through more than she ever should have had to and I think she's having a hard time even relating to any of it. I get the sense that she feels like the events of her life are being narrated, like she's not really in control of them anymore, like she doesn't really want to inhabit what's going on around her.

    There are never any winners in war, are there? And I've heard people complain about that kind of direction for these books, but you know what, I can't think of a better reflection of our times than that message.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go curl up in a ball again.

    • Lynn says:

      I agree completely with your post!! And I thought the info dumped worked well here too. Katniss hears it in a sort of displaced way because she is too overwhelmed to really actively take much in. It felt like how Katniss would really have processed it and it made it more realistic than any other way of getting the info.

    • Lurker Dee says:

      "I get the sense that she feels like the events of her life are being narrated, like she's not really in control of them anymore, like she doesn't really want to inhabit what's going on around her. "

      that is beautifully apt, imo.

  19. rje says:

    “However, I must concede it was a masterful move on Coin’s part. The idea that I was bombing our own helpless children instantly snapped whatever frail allegiance my people still felt to me. There was no real resistance after that. Did you know it aired live? You can see Plutarch’s hand there. And in the parachutes. Well, it’s that sort of thinking that you look for in a Head Gamemaker, isn’t it?” Snow dabs the corners of his mouth. “I’m sure he wasn’t gunning for your sister, but these things happen.”

    <img src=""&gt;

    The meeting with Snow is my favorite part of this section of the book – the reveal just made my jaw drop -in reality- and I rarely find myself that surprised. I still don't understand why the children were in a pen, I can't remember exactly – did Snow originally want to use the children as a shield, and then Coin decided to use that to her advantage, or did the rebels pen the children up to destroy them? Peacekeepers were there, but rebels could have infiltrated their ranks…that part was confusing but this reveal was just -amazing-.

    • calimie says:

      No, I think the children were penned by Snow and the peacekeepers. They were there to stop the rebels in their attack, to see if they'd murder them. Then Coin proved she could.

    • ldwy says:

      I saw this and before I even had a chance to read my brain just went BOWIEEEEEEE.

      I agree, the reveal had me reeling, even though I actually considered after the previous chapter that there was some reason the rebels had done the bombing (I couldn't come up with a reason, so…)

  20. Katie says:

    It all hurts so muchhhhhhhhhhhh!!

  21. Stephalopolis says:

    This is why yesterday, reading your anger at the capitol towards bombing the children, I could only shake my head sadly. This is one of my favorite chapters right here. Also- perfect use of the spongebob pic. A+.From Chapter 18-"Each one will need to be swept of pods be­fore we can ad­vance.Mitchell asks about hov­er­plane bomb­ings–we do feel very naked pitched out in the open–but Bog­gs says it's not an is­sue. Most of the Capi­tol's air fleet was de­stroyed in 2 or dur­ing the in­va­sion. If it has any craft left, it's h­old­ing on to them. Prob­ably so Snow and his in­ner cir­cle can make a last-​minute es­cape to some pres­iden­tial bunker some­where if need­ed. Our own hov­er­planes were ground­ed af­ter the Capi­tol's an­ti­air­craft mis­siles­dec­imat­ed the first few waves. " So District 13 does have hovercrafts. And Disctrict 2 was the one that housed all the capitol's planes, and that fell to District 13…

    • karadudz says:

      It's the small details in the chapters that pass us.

      But then again I think most of the people who have read this book read it in such a jiff that they probably missed out on a lot of the small (but majorly) important details.

      That's why Collins is pretty good with the twists and turns of this whole Hunger Games thing. She's so sneaky!

  22. Randomcheeses says:

    WTF? Coin is a manipulative bastard

  23. PatR says:

    "and I really adore that Collins has made it so that none of us feel victorious about it. "

    I this was striking about the book. There was no glory in victory. Just pain, sadness and tremendous loss.

    All that you described Mark about your struggles, I think that's why this book touches so many people. You struggle through your pain, and if you can come out the other side "functioning" – then you're a victor.

  24. mugglemomof2 says:

    All so crazy!
    When I first read the book this chapter drove me insane. I wanted more info as to what was going on! For me, the book being told by katniss's perspective made this chapter hard.
    Since then, I have grown to like this chapter. It makes the chaos and despair Katniss was feeling at the time to much more real and tangible. It was all a cluster for her and as it should be told to us.

    Not sure if that makes sense.
    I've said it before- coin is evil!

  25. stellaaaaakris says:

    Please excuse me while I write this review from the fetal position I've been firmly locked in for the past day.

    Wow, Collins, kudos on making me feel more depressed than any work of fiction ever has. I HOPE YOU'RE PROUD OF YOURSELF. Never have I felt more hopeless, helpless, useless than during the time I spent this chapter in Katniss' head.

    While I never cared about Prim herself, I do care about how her fate affects Katniss. Having a younger brother who has had a lot of health issues, I can empathize with Katniss' fear of losing Prim that has haunted her since the first page of THG. To actually see her sister's horrifying death (oh, god, that description) and then be burned herself, Katniss reacts in a way I can't criticize. I would want to stay in a foamy world as well.

    I am glad that the remaining members of the Star Squad all managed to survive somehow, but even that feels hollow (see the above feelings of being hopeless, helpless, and useless). Snow's revelations do nothing to ease those feelings. I'm just…gjlahhh. No real words. Tired, drained.

    I'm glad this series is almost over, as much as I love it; my heart and head can't take much more.

    • samibear says:

      Same. I just wanted it to be over at this point. Actually I just wanted it to be over a few chapters ago.

  26. Karen says:

    I LOVE this chapter. It's just wonderful. I love the way that the first person present tense of the narrative allows us to really experience Katniss's emotions along with her. I don't think that we'd have the same reading experience of understanding Katniss's PTSD if the series was written in the third person.

    And then that conversation with Snow is masterful. It's like watching a game of chess. There's so much subtle maneuvering and mind games. I love it. It's a brilliant and completely unexpected way of handling the inevitable confrontation between Katniss and Snow.

    And SERIOUSLY GALE. This is why those weapons were a bad idea. When we first read about these bombs, I made the remark that Gale would make a good Head Gamemaker. Apparently Snow thinks the same thing (although he credits Plutarch with the idea bc he doesn't know that it was Gale's).

  27. Arione says:

    (Possibly Unpopular Opinion Time)
    I’m… Actually no, I’m not ready yet.

  28. samibear says:

    I think something inside me kind of broke when I read this. Because I think that Snow is right. I believe that Coin would have dropped those bombs on those kids. I believe that it was Gale's awful, awful bomb that killed Prim. And Katniss is in so much pain that I just can't…you know what, you have to give it to Collins. Very few authors would have the guts to bring it like this.

    But this book breaks my heart. It really does.

  29. toneDef77 says:

    This. Chapter.

    I read the first two paragraphs of this chapter, then I flipped back to the previous chapter and forward again…I did this four times to make sure I didn't accidently skip a chapter or page somewhere and miss where Katniss infiltrates Snow's mansion and we get a payoff for all the lead up of the last half a dozen chapters. But no, we don't get that, we get a lot of confusion and a lot of frustration. So, all the actions of the all-star squad have been for nothing. All the deaths, deaths of major characters that we had grown to love, are in vein. The rebel forces just plowed their way into the Capitol, and left our crew, and our story, lacking.

    I think this chapter is where Collins realized she had all these outstanding plot points to tie up, and little time to do so. It's quite sad, as in the previous books, everything that happened had a purpose, and a specific one at that, even if Katniss and the readers were unaware of it until the end. Here, she set up this intricate foray into the Capitol, "the 76th Annual Hunger Games" as Katniss and Finnick referred to it, and then leaves us hanging with no cause for any of it.

  30. OH NO. Katniss, not to worry, I can make you feel better
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  31. rje says:

    You know I originally hated the infodump we got in this chapter because it felt so rushed and was about -really important things- (in my mind.) But then your commentary and others' here got me to thinking – this IS from Katniss' perspective (and sometimes I forget that – 1st person is still frustrating to me because you don't get to see/hear things that are important, most often they get told, now shown) but being from her perspective, it makes more sense. She's shattered emotionally and having these things revealed in this dead, lifeless way would fit how she's taking in this information. She -doesn't give a shit-…she's shut down, and so things like how the war ended, how Snow was captured, don't matter. They're just words that flow over her.

    I understand that feeling completely…its exactly how I get when I'm going through deep emotional distress. Numb. Nothing has substance. Days are spent in a haze and I just try to hide from the world, I shut down. The part where she describes wandering aimlessly through the mansion, having no interest in anything, going in a room and just hiding away for awhile, actually really hit me. My parents died when I was nineteen and it was like the entire world was clothed in cotton; nothing felt real or important. I remember one time I wandered into the mall (I wasn't there for any reason, I never went anywhere for -a reason- at the time) and I went into the bathroom, locked myself in the farthest stall, sat down on the floor and just -stayed there- until a janitor found me when the mall closed. I'd been there for nearly four hours. I wasn't doing anything dramatic, not crying or wailing or rending garments, I was just curled up and staring at the wall and trying so very very hard to pretend that the world didn't exist and neither did I.

    I will say for all the things I dislike about the book, Collins portrays emotional trauma VERY realistically. It's hard to read, but very good to read as well.

  32. Yusra says:

    The worst part is that you're STILL not prepared.

  33. CuriosityShoppe says:

    In a way, I found this chapter to be even worse than the last, simply because everything is so hopeless and bleak. Poor Katniss.

  34. syntheticjesso says:

    I really think I blocked most of this from my memory. I remember the big details of how the story comes to the end, but not all the endless little details about how horrible it all is.

    But in the past, detachment worked the best. It worked when I was being abused, it worked when I was being bullied, it worked when I was dumped, it worked during times of ridiculously absurd stress, and it still works for me to do. Hiding from the world and, inevitably, my problems.
    I know exactly what you mean. When I was "broken" by a bad relationship ended by a bad breakup (emotional abuse and lie and manipulation, fun times!) I spent a LOT of time escaping reality. I read books in every spare moment, just to escape reality, because reality sucked. Later, I realized that I couldn't even remember a lot of what happened in the books I read in that time, so I went back to read them again and it was like reading them for the first time. All of that time is a blur in my memory… a lot like Katniss' experience here, and eerily enough, a lot like my memory of this part of the book.

    Mur Lafferty mentioned the Hunger Games in her I Should Be Writing podcast, and talked about how good Collins is at showing the aftermath. In most books, the heroes go home after all the bad stuff and life just kind of goes on. Collins writes more realistically, showing how people are changed by their experiences. It's actually why I originally picked these books up, and I have to say, Mur was right. The aftermath is so… believable. It really feels real to me, emotionally.

  35. MsImpertinence says:

    That's it, I'm stomping over to Hogwarts to DEMAND Trelawney's position, because I CALLED IT! "I told you so"s are incredibly unattractive, but I did guess that it would be too easy for the Crapitol to be responsible. In the end, it was her best friend's belief in the inhumanity of their enemies that led to this. He believed no weapon was too terrible to use on the Capitol, and here we are.
    The absolute worst? That Katniss entered the Hunger Games to keep her sister alive, and because of the resistance that ruthlessly exploited her she lost Prim anyway.. talk about gutted.
    If anyone needs me, I'll be drinking with Haymitch on the Astral Plane while snuggling Supreme Lord of Everything Buttercup.

  36. bell_erin_a says:

    All that keeps me going is Coin’s promise. That I can kill Snow. And when that’s done, nothing will be left.
    That’s a really worrying statement. It’s like Katniss’s role as Mockingjay: after that, what was left? Killing Snow is all that’s kept her going for the last few chapters. Assuming she gets to do that, I’m really afraid there’s going to be nothing left for her, especially since so many people are gone. I’m not sure she’ll be able to pick up the shattered pieces of herself to put them back together (hell, I doubt she'll even be able to find the pieces), and that prospect really worries me. There are two chapters and an epilogue left. I am really afraid with all she's been through that she won't ever, ever be able to go back to "normal." FUCK THIS BOOK AND ALL OF THIS TRAGEDY.

    And how I watched my little sister become a human torch.
    Closing my eyes doesn’t help. Fire burns brighter in the darkness.

    Oh my god. I can’t even form words anymore. If she wasn’t already, this is going to ensure that Katniss is going to have nightmares for the rest of her life, however long or short that might be.

    Forget the obvious fact that if I’d had a working hovercraft at my disposal, I’d have been using it to make an escape.
    Am I really about to say something along the lines of “never change, Snow”?!? Nah, can’t be. Must just still be the trauma from the last chapter.

    ”But I wasn’t watching Coin. I was watching you, Mockingjay. And you were watching me. I’m afraid we have both been played for fools… I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other.”
    Snow is a creepy dude, there is no doubt about that. But this conversation with him feels different. Snow convinced me since his argument about how the districts and Capitol just finished destroying each other and yet D13 is doing pretty well (they didn’t need those top floors anyway) is pretty compelling. I don’t like this. Snow is an evil bastard. He’s bad. He’s the enemy. But it really looks like he's right and Coin also is the enemy, too. Where is that going to leave Panem? Where is that going to leave Katniss and Peeta, both of whom are most definitely on Coin’s shit list? GODDAMN IT, EXCUSE ME WHILE I GO READ A HAPPY BOOK.
    I still, for some unexplainable reason, love every horrible thing Collins has done here because it's so brilliant. Hate it, but love it. My poor self can't take this anymore, though.

  37. “However, I must concede it was a masterful move on Coin’s part. The idea that I was bombing our own helpless children instantly snapped whatever frail allegiance my people still felt to me. There was no real resistance after that. Did you know it aired live? You can see Plutarch’s hand there. And in the parachutes. Well, it’s that sort of thinking that you look for in a Head Gamemaker, isn’t it?” Snow dabs the corners of his mouth. “I’m sure he wasn’t gunning for your sister, but these things happen.”
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

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

  38. April says:

    AHHHHHH I have been trying to figure out since yesterday how the capital used Gale's idea, I had totally forgotten what Snow told Katness, I was just as shocked this time as I was when I read it originally. Still in shock, so disgusted. Mean mean Coin, I never did like you.

  39. Hotaru-hime says:

    The rebels did it.
    Prim was what, thirteen? Fourteen? What the fuck was she even doing there?
    It's cruel. It's super cruel and at this point, my rage for Coin bubbles up and boils over and it spreads to all of the leaders of District Thirteen- you bastards willing killed children then killed your own medics.
    FUCK. YOU.

    • Hotaru-hime says:

      There is also a sad irony that Katniss is experiencing a depressive episode/acute stress reaction while her mother works when it was the opposite after her father dies. It's really very sad.

  40. Fuchsia says:

    “However, I must concede it was a masterful move on Coin’s part. The idea that I was bombing our own helpless children instantly snapped whatever frail allegiance my people still felt to me. There was no real resistance after that. Did you know it aired live? You can see Plutarch’s hand there. And in the parachutes. Well, it’s that sort of thinking that you look for in a Head Gamemaker, isn’t it?” Snow dabs the corners of his mouth. “I’m sure he wasn’t gunning for your sister, but these things happen.”

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    100% legit my reaction.

    When my father died, I became Katniss’s mother. I buried my grief in work. I only took a half day off, the day I found out he died. It seemed cliché to return to work the next day, but I did it. And it helped, at least, to distract myself.

    Wwhen my father died, I became like Katniss. I had no concept of time or events, I apparently wandered around for a month not reacting to anything. I didn't go to school, or see friends (unless they stopped by the house), or anything. I completely shut down (and, as it is, I don't remember most of it). So I definitely identify with Katniss here, and I think Collins does a wonderful job describing it.

  41. Kaci says:

    Oh, Mark. Knowing this was coming, it was almost a feeling of…wanting to protect you from it, because it's just so horrible. Everything about it is awful and disgusting (morally, although the physicality is disgusting as well), and just…horrible.

    Someone said above that in a way, they preferred Snow to Coin, because Snow was more honest about being so evil. I completely agree. I would much rather face something that I know what it's capable of than something I don't. I think that's why, after Half-Blood Prince came out, those who believed Snape had in fact turned against Dumbledore were so deeply upset and had such vicious reactions to him as a character. It was never about the fact that he was evil; it was about that he presented himself to be otherwise, and then there was a feeling of betrayal on top of that. It made him feel, in many ways, worse than even Voldemort himself, because once he left school. Voldemort was upfront about his intentions and beliefs.


    • Kaci says:

      I get the same feeling upon learning about the depths to which Coin sunk here. It's somehow worse because she presented herself as a hero, a champion, a noble rebel leader who only sought freedom. And it turns out, she was just as bad as what they were fighting. It's such a slap in the face.

      But at the same time? God damn do I love that this theme is being played out in a YA novel because it says so much about the truth of war–each side is willing to kill to get what they want, period. Each side is willing to do things that make us want to look the other way, that would make us ashamed if we knew they were true. Each side is willing to abuse prisoners or torture for information and to pretend otherwise is a fallacy. War isn't something that can be controlled by rules of what way it is "acceptable" to take an enemy's life. It's vicious and brutal and we're delusional if we try to deny it.

      Between this and Midnight from DW, however, I'm kind of feeling very down on humanity, at the moment, however, so excuse me while I go cry out all the sads.

  42. Brimmingfull says:

    Isn't everything just effed up beyond belief? Just… GOD.

    <img src=""&gt;

    (No, this is not an excusejust to use this gif)

  43. RachelHs says:


  44. theresa1128429 says:

    WTF no! I never did like Coin, but I didn't think shit would get this bad!
    Time to pull out the win and kitty cats…

  45. @Escere says:

    Yup. As soon as Prim died to started sobbing. I'm pretty sure I actually cried during all three books, but I know at least the last and the first. As you said, we are never prepared. Prim, Rue. The people you think are safe.

  46. hermy0209 says:

    the last conversation with Snow COMPLETELY caught me off guard…i was so ready for Snow to finally get what he deserves and then everything will be rainbows and sunshine and Prim would magically come back to life and dance with Katniss and buttercup into the sunset, but no….COIN!!!! she killed my Prim!!!! i hope she gets swallowed into a pit with all the fires (like the pod in the last chapter) and suffers for all time! ugh!! :/:@

    i just want nice things, IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASKS COLLINS!!!! IS IT?!!?!!?!

  47. AngryAsian says:

    oh dear.

    unpopular opinion coming up.

    i am saddened by Prim's death (along with the rebel medics & capitol kids) and i don't condone violence & war, but emotions aside, it was a rather genius & strategic move to end this war and win it.

    i am now going to duck & hide.

    • Penquin47 says:

      It would have been a genius move to end this. The same way bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki put a very quick end to what was left of WW2.

      The BRILLIANCE of the writing here is the revelation that, while brilliant, it was utterly unnecessary – Snow was planning on surrendering that day. It was brilliant, it was ruthless, if it happened in the real world I'm sure whoever gave the order would be on trial for war crimes, it was heartless, but above all that – it was pointless.

    • syntheticjesso says:

      You're right. It WAS brilliant, in that "evil genius" kind of way. It was sneaky, it was manipulative, and it was such a checkmate, even if it was also horrible, evil, terrible, evil, wrong, and did I mention evil?

    • Saber says:

      It was. And I fully believe Snow was just saying that because he wanted to screw with Katniss's head.

  48. ShiiShii says:

    Yeah, with everyone's awesome explanations, I'm starting to enjoy it more and more too!

  49. Treasure Cat says:

    I agree with the OP and I agree with this too, and thank you guys so much for expressing exactly why I dont like this chapter, but more eloquently than I ever could. ELSOS, I especially agree with the first of your points. It bothered me so much that Collins subscribed to the newsletter of Paolini scene changes, where the character spends altogether too much time being knocked out/going to sleep and waking up to the next scene. Its ok once or twice, but using it constantly is cheating at writing and it irks me.

  50. Lynn says:

    I have to be honest that it would have cheapened the story for me not to have it be realistic (see your point 3). It would have felt *hollywood* to me. I appreciated the realism and think that is what Collins was going for. But hey, we are all different people and have different reactions and expectations. And we all have a right to them as well. I am glad everyone here is being respectful and thoughtful in their disagreements!

  51. FlameRaven says:

    All I could think about yesterday reading your review was that's not even the worst of it. Bad enough that Prim was killed, bad enough that those children were used as political tools…. but then you find out that it's all the rebels' fault. And the more I think about it, the more I think Coin put Prim out there on purpose– there was no other good reason for her to be there. ):

    I do kind of love Snow here, though. "Oh Katniss. I thought we agreed not to lie to each other." Probably one of my favorite lines. He takes his loss pretty gracefully for a villainous mastermind. Unlike Coin, who didn't care who she sacrificed as long as she got her way. D:<

    It doesn't give me much hope for the new regime. If Coin went this far, how is she going to run Panem any better than Snow? She doesn't seem like the type to give up that hard-won power in favor of a democracy.

  52. Treasure Cat says:

    Um, sort of unpopular opinion time sort of?
    Did…did no-one else instantly know it was the Rebels who dropped the bomb, not the Capitol? I dont think it even entered my head that the Capitol did it until Katniss' narrative introduced it. Consequently the whole ~reveal~ with Snow didnt shock me at all, it was more 'Thats it? I knew that already.' Im not going to say it was a flaw with Collins writing, I dont think it was, but there was no doubt in my mind who was responsible from the moment it happened. Oh god I hope that doesnt sound really arrogant, thats just how it naturally came across to me D:

    • momigrator says:

      Yeah, in fact, I missed Katniss whole thing, too, I didn't even think otherwise until I read Mark's review yesterday….

    • CuriosityShoppe says:

      I wasn't as certain as you were that it was the rebels, but I did think it was very likely. Coin and the rebels had already been set up as morally ambiguous (at best), and the whole sequence of the silver parachutes coming down and then the bombs going off seemed very… fishy to me. The explanation that the Capitol had done it felt much too easy, imo. Like I said, I wasn't certain, but I was suspicious enough about the whole thing that I think I was literally side-eyeing my book as I read that part.

    • I did, which is why I I'm packing up and going back to Hogwarts.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Don't worry, it doesn't come across as arrogant. I thought it was the rebels, it made the most sense for the rebels to do it, but I'm not completely sure. The Capitol kids didn't get there by themselves, after all; there's enough doubt that you can't apportion the blame to just one party. I think the reveal was more important for Katniss than us, because she wasn't really in a state to question who had killed her sister and the rest of those innocent people. We might have been in various states of suspicion or annoyance about the explosion, but Katniss was despondent and indifferent. The confrontation was necessary to shock her back into reality, not surprise us (for once).

    • syntheticjesso says:

      I didn't, just because there were Rebel medics in there. I wondered how they got Gale's idea, but I never thought that it could have been the rebels. I think I just always want to expect the best, and this being Coin's doing was just too terrible for me to even think of it.

  53. Lynn says:

    Geeks unite! 🙂

    I have been thinking about this and I realized that while I love these books for their power this is not a fun read. I can not say that I enjoyed them per se (again they are just not fun books), though I do love them it that makes sense. Also,it is not satisfying for many of the reasons you or others have stated. This is a valid complaint. I guess for me that the power and awful beauty of them outweighed the lack of satisfaction and horribleness. If the books had been more satisfying than they would have lost some of their power and so that is why I personally am glad she did not go there. But I don't think anyone would dispute that these are not fun. And it is hard to dispute that they are frustrating. I was left very frustrated in places. Part of us burns for a kick ass heroine, righter of wrongs who wins supreme. But alas, it just…….is not life. I guess it all goes to what we feel the point of the books were.

    I am glad at least that you have seemed to be appreciating what they do give us a little more even if you do still feel a little betrayed.

  54. Lynn says:

    The realism made it powerful for me. Now I will say that the book is frustrating and NOT satisfying. It is also not fun. But I think all of that is what lends to its power, so I wouldn't change a thing. This book made me think for a long time about how I felt about all kinds of things. It still does. That is why I though it was great.

  55. BradSmith5 says:

    I leap over the mountain of bodies: their white uniforms riddled with hundreds of arrows. A tall door with skull handles awaits me as I land, and my blood-caked boot knocks it aside.

    "SNOOOOOOOW!" I bellow into the vast room beyond, my cry echoing over marble busts and flowery tapestries. From the far wall, a figure seated upon an icy throne answers.

    "Ah, so you have made it this far, Miss Everdeen!" the president laughs, tipping a glass of wine up to his puffy lips. "I would have thought that 'Foxface XIII' would have been your undoing!"

    "Didn't even slow me down," I mutter, brushing the last of the red fur from my jacket.

    "And now you seek to kill me––the savior of mankind?" Snow asks, his cold eyes on me as I approach.

    "Your words are as empty as your soul!" I argue, "Mankind ill needs a savior such as you!"

    "What is a man?" Snow proposes, shattering his glass against the floor. "A miserable pile of secrets! I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other!"

    I can't listen to him anymore. I lift my bow and sweep five arrows out of my quiver. "Die, monster! You don't belong in this world!" I say. The arrows blur through the air and shatter, vanishing in a puff of rose petals.

    "Did you think I wouldn't have a force field in my own domain?" Snow chuckles, uncrossing his legs and pushing himself out of the chair. Mechanical arms snake up from floor around him: twisting around his limbs and torso. In moments he is covered by scaly armor, leaving only his grinning face visible between the thick coils. A hatch swings open above, and a ten-foot long broadsword falls. He catches the rose-etched hilt in his hand, and the tiled floor at the foot of the throne cracks from the combined weight.

    "For Prim, for Rue, for Cinna, Cato––everyone!" I proclaim, taking the wrapped bundle that hangs at my back. I unravel the bandages to reveal Finnick's trident, leveling its sharp prongs at Snow's smirking face. "This ends now! BANKAI!"

    …………………. Okay, so we don't get the usual showdown. I still deeply enjoyed the confrontation Collins set up. Yes, enjoyed it enough to use adverbs. 😉

  56. potlid007 says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="haters gonna hate Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    Some part of me thinks that Collins is just aiming to shock without attempting to develop a compelling story. These cliffhangers are getting obnoxious, almost as if Collins needs to find a new ~epic and dreadful~ thing that needs to happen at the end of every chapter. I understand that she is attempting to create a realistic depiction of war, but honestly. Does this all make sense in a story arc? This chapter just seemed like a way to get information through that detracted from the overall intensity of the story. It seems too extreme. Collins picks far too many twists to happen in all of the books. I don't think that the rebels have been evil enough to blow up children, that Prim's personality (that all of a sudden comes out in this book for some reason) would be to head into the midst of a battle, and that people would let her. Everything seems too much of a coincidence, and yet too little of a coincidence for it to make sense. Anyway, that's my two cents.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Haters gonna hate Pictures, Images and Photos"/>

    • bendemolena says:

      I AGREE. But then again I'm full of horribly unpopular opinions too, so.. high-five!

      It's one of the major complaints I had about this book. Everything is too perfect, kind of like the end of HP1, but the difference is that while JKR got better, Collins ~coincidences~ got worse. I was willing to accept SO MUCH until this book.

      I mean, let's be real: Coin sends medics to the capital and then orders the bombing to.. kill their own medics? That she placed there? There are a THOUSAND ways she could have killed Prim, or used her against Katniss. And it seems like the Peacekeepers were doing a good enough job of being total asshats on their own that did they need to kill children to try and turn the war? When the Capital had no real way to defend itself (or go on the offensive) after the rebels took 2? No. It just doesn't make sense to me. (There's a review I read by someone on LJ that talks about this a lot more eloquently than I am right now, but I can't find it.) There's more I want to say about this but it has to wait until tomorrow's chapter, unfortunately.

      Even so though, you're right– Collins relies wayyyy too much on the shock/cliffhanger factor, and while yes, it does create suspense, it doesn't mean the writing is actually good, or that overall the story actually works.

    • hallowsnothorcruxes says:

      I agree with both of you

    • erin says:

      I disagree, but thumbs-upped anyways just because I spent 5 minutes in a state of hypnotized hilarity watching that owl walk around… and around… and around…

      Anyways. Personally, I think people get too bent out of shape about the cliff-hangers. When you're reading the book all at once, they aren't all that noticeable. I imagine Collins lol'ing to herself as readers approach the end of a chapter at 3 am, thinking "Just two more pages. This chapter isn't so intense. Just two more, then I'll go to slee- OH HELL." It's only when you go chapter-by-chapter like this that they become OMG WTF WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING THIS IS SUCH A CHEAP TRICK FUCK YOU COLLINS. When read at normal speed, the cliffies are less a punch in the gut and more of a poke with a stick, like Collins is smirking and saying "Hey. Turn the page. Do it. You know you wanna."

      Well, there's my two cents. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch that GIF some more…

    • RainaWeather says:

      Dude, your whole post sucks. sorry

      • potlid007 says:

        A. I'm not a "dude". I'm pretty sure those are horses…yes? maybe?
        B. I believe the owl makes it better. Are you saying you do not enjoy owls? What did owls ever do to you? Did you get attacked by one at an early age? I am terribly sorry if this happened. Now if you'll excuse me, I have another "sucky post" to post.

  57. Lurker Dee says:

    'pretty precisely parallel to Snow's defeat'

    gah. there needs to be an edit option.

  58. Eponizzle says:

    I think the particular brilliance in Collin's storytelling is her ability to totally derail her own plot devices. She works towards a specific end, creating situations to root for and people to hate, and then at the last second – WHAM. She completely switches gears, and all the things you thought were important suddenly aren't. There isn't a clear-cut "evil," here. Coin and Snow are corrupt, and they're fighting for what they believe to be right. Plutarch saved Katniss's life and joined the rebellion, but he doesn't have a problem with collateral damage. And Gale (oh Gale!) has the BEST of intentions, but his plan hurt the people he loves most. In the end, all of these characters are flawed, and the machinery of the plot doesn't matter nearly as much as their relationships to each other and the way they treat their fellow man.

  59. Clare says:

    About 65 years ago, the USA dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki "in order to bring a speedy end to the war" in which hundreds of thousands of people, children, parents, grandparents died even though they were civilians. People today still try to justify this.

    Who is to say that even if the districts knew that Coin ordered the bombing, they wouldn't justify it like this as well?

    • True, though this bombing was more about propaganda than anything. The USA never pretended that the bomb belonged to someone else, whereas the Rebels tried to pin this on the Crapitol.

  60. ldwy says:

    Disappointing is a good word. Katniss has been 100% disappointed in any possibilities her life may have had, any hopes or dreams she may have harbored. They've been totally stripped away. And so we as the reader are disappointed of our expectations and hopes too. It kinds of works.

  61. momigrator says:

    Ahhhhh, if only you could've whipped out a phone picture for that one!

  62. ldwy says:

    I agree, and you put it beautifully.

  63. Inseriousity. says:

    You mentioned in your review yesterday at the end about Gale's idea but I never made the connection so this chapter was a big slap in the face. Ouch. Poor Prim 🙁

  64. karadudz says:

    Firstly I just wanted to point out that Katniss' mom is totally overseen in this whole thing. Sure it's in Katniss' POV and everything would mostly be about her but her mom! I feel so bad for her. She's lost a husband, a daughter, and the only daughter she's got left might as well be gone too because she hasn't been mentally or physically stable since the Hunger Games. I feel bad for the nameless mother. She's the definition of FOREVER ALONE =(

    Collins really all had us fooled! Brilliantly done with such fucked up twists! But then we should have seen it coming because didn't they say in earlier chapters that District 2 had most of the hovercrafts and that they needed to control it and then they did? So that means that the rebels had control of ALL the remaining working hovercrafts in Panem. But then again, everything in Chapter 24 happened so fast that we wouldn't have been able to foresee it.

    At first I thought that killing Prim was not only sudden but very uncalled for. I was bitter towards Collins for having killed someone that we assumed to be safe. But then she does kill Prim. So that means that Katniss' goal from the very beginning of the series resulted in complete and total failure. That goal was to keep Prim safe from anything the government did.

    But in this chapter I realized that Collins really had to do this because it very well shows us how nothing and completely nothing is safe in Panem. No matter who the leader was, whether it's Snow and the Capitol or Coin from D13.

    All in all everything is pretty much very shocking!

    There's a big question now: Who is it that we should trust then? Snow who's in prison and soon be sentenced to death or Coin, the satan-like lady who may have done the worst possible thing just to get her seat at the top of Panem's government?

  65. pennylane27 says:

    The first time I read this (in a one day frenzy, admittedly), I didn't have much time to think and react. I didn't cry with Finnick's death, and I was so shocked with the parachute bombs that I only had time to wonder if it had anything to do with Gale before I continued reading. I hadn't realised how much I didn't like Coin, for me she was just a commander in times of war, I didn't make much of her. But when I read Snow's revelations I was filled with rage. I felt like I had been played, like Katniss. I felt no reason to doubt him, he is really logical and convincing. Coin was supposed to end atrocities, and she just makes everything worse. Why the hell was Prim there?

    And Gale's role in all this makes me want to punch him in the face. Maybe he couldn't have known that they were going to use his trap with children, but it was. And now he's going to have to live with that, just like Katniss. It just makes me so mad.

    What does she have left now? I think I said it before, but killing Snow isn't going to make her better. Nothing is. I have a little sister, and if she died in such a horrifying manner I think I would react just like Katniss. Especially if I had been fighting for her survival for two years.


  66. bendemolena says:

    And here is where a major portion of my dislike for this book comes from. Bombing the mansion makes absolutely no sense. The Capital had no aircraft, they were down to oneshot pods and probably not THAT many peacekeepers. They had no means of actual defense, even though Thirteen forced them into a defensive position. There was no way in hell they could ever mount an offense. The war was won, it was just a matter of getting an Capital surrender and really mopping things up. If they wanted to televise somethig, they should have shown the pods that the Capital was using on innocent people and especially children.

    If Coin wanted to kill Prim, there are a hundred other ways she could have done it. Or not. She could have continued playing literally everyone but just hold the threat there.

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one. I mean, I understand that it’s a plot device for a few things, but it makes literally no sense from any side.

    • A lot of war makes no sense to be honest. I think the bombing was on a timing mechnism or some sort so it would have gone off no matter what and if I'm wrong on that, then probably Coin did it to send a message to the Capital: we're in charge now. Prim was probably just collatoral damage to Coin and her evil brain probably saw it as a plus because it said to Katniss: I'm in control. Ugh, I feel sick just trying to get into this woman's head. Bottom line is I think Coin honestly doesn't care about who she hurts, as long as she got the power she wanted.

      • Mauve_Avenger says:

        Does it really make sense that it would be a way for Coin to show that she's the one in power now, though, given that she seemingly did everything she could to make sure that Snow would be blamed for it?

        I mean, I guess it could send a message to the Snow and Co., but it really seems like there's no point in doing that, seeing that those people are all probably going to be executed soon anyway.

    • lolwat says:

      I don't think that Coin was setting out to kill Prim, I don't think it was part of some ~master plan~ I get the feeling that it was mainly Prims choice to be there and that her death was genuinly an accident. And sure the war was one, but I think the bombings was just a big "FUCK YOU" from Coin, showing the people who had the [i]real[/i] power. JUST A THOUGHT

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      This. It's been something that's coming on steadily for quite a while now, but I tend to think that little of what happens actually makes sense, especially when it comes to the Capitol's actions.

      And even when the rebels have genuinely good ideas (well, ideas that'll help them win, at any rate), they're ideas that, given what they've been shown to know about the Capitol, they should've been able to come up with ages ago. They've known about pods in the Capitol streets seemingly ever since Plutarch joined the undercover rebellion (or since he became the Head Gamemaker, at least), and yet it took them how long to figure out that you can send in unmanned vehicles to trigger them remotely?

      • Guest says:

        I think the bombing was exactly what Snow said it was, a way of breaking the last of his supporters. Remember, the whole series we've been used to propaganda, and many of us wondered why the rebels kept showing what they were doing on tv…it all comes back to manipulation. And remember, Snow and Katniss are having this conversation about Coin….not the rest of Panem or 13. All they know is what they've been shown: a Capitol plane bombing children and medics. I think Snow's words sum it up nicely, that he's been watching the Mockingjay and she's been watching him. "We've both been played for fools." Between Coin's steely ambition and Plutarch's captiol bred mindset of reality tv, I think Coin knew exactly what the endgame of the bombing would be. And speaking of reality tv…is it just me or is Katniss's world everywhere lately? First the hummingbird spy planes, and now

      • bendemolena says:

        Yeah, I know what you mean. The amount of the Kids Are smarter Than Adults trope is kind of off-putting. Like I understand that Collins is trying to portray war and whatnot but some of it is just utterly unrealistic, especially with the war itself on the side of the rebels and the insane lack of planning they’ve demonstrated time and time again for something that’s been planned for about a year at least. I just.. literally don’t believe it, that they would be THAT unprepared and have to rely on teenagers for the good ideas.

  67. castlejune says:

    THIS is the moment I was waiting for you to get to for the entire series! This was the spot where I basically put the book down and did the whole slow clap start up for Collins. …My God. You go girl. You go. THIS is MASTERFUL writing.

    First of all, it blows the whole "Who will Katniss choose"/love triangle thing out of the water. No WAY can Katniss end up with the man whose callous plan led to the death of her sister. I love that Gale, for all that we and Katniss love/respect him, is JUST LIKE the evil dictators we hate. It drives home the point that evil choices and actions come from REAL people who have redemptive characteristic, which means that we must always examine the motivations and actions of others and ourselves to make sure we aren't sliding down a slope into barbarism. As for Peeta, well it really doesn't matter. True, she could still end up with him, but at this point no one even cares because their lives have been so thoroughly raped up the ass. Before Katniss can live romantically with ANYONE, she has to want to LIVE period. Its a brilliant way to point out romance and babies do NOT solely provide a person with the will to live, nor can can they heal all psychological wounds, contrary to current popular works of shit, I mean fiction.

    Back to the whole "evil is relative" angle, I love that at the heart of it all the "good guys" do the more horrible act of bloody violence in the series. This is WAY WORSE than anything we saw the Capital do (in my opinion). And yet…we still want the rebels to win. It's just…a epic stroke of realism, way more complex and confusing for a reader than the typical "Go team go" attitude we usually have when reading a book about a main character trying to take down a dictatorship.

    And Katniss, whose flaw is her complete focused desire to keep those she loves safe, so much so that she doesn't see "the big picture" and she has trouble analyzing the actions of others. Her desire to save her sister has driven ALL of her actions in the series, and now because of her actions in the series, her sister was killed before her eyes. The utter futility of it all…

    THIS is truly a beautiful tragedy, a masterpiece. Move to the back of the bus Shakespeare, thank you for keeping the seat warm for Collins.

  68. Silverilly says:

    God, I'm crying again.

  69. J. says:

    Peeta. Finnick. Prim.
    These are the 3 events I was waiting for you to get to in this book.

    Take some comfort in knowing that you could have never ever been prepared.

  70. embers says:

    I thought this was brilliant, painful and horrible, but brilliant: Coin is just as bad as Snow. There is no difference between them. These people are capable of anything.


  71. lossthief says:

    – So this whole opening bit doesn't work for me. I'd be fine with something like it if it wasn't so forced feeling. I get it, Kat was burned and she's delirious, stop it with the metaphor already, it doesn't work.
    – “The morphling opens the door to the dead and alive alike.” Haha, whut.
    – “That my silence has been brought on by emotional trauma.” WELL NO SHIT. The hell did these people go to medical school, St. Obvious' University?
    – “A closet of furs.” There is nothing at all strange about this. A closet full of fluffy coats is one of the best places to hang out ever, no matter the situation.
    – “And then the Hunger Games will be over….” I c wat u did thar, Collins.
    – “Katniss Everdeen, the girl who was on fire.” I told you this was a stupid slogan. I FUCKING TOLD YOU BUT YOU DIDN'T LISTEN. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.
    – How the hell do you pronounce that doctor's name. I know it's weird to bring up, but this perplexes me.
    – I'm liking the parallel that's being drawn here between what Kat's Mother went through after the death of her husband and what Kat's experiencing now. Hopefully Collins won't see fit to point it out, and thus we won't have a line explaining it to us like we need to learn2literature.
    – “Could it be that I am near the garden where the evil things grow?” Not sure, that place is hard as hell to find, all I know is that it's somewhere near where the wild things are.
    – “'You can’t go in, Soldier Everdeen. President’s orders.'” Please let Kat's first words be “…I can do whatever the fuck I want.”
    – Wait…they let Snow stay in a big garden? Who the hell is running this place?
    – “…his snake eyes…” WE GET IT. HE IS A SNAKE. IT'S BEEN 2 BOOKS OF THIS.
    “…the way he slithered into mine last year, hissing threats…” ……………………………………………….ugh
    – “'Well, you really didn’t think I gave the order, did you?'” I fucking knew it.
    – “'…but these things happen.'” Yeah, people die in strange false-flag double bluffs in wars all the time. I love how President Snoopy Snow Cone Machine is so nonchalant about it. What's next, “Shit happens?”
    – “'Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other.'” …Damn, that's actually pretty impressive. I figured that was just for that scene in Catching Fire. High Five to you Collins.

    Overall, this was a pretty good chapter, even though I think the opening bit could have been handled a LOT better. The point President The Country's Best Yogurt made about escaping rather than using the hovercraft to bomb the kids actually makes sense, we just didn't think of it because he'd been painted as such a cartoonish villain that I figured he was just doing it For The Evulz. I like this twist, since it shows that even the "rebellion" is still possible of corruption and despicable deeds. Here's 10 bucks saying Kat ends up killing Coin.

    Grade: "B"

    • Saber says:

      Not sure, that place is hard as hell to find, all I know is that it's somewhere near where the wild things are.

      Where's the garden of nice things? I WANT THE GARDEN OF NICE THINGS

      • Yes, but if Collins is writing the book, then in the Garden of Nice Things one of the daffodills will EAT YOUR SOUL AND SUCK OUT YOUR INTESTINES THROUGH YOUR NOSE!!

        For Garden of Nicer Things Where People Don't Die Horribly, please see other author.

    • drippingmercury says:

      – “A closet of furs.” There is nothing at all strange about this. A closet full of fluffy coats is one of the best places to hang out ever, no matter the situation.


      • theresa1128429 says:

        That made me so happy. I want a closet of furs!!!!

      • mrsaddante says:

        I got really excited at the point because all I could think was:


    • BradSmith5 says:

      Oh man, I had one of those Snoopy things! Truly, honestly, the best name yet.

      And you think she's gonna kill Coin!? What would that do? Who would lead? Peeta?

      • lossthief says:

        Plutarch maybe? Betee?

        If Collins is setting a pattern here, it'll be some random person we've never heard of before from D13, and in the epilogue it will turn out THEY were evil too and Katniss will kill them.

        • BradSmith5 says:

          HA,ha,ha. I thought for sure that Collins would use the name 'Nero' at some point. I guess that can be the guy!

      • S.L.O.E. Buttercup will keel them all!

        • BradSmith5 says:

          Yes. I believe that the final reviews of this series must be from Buttercup's perspective. HE MUST BE APPEASED.

  72. maliarushall says:

    I know you think Coin is the mastermind behind this all, but it's actually SUZANNE COLLINS!!! SHE is the one to blame for these terrible things!

    REVOLT! Let's force her to write another book where all our favorite characters are alive and happy!

  73. superblah says:

    I very much doubt Gale would sacrifice children to win. You guys are viewing him in black and white, essentially the same way he views the Capitol.

    • superblah says:

      and to add to that, some people calling him evil is just flat out laughable. Is he lacking morals? Yes? Can he be cold and calculating? Yes. Is he cruel? Yes. Is he too much of an extremist? Perhaps.

      But this is war. It's easy to sit there reading a book about war and think you can play patty cake with the enemy and deal quick blows but it doesn't work like that. That's how war is. Especially for Gale, who saw his village full of children, women, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends all blown to hell and back. You don't walk away from that and be like "I'll try to cut as many losses possible for enemies!"

      Gale's actions are wrong, no denying that, but he's not some twisted evil bastard as some here are making him out to be.

      If Gale is evil, then God help us all because our world is protected by the foulest people imaginable.

      • bendemolena says:

        Oh man, I agree so hard. Gale’s not evil. Yes, he had a hand in creating something destructive, but I don’t think it’s quite fair to hold him completely responsible for the decision someone else made to use the bombs. Look at Beetee’s wire. It has insane destructive potential. Is it his fault if someone builds a deadly trap or a bomb with it?

      • EFJ says:

        Thank you. I don't understand why readers are so quick to make a villain out of Gale. People call him cruel and ruthless, and yes, he can be, but he's acted how I would expect an oppressed, angry 19-year-old would act in these circumstances. This is war, and he's a soldier.

        I also don't understand people blaming him directly for Prim's death. He developed the weapon, yes (Beetee helped him, where's the Beetee hate?), but he didn't detonate it, and I agree with you in that I severely doubt he was okay with it being used against children or medics from his own side.

        • bendemolena says:

          YES SO YES.

          On the same point, is anyone blaming Katniss for breaking the force field and effectively getting about 75% of D12 killed? No.

    • Saber says:

      Yes. I read a book once, and they made a very good point about war. Gale is winning the war as fast as possible, to minimize how much hell everyone is put though. The point in the book they made that I'll never forget went something like this:

      "How many people would die if the war dragged on? A million? Two million? You take a million corps and tell them your ethics are worth more then their lives"

      Gale sacrificed [i]everything[/i] for the rebellion. He's not perfect, and I may not agree with everything he says, but I don't think we're in any position to judge him.

      • theresa1128429 says:

        Which book is that? Just curious..

        • Saber says:

          *Is an utter dork*

          star wars: Shatterpoint.

          IDC, still one of my favourite books ever. Lots about war, and humanity, and such. A few battle scenes lag though it strikes a perfect balance of gallows humour you feel bad for laughing at and "NO NO NO!"

  74. StargazerLilies says:

    I read this on the computer, and this was my exact reaction when I realized Prim was really dead (why yes, of course I look like Sofia Vergara).

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

    This was the point where I wanted to give up on the book and somehow unread what I had read. Oh Collins, WHY WHY WHY?!

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

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

    If there was one person I’d have guessed was safe, it would have been Prim. That she was so underdeveloped as a character in the first two books was actually a big part of why this was so awful for me. She was more a symbol than anything. She was everything that was innocent and good and worth fighting for. Even in Mockingjay after she became more of a person, she was still the best reminder of why it might actually all be worth it, how she would have opportunities now that she never would have gotten in District 12. I had no idea how much Prim surviving mattered to me until she died, and then I remember thinking that there was no way this book could end with anything other than pure tragedy. Felt like a stupid thing to think, like I don’t know what I was expecting, a happy ending? But still. After all the shipping and jumping on any small sign that Peeta was getting better, at that point I just didn’t even care anymore.

    Also, what Collins does to your expectations:

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

  75. Pikko says:

    This is that chapter that takes you back to the Reaping in the first book. If you go back and look, the "You can't go!" lines are from then. ; ;

  76. Depths_of_Sea says:

    The beginning of this chapter is so mind-trippy. Which makes sense. Because Katniss, after all the crap she's gone through, is finally completely broken. Collins had this beautiful metaphor running throughout the book about Katniss feeling like she was splintering apart and Prim's death was the final blow that just made her physically, emotionally, and mentally shatter. Very poetic.

    But ugh, it still hurts to read.

  77. eeshannon says:

    This is what Suzanne Collins is doing to all of us.
    <img src=""&gt;

    But honestly, these fucking cliffhangers.
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    I've already finished the series, and did not read along with Mark this time. I actually sped through Mockingjay very quickly, so the cliffhangers really didn't work for me. It was just like "O CHAPTER'S OVER START NEXT ONE". But even when I was reading it, I was just like, ~oooh another cliffhanger so speshul and unexpected~. Collins really does need to get a new formula. Just sayin.

  78. Phoebe says:

    I feel that Collins sort of cheated by telling us everything in a huge paragraph. i really would have liked to see everything live. that aside, it was still pretty intense. also, im probably totally alone on this, but i sort of felt sorry for snow when he coughs up blood. his fault because of the poison and all, but idk. its kind of sad.

  79. Revolution64 says:

    When they make this movie, Snow should me Alan Rickman. AMIRITE?

  80. Cyna says:

    These last few chapters: this is why I love Mockingjay. This is why it worked so well for me. War is not good, war sucks, and in real life, the heroes don't always get what they want. Collins knows this and portrayed it so brilliantly with the losses Katniss has suffered. It's not a happy ending and not gonna lie, I like it that way. I respect Collins so much for what she does here, and in the next chapter.

  81. iolchos says:

    This was a very poignant review, especially as you brought up your own personal grief. I admit I had some struggles with this part of the book because I was reading it so fast, but going over it again it's much harder to read, because of what Katniss goes through, and like you I admire Collins for how she represents that. It makes Katniss a relateable heroine, and even moreso one I really like.

  82. Penquin47 says:

    What motive would Snow have to lie? Nothing could break Katniss more than she's already broken, and it wouldn't make the rest of what he wanted to tell her any less unbelieveable at first.

    On the other hand, he could at least try to work out a deal – "I surrender and tell whatever people I have left to support you, you let me live out my life in here with my roses, lots of lives are spared." There's no guarantee that Coin or Katniss would go for it, but there is hope, which is more than he has at that point if he continues to fight.

  83. Briana Moore says:

    Please tell me you will finish it all and not make us wait over the weekend.

  84. dani says:

    i'm still crying from Chapter 24's review. so, every time i started to stop, prim would be mentioned and i'd just start sobbing again. ;~;

  85. Cathy (catd94) says:
  86. RainaWeather says:

    I was spoiled about Orim's death too. I wanted to kill people! But it came so fast that I didn't even have time to feel disappointed. And I think the events surrounding her death are sadder than the fact that she dies.

    • Yeah, the spoil for Finnik was worse. But even though I knew it was coming it still shocked me, so maybe I'm glad I was spoiled. Imagine how devastated I would have been if I wasn't expecting it at all. (Prior to the spoiling I never thought she'd kill Finnik. He's Finnik!)

  87. lisra says:

    Tell 'em Rob…

    "Like the tiger… in the cage… we begin.. to shake with raaaaaage!"

    This chapter is a masterly work. Mark said it all. And I couldn't handle it either.


  88. demented says:

    I hate tat she killed Cinna 🙁

  89. lebeaumonde says:

    "And how I watched my little sister become a human torch."
    This line is what broke me. I'd basically emotionally distanced myself from all the characters, even Finnick, Peeta, Gale, and Haymitch, been sure any or all of them could (and probably would) die. But I never, ever expected Prim.
    And yet, I still didn't accept it. I was so confused and lost, I didn't want it to be true. But the deadness of this line, that killed me, I felt myself watching one of my siblings experience this, and just absolutely lost it.
    Katniss' life is endless tragedy.

  90. kellylea says:

    I just… I don't know. I haven't touched this book since I initially read it, and now, reading all your reviews… I feel like I've been through the wringer all over again. The end of the previous chapter was yet another moment where I wanted to throw the book across the room.

    To me, Prim's death is the single most heartbreaking aspect of this entire series. The entire series of events was sparked (no pun intended) by Katniss's effort to save Prim. That's all she ever wanted to do, everything she did was to save Prim. Which is why it's so beyond devastating that that is what happens. It's almost like… the whole thing was in vain? I mean, sure, the rebels won, but as the conversation between Snow and Katniss proves: are they really any better off? The rebel leadership is absolutely no better than The Capitol. Same shit, different regime.

    The fact that Katniss is even functioning AT ALL at this point is quite remarkable. I mean… I would have been dead way back in Book 1 if it were me, but this girl has been through more shit in two years that anyone should ever have to, in a lifetime.

    And her sister. Her main reason for everything. Gone.

  91. Gigantopithecus says:

    Sometimes, we forget that that is what war is like: no time to grieve.

  92. lauren says:

    wait, how did Prim get to the capitol?

    • ALynnJ42 says:

      She was one of the medics. As to how exactly she got there, I'm not sure, but probably on the hovercraft that ended up killing her! Ugh… so pissed.

  93. ALynnJ42 says:

    I HATE COIN! I always have! I knew I couldn't trust that bitch! I have a feeling that she just was the head of the rebellion purely because she wanted to be president. Is it bad that I think I like Snow as president better? Sure he's kind of a dick and likes to watch children kill each other on tv but at least he's not the one killing them! Bitch! I hate her!!! I bet you there's still gonna be a Hunger Games only this time it's gonna be only Capitol children in them as a sign that the Capitol shouldn't be such dickheads. BITCH!!!

    Sidenote: When Katniss found Snow in the garden did anyone else picture him as the fetus Voldemort during the King's Cross ghost scene in Deathly Hallows?

  94. RickJM says:

    Let's calm down. We don't what happened (well, by now we do – but we really don't). Coin may be a hardass. Coin may want Katniss dead for political reasons. But giving an order that causes the mass murder of children? We've got no indication that Coin is willing to go to those lengths.

    Let's also not forgot, we know Snow is evil. We know he's a master manipulator. We know he has killed children. And we know he is dying. There's no reason for us to believe Snow when he talks about how they agreed never to lie to each other. Being that Snow knows he don't have long, he could have easily given the order to bomb the kids.

  95. Sommer says:

    I have questions things left unclear. In the games Peeta was always trying to save her and keep her safe. In the end when the bombs go off and Katniss is on fire who saves her who puts out the fire since doctors told her she was lucky. Peeta was at City Circle and he to got burns on his hands and his face.. Did he rush to her and put save her. Prim came to her as a bird. Where they both consumed by fire unable to save the other or did Peeta save her, but not before getting burned. I hope that the movie gives a better idea as to some of these unanswered questions. Otherwise I loved reading these books and can’t decide if I should buy the book in

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