Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Epilogue

In the epilogue of Mockingjay, sadness until THE ABSOLUTE END OF TIME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to finish Mockingjay.

It’s very weird to be at the end of this all. I started The Hunger Games trilogy for a new project and a new experience when I created Mark Reads. I was unsure whether I could continue to keep an audience for a new series (I did! Hello!), or that I’d be able to write in-depth reviews about something I knew nothing about. I think I started off with this series with a much more cynical view than I intended to. When I came into the Harry Potter series, I was afraid of instantly liking it because of that atrocity of a series I came. So I was overly harsh in my first set of reviews. With The Hunger Games, I feared liking something instantly, so I was, again, a lot more negative than I probably wanted to be. In hindsight, though, I’m okay with it. I didn’t trust this series when I started it. Hell, I even feared that I wouldn’t like it. It made the joy all that much more real to me when I realized I really was enjoying myself while reading these books.

I suppose it’s odd to say you experience “joy” while reading The Hunger Games trilogy because there’s actually little joy to be found in these books. They’re deeply serious, painful, kind of traumatizing, and endlessly tragic. Maybe it’s because I gravitate to such dark and depressing themes, but the fact that this series told a story that wasn’t so easy to digest makes me appreciate them that much more.

I actually enjoy the epilogue to Mockingjay quite a bit because it seems natural. I feel that this very brief look into the future fits the tone and themes of the rest of the novel. It’s not often that epilogues actually work, for that matter, so much applause to Collins for that.

Set fifteen years in the future, the epilogue serves the purpose of not only updating us about what sort of life Peeta and Katniss have lived, but to remind us of what we’ve just read.

They play in the Meadow. The dancing girl with the dark hair and blue eyes. The boy with the blond curls and gray eyes, struggling to keep up with her on his chubby toddler legs.

I love that their children have physical features opposite of their parents. Nice touch.

It took five, ten, fifteen years for me to agree. But Peeta wanted them so badly. When I first felt her stirring inside of me, I was consumed with a terror that felt as old as life itself. Only the joy of holding her in my arms could tame it. Carrying him was a little easier, but not much.

Collins has to be praised for what she’s done here: she has not given these characters a fairy-tale ending. She has not erased their experiences to wrap the story up in an easily-digestible package. She has not said that people cannot survive or love or raise a family if they suffer from a mental illness or trauma.

They live, just like any one of us, though the details are different.

The questions are just beginning. The arenas have been completely destroyed, the memorials built, there are no more Hunger Games. But they teach about them at school, and the girl knows we played a role in them. The boy will know in a few years. How can I tell them about that world without frightening them to death?

I have no answer to this and I wouldn’t even pretend that I do. But it is the reality of what Katniss has to deal with. How do you explain these horrors? How can you describe lived experience to people who will never experience it for itself? Katniss even points out that her children take the concept of waking up for granted, a fear she’ll always live with.

My children, who don’t know they play on a graveyard.

Yeah, how do you explain that to them?

Peeta says it will be okay. We have each other. And the book. We can make them understand in a way that will make them braver. But one day I’ll have to explain about my nightmares. Why they came. Why they won’t ever really go away.

I can’t even imagine this, having to explain those sort of horrors to your children.

I’ll tell them how I survive it. I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I’m afraid it could be taken away. That’s when I make a list in my head of every act of goodness I’ve seen someone do. It’s like a game. Repetitive. Even a little tedious after more than twenty years.

But there are much worse games to play.

And so Mockingjay comes to an end. For most of us, we will probably never live in a world or experience things so traumatic that we are haunted by them for the rest of our lives. It’s interesting, though, that people could take so much away from this ending. As someone who was abused and still feels the effects of that every day, it’s very uplifting (strangely so) that this ending feels so real to me, despite that I have no experience with war.

Looking back on the series, I’d definitely say that Mockingjay was my favorite of the three novels. I don’t know if I could necessarily pick a favorite character, as I don’t naturally gravitate towards one over the others. Well, obviously Buttercup is the best, but besides that, I kind of like all of them, faults and all, fairly equally. I’m quite satisfied with the ending as well, and I don’t really have any desire for the loose ends to be tied up. I imagine there are people who are mad that they don’t find out full stories for people like Haymitch, Gale, or Katniss’s mom, but I don’t think it’s that important in the end.

For me, though, this series will have a few things I latch on to. It was my first book series on my new site. It was immensely entertaining, and it surprised me time and time again. But I’ll always love that I got to discuss so many of the intricacies of that this book inspired us to talk about: from war to revolution, from ableism to heroism, and from love triangles to every SHIT JUST GOT REAL moment that Suzanne Collins sent our way.

Sure, there are flaws. All the summary portions still grate me the wrong way. Sometimes the first-person present narrative is irritating. I still think that, even in hindsight, the first book is a tad reminiscent of Battle Royale, despite that it has nothing to do with it. But in the end, I would recommend The Hunger Games trilogy in a heartbeat. But I’d add one qualifier to it before sending someone on their way:

You are not prepared.

We will begin The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on Friday. Expect a couple Infinite Jest reviews before then since I now have the time!

About Mark Oshiro

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

268 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Mockingjay’: Epilogue

  1. wendebular says:

    Yay, you finished! I have been ill for the last couple of days, and spent them catching up on all of your MRHP reviews (up to Chapter 16 of Half-Blood Prince). It has been good times. I almost forgot to check for the final Mockingjay reviews (shock!). I felt kind of whole at the end of this book, like it was all wrapped up well. I admit that the skipping of the trial felt like a bit of a rip-off, but it probably would have happened that way in real life (can't let real opinions of the people at the top get out).

  2. shortstack930 says:

    Loved the last line of this book. So powerful. The series is definitely one of my favorites. The only thing I would've liked to have got somewhere throughout the trilogy was Cinna's backstory (why he chose District 12 to mentor, why he was on the rebels' side) but I'm sure there just wasn't enough room to fit it in. Overall though, one of my all time favorite series.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I'd love to have seen more about the side characters, especially Cinna and Haymitch, but like you and Mark say, they (sadly) weren't important enough to justify the space. There's always fanfiction and personal canon to fill in the blanks!

      • andreah1234 says:

        True. Thing is: IT'S SO HARD TO FIND GOOD HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY FANFICTION. If you have some pass along, because all I've ever found is rubbish. And my headcanon usually consist in EVERYONE IS HAPPY AND LOOK UNICORNS! So yeah, I'll just stick to Suzanne Collins 😀 😀

        • monkeybutter says:

          Aww, sorry, it's been years since I've delved into the scary world of fanfiction. I have to say from what I've seen people post here and compared to what Harry Potter produced, Hunger Games fanstuff is in short supply. Maybe once the movies come out? NEEDS MORE OBSESSIVE FANS.

          • andreah1234 says:

            OH HAI THERE, OBSESSIVE FAN RIGHT HERE. Too bad it's been years since I've written, well anything really. I HATE YOU COLLEGE. Well, I don't really but I do miss writing something other than really long and annoying essays. 🙁 🙁 🙁

        • Blabbla says:

          EVERYTHING written by Mithrigil or Puella_nerdii on Livejournal. They are amazing.

          • Puel says:

            — ha, somehow I missed this comment earlier in the day, but alsjdflasd thank you. :$ (I'm puella_nerdii, if that wasn't apparent from the handle I go by here.) I'm really glad you like Mith's and my stories, particularly since we can't seem to stop writing them.

        • lyricsandhearts says:

          Meet Your Quarter Quell Contestants by aimmyarrowshigh on LJ

          I had this fic recced to me by a friend the other day, and oh my goodness. I just can’t get it out of my head. As my friend put it, “It’s not shippy, it’s just about the 24 tributes in the Quarter Quell. And halfway through I forgot it wasn’t canon.” It’s kind of really heartbreaking, so if you’re looking for rainbow unicorns with sparkly horns then I would probably skip it. But good Lord is it powerful.

          • blondeGinny says:

            I used to write loads of HG fanfic! Are you looking for an alternative Mockingjay? I have one called The Mockingjay (lol, picked the name before Mockingjay’s name was out!). You can find it from my author page on, my username is SunnyRainbow.

            Oh jeez, why did I pick that username back in the day? Now you probably think i’m one of the happy unicorn writers.

            If you read my work and hate it don’t be afraid to put me in my place, but i’m pretty proud of my HG stuff.

    • ldwy says:

      Yeah, that's true. I love Cinna. But it would be interesting to know why he made the choices he did. What made him, a capitol citizen, want to help Katniss and the rebellion?

    • Kripa says:

      I'd have liked Portia's backstory too. I see lots of Cinna fanfics, but nothing at all about Portia except when she's "shipped" with Cinna. I'll write my own!

  3. Ronni says:


    Thank you for taking us on this journey with you. Not gonna lie, your reviews help get me through the work week. I'm glad you enjoyed the trilogy. It's one of my favorites.

  4. cait0716 says:

    I liked this epilogue a lot. I can't help but compare it to Harry Potter, where everyone got their happily ever after. I think it's so much better, so much more fitting to the story and true to the characters. I like that Katniss and Peeta are okay, not full of joyful exuberance, but happy and taking each new challenge as it comes. They don't heal, not fully, because how can you ever get over what they went through?

    I agree with you completely, Mark. This was a very satisfying ending and Mockingjay was definitely my favorite of the trilogy.

    And now I need to catch up on Infinite Jest…

  5. stellaaaaakris says:

    Gah, in two pages, Katpee are in their mid- to late-30s already! It's no longer creepy for me to have a crush on Peeta. Yay! Also, I finally no longer have to worry about spoiling! What a relief.

    But, anyways, most of the last chapter felt like an epilogue to me, making this a post-epilogue or something. No matter, I think this epilogue is beautiful. It gives you just enough information to make inferences about things and sets the mood, but it doesn't go into too many details. As much as I believe JKR is the superior writer, Collins nailed it with this tiny conclusion. We have next to no information, we don't know where Haymitch or Gale or Mrs. Everdeen are, we don't know the names of the baby Katpees, we don't know what Katpee are doing in this life – and it's perfect. No, seriously, I'm blown away by how poetic and haunting it is. All we know for sure is that both Peeta and Katniss still struggle with their memories and what they've had to do so that this world that their children know can exist. But they eventually chose to bring children into the world. And I believe Katniss, no matter how much Peeta wanted kids, would never agree to it unless she truly believed this world could be a better one than the one she had grown up in, that maybe this was the time the republic Plutarch spoke of truly stuck. She's still scared, but she has chosen to hope. Life still sucks and living can be difficult, but there is a hope for happiness in the future.

    As much as I've wanted MOAR backstory at pretty much every turn in this story (seriously, what's Cinna's deal?), here in this epilogue, less is more. I never really had a problem with JKR's epilogue. It's always been just, I don't know, there for me. I guess it felt like she knew so much about what happened to these characters, they had become so real to her, that she wanted to share as much as possible with us, her readers. And she didn't even include everything. I don't have any idea how she could have tweaked it to satisfy me other than leaving it out entirely and just including the information in a giant encyclopedia full of long sections on our favorite characters, like Neville, my other fictional love.

    The way Collins leaves off, I'm left wanting more, but for the first time in this entire series, I feel calm, settled, almost at peace.

    • Lynn says:

      I agree with your review. I thought that fact that Katniss decided to have kids was a very optimistic statement. It left me feeling a little more peaceful about the trauma that we went through reading. Plus, she had dreamed of Peeta's kids playing in the meadow back in Catching Fire and here they are. It was nice symmetry.

    • monkeybutter says:

      The way Collins leaves off, I'm left wanting more, but for the first time in this entire series, I feel calm, settled, almost at peace.

      Same. Well, end of the last chapter, too. They're both really satisfying, and because Collins doesn't give us too much information, we're not begging for more.

    • andreah1234 says:

      I love everything you said. Really. But I'm entirely willing to fight you over Neville.

      • pennylane27 says:

        I think you'll have to fight everyone, myself included, for Mr. Longbottom and his BAMFness.

        • andreah1234 says:

          I wouldn't have it any other way, my friend.

          • stellaaaaakris says:

            Pennylane is right. Everyone is willing to fight for Neville. And he's worth it. But we all have the distinct disadvantage of him being married to Hannah Abbot, who in turn has the distinct advantage of living in the same fictional world as he does. But, not to hate on her or anything, I don't think she can really handle his BAMFness.

            • andreah1234 says:

              Oh, I forgot about Hannah. That might be an inconvenience. And I can't hate her, she's in half of my house (Huffleclaw FTW!). And the fictional world thing might be a bother too. *sad :(*

              • Lynn says:

                Ok everyone, you guys fight it out for Neville and I'll sneak off with Peeta…….oh wait, Katniss might kill me with an arrow to the head. Dang it!

    • Laura says:

      No matter, I think this epilogue is beautiful. It gives you just enough information to make inferences about things and sets the mood, but it doesn't go into too many details. As much as I believe JKR is the superior writer, Collins nailed it with this tiny conclusion.

      YES. JKR is the superior writer. But less is more. DH epilogue always felt like a fanfiction to me, desperate to bring up the names of every new kid or marriage it could. But really? We don't need to know. Fanfic writers can make them up for themselves. Suzanne Collins, you surpise all of us sometimes.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        You know what else I like about this epilogue? At least for me, the past 3 books, we've all been intruding into Katniss' head, going along for the ride and feeling what she feels. But for these last 2 pages, it's a bit of a switch in narrative styles and adult Katniss is acknowledging that we've all been here with her for some of the most difficult times in her life and she's talking directly to us. That's part of the reason I adore the last line, it feels directed to us. Anybody else feel this way?

    • Kripa says:

      Older still. It took her fifteen years to *agree*, so she was 32 by the time she DECIDED SHE WAS OK WITH HAVING KIDS. She would be 33 when the girl was born, and the girl's now maybe 8 or so, so KatPee are 41ish!

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        Oops! Somehow I got the impression that the girl was 5 and the boy was 2 or 3, but that makes no sense, especially if they're starting to learn about the Hunger Games in school and asking questions. Thanks for the correction!

  6. CINNAmon says:

    I'm sad at how detached Katniss is. She even calls her kids "the boy" and "the girl". I guess she never recovers, huh? :'( Nonetheless, I still love the ending. It's beautiful and realistic. Rereading this series would feel a bit strange and depressing though, as we already know what happens in the end to all the characters.

    Thanks for doing this series, Mark! It was a great experience reading along with you. I loved seeing you grow from being slightly prepared in The Hunger Games to utterly unprepared in Mockingjay 😀
    I also really appreciate that you understand Katniss. From the Mockingjay reviews that I read, so many people turn to hate on Katniss and basically call her a bitch.

    Oh and, this song is for you, Suzanne Collins:
    Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri

    And who do you think you are?
    Runnin' round leaving scars
    Collecting your jar of hearts
    And tearing love apart
    You're gonna catch a cold
    From the ice inside your soul
    So don't come back for me
    Who do you think you are?

    • FlameRaven says:

      I would suspect, having experienced so very much loss in her past, Katniss probably feels she cannot allow herself to be deeply attached to her children. Even in a world without Hunger Games, small children are all too fragile and easy to lose. She is so broken already, I think she has to brace herself for the possibility of their deaths even when everything appears safe.

      And, you know, this is Katniss' story about Katniss' state of mind. Maybe we really don't need to know the children's identities.

    • Or maybe she's only calling them that in her description of events to others? It could be more of a way to protect them, rather than her being detached.

      • Lynn says:

        I saw it more this way too. That she is highly protective of them not that she was not attached to them.

    • samibear says:

      To be honest, Katniss has always been detached from the very beginning, so I'm not surprised that this has stayed with her after all she's been through.

    • My mom called me the other day and said she heard a song on the radio they should use in the Hunger Games movie – this was it! Now every time I hear it, I think about THG

  7. ThreeBooks says:

    Is there a Strongbad GIF?

    "IT'S OVER!!!!!"

  8. Briana Moore says:

    That last line hits me like a pile of bricks everytime. The mix of emotions I felt… I can't even describe that feeling, or how much I love this series… and now you 😉

    Mark, I have loved re-experiencing this series with you. I look forward to sitting with my breakfast or lunch and enjoying this time with you. Yes, enjoying, even when I wanted to cry or yell. The way you write/review is so enjoyable. I am excited to continue being a part of this community you have created.

    • Blessthechildren says:

      I, too, love the last line of the book: But there are much worse games to play. It is so perfect and powerful , and I love how she brings up the Games one last time. All was not well, but that’s okay, because they do the best they can.

  9. FlameRaven says:

    Just wanted to say that I've really loved revisiting the series through this blog. Being able to discuss all the points with a community and also being able to see the book's events at a much slower pace really made the whole experience better the second time. The Hunger Games really deserves its place as one of the best YA series in recent years.

    I have not read the Book Thief; I will try to pick up a copy in time so I can read along. 🙂

    • April says:

      I scrambled to find a copy of the Book Thief, and this time I will actually read along with Mark> I kind of rushed through the hunger games because I couldn't put them down.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, reading again with Mark and you guys has made Mockingjay my favorite of the series. And I hope you enjoy The Book Thief!

      • aurorabora says:

        Same here–I was unsure how I felt about it when I first finished, but liked it a little more after thinking about it a bit. After re-reading with Mark, I really love it.

        And yay for The Book Thief! It is truly one of the most gorgeous books I've ever read.

        • Lynn says:

          I am kind of scared to read The Book Thief though. Everyone says it is just full of sad and I think I might need a sort of break from the sad. Maybe I'll read it later after some ridiculously happy book and come back and read the reviews at that time.

  10. April says:

    Can we say that the babies are Peeniss and Katpee, just for fun.

    Thank you for reading these books Mark, if not for you I probably never would have read them at all but now I love them, even if they were the most stressful things ever, and I was never ever prepared.

  11. Lynn says:

    I enjoyed taking this ride with you Mark. You reviews were always interesting as well as the comments. Wether we all agree or not, I love book discussions and like diving deeper and thinking about things from all sides. Thank you and the posters for that.

    I definitely recommend these books to people, but now I will add your qualifier as well. I also recommend reading the series a second time through once you know how everything ends. Sure it is painful, but it is amazing what all is missed the first time through. There are layers that are impossible to pick up on unless you know where it all goes. Plus, some things take on new meanings, like Buttercup and Katniss at the beginning of the story.

  12. DTDRC says:

    I actually did not really like the epilogue much.
    I didn't like that she referred to her children as "the boy" and "the girl". I think Collins purposely did this so she wouldn't have to name them. In the case of Katniss's mother it makes sense, as most people call their mother, "mother", "mom", etc. But who calls their children boy and girl? Unless it was supposed to show Katniss still a little bit reluctant and detached from the kids?

    Also, since Mark's finally done, I can finally post my map without spoiling him. I did it on paper and then scanned it, so the quality's not perfect.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I love this map. I live close to the shore, Delaware isn't around to screw up traffic anymore, 12 is exactly where I picture it, and 13 is smack on Raven Rock. Good job!

    • Just a note, I might put that map on another page, because as soon as I clicked on it my computer went nuts with my Security System alerting to spyware, trojan viruses, and other malware. :/

    • Ellen says:


    • Pk9 says:

      "But who calls their children boy and girl?"

      Bwhaha. I have a friend whose last name is Lee and he jokes about naming his kids "Man" and "Girl" so they'd be "Man Lee" and "Girl Lee". =P

    • knut_knut says:

      My sister and I were always "this one" and "that one" =/ I actually like that Katniss refers to her children as "the boy" and "the girl" in the epilogue. It works in the context of the epilogue itself and the mood Collins is trying to create, but I do agree, it is pretty weird.

    • Kate says:

      I think it's better than having them named "Primrose Rue Mags" and "Finnick Cinna Boggs" like JKR would have done (that's Primruags and Fincinoggs to SMeyer)

      The epilogue is neat because it's written from a contemplative state of mind, which isn't one Katniss has had the luxury of indulging in during the immediate horror/tragedy/panic of the rest of the series. I felt detached from it, like I was easing out of her head, but not like SHE was detached.

      Also, I call my husband "Boy" and he calls me "Girl". So maybe that's why I don't find it weird.

    • Hanh says:

      Actually yeah people do call their kids that. I have two nieces and a nephew. The oldest girl gets called by her regular name but my nephew is The Boy and the youngest girl is The Baby.

  13. evocativecomma says:


    I am excite for your IJ reviews. Please remind me that I owe you an essay.

    And then, of course, we have to discuss LIFE ON MARS again, now that you've had a little time away.

    An appropriate gif for the END of The Hunger Games, and because GENE HUNT IS FOREVER:

    <img width=600 src=""&gt;

  14. monkeybutter says:

    (Oh, hi Mark.)

    Yay, I'm really glad you enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy. I agree that the writing has its flaws, but I just like the story so much that I can get over it. Not even a chapter into The Hunger Games I wanted so badly to see it on film, and Collins has to be applauded for that. Sure there are similarities to Battle Royale and a million other YA series where kids are thrown into battle, but Collins built a hellish world that reflected our mores, and said things about war and peace that other series haven't. I mean, Americans under the age of 18 have grown up in a country that's been at war for at least half their lives — a serious (and yeah, occasionally melodramatic) examination of war and human rights is SO appropriate for that audience.

    I know Katniss frustrates a lot of people, and she wasn't perfect, but it's always nice to see a female character who is competent and wants to take charge of her life. That the love triangle took a backseat to Katniss trying to find her voice and freedom was immensely satisfying. She was arguably more torn by Peeta and Gale's worldviews than she was by the boys themselves.

    Even though the end was a bit rushed, I enjoyed seeing her morph from a powerless young woman, to being influential, although in other people's plots, to finally breaking free and settling the future of Panem herself. And while I think that the last chapter would have been a good epilogue, this is a good ending, too (let's call the kids Prim and Albus Severus, okay?). Even though she's still haunted by the past, she gets a better world where she and her loved ones feel secure. She made the world a better place and she's as free as she could hoe to be after all she's been through.

    And this seems like a good place to say Happy International Women's Day!

    • andreah1234 says:

      And this seems like a good place to say Happy International Women's Day!


    • rubaru says:

      "let's call the kids Prim and Albus Severus, okay?"
      bahahaha I love it.

    • monkeybutter says:

      I just realized I wrote "hoe" instead of "hope." WTF. My goal is to learn how to type before you start The Book Thief.

  15. andreah1234 says:


    It was…good. It had an air of continuity that make me feel, that well it never really ends, does it? I do love Baby Peeta and Baby Katniss (I suck at naming babies, I really fear for maybe-future my children's names, poor kids), but for some reason it made me feel fearful for them, because to me it seems Katniss nor Peeta were fully there, and that they might not give them the stability children need (and that ironically I never really got. Okay I'm done proyecting my childhood on fictional kids.). Other than that, this was a very solid series with great characters and a great (but horrible) plot, yes it had flaws but it was an amazing ride, ALSO: Thank you, sir, for making the ride with us, it was fun :D. I do have one complain though: I WANT MOAR BACKGROUND, I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH OF THIS CHARACTERS SUZANNE COLLINS. Sad it ended, but still goodbye Hunger Games PARTY TIME.

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    See you in The Book Theif!
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

  16. MeasuringInLove says:

    So sad that it is over!! I'm gonna miss Katpee and Buttercup and Finnick being a hooker with a heart of gold and FU COIN and never being prepared. Guess we'll have to wait for the movies then!

    It is rather strange how calm I feel after this. For a series so full of action and angst, horror and even the occasional happy moment, this ending gives me a sense of closure. I also feel tired, as if I've gone through a ghost of what they have. This is such an emotional series, that I also thought I wouldn't enjoy, but I was proved completely and utterly wrong.

    I applaud you, Suzanne Collins.

  17. theupsides says:

    This has been such a fun and wild ride! I've really enjoyed re-reading the series with you.

    I love how Collins handles the end of this series. Nothing is neatly wrapped up. Her characters are still suffering, but they learn how to deal, how to try to start a new life after all the loss. I think it's a great message. Even though there was so much sadness towards the end of Mockingjay, I'm left with some hope. The arenas have been destroyed, Katniss and Peeta have started a family, and perhaps their children will know a better world. It doesn't make the pain of the losses disappear, of course, but it makes me feel better, knowing that they weren't in vain, and that a lot of good has come from all the bad that has happened.

    • shortstack930 says:

      Yes, I loved that we got to see that they had children because in Catching Fire Katniss said she would love there to be a world where Peeta's child could be safe, and that is exactly what she made happen.

  18. CuriousApe says:

    I fully agree with everything. Loved the "real" feel of the epilogue, and Mockingjay is easily my favourite of the trilogy. I love how Collins managed to give the characters a sort of happy ending, but without having to resort to removing all the trauma. Sure, they will never be completely happy, blissfully unaware of the horrors of war — but for what they've gone through, this ending is as close to happy as it gets.

  19. Hotaru-hime says:

    I really loved this epilogue. It was such a soft, gentle way to end it. Things are better, overall, but the characters are scarred and that won't ever really go away.
    But really, it was like letting go of a deep breath. Very satisfying.
    The children playing on a graveyard thing was a creepy line though.

    • ldwy says:

      I grew up playing in graveyards, so while I understand the creep-factor literature-wise, and while it's creepy that apparently it's an unmarked graveyard (what's up 12, shouldn't there be a memorial or some kind of marker?), kids in graveyards don't creep me out in general.

      Living in the city, there wasn't a huge availability of parks, and our yard was small. So on weekends, when my Dad was off work, my family would go for walks in graveyards. They're green, they're quiet. They're lovely. There was this really big cemetery along a river that was very beautiful and had roads, so we weren't like, climbing over the graves. We'd either walk or bikeride. And my parents taught us respect for the dead, but not fear. So for me graveyards aren't creepy, they're remembering places, and they're family places.

      • Hotaru-hime says:

        I think it's mostly the tone I imagine Katniss was speaking in- a deadened tone, which would make it creepy.

        • ldwy says:

          Oh, I get what you're saying, and I definitely agree. And coming from her experience (rather than mine, which obviously doesn't have anything to do with this book), it must hold only horrible memories. So from her perspective, I definitely agree with you.

  20. calimie says:

    This one is my favourite one too because it feels real and it affects me. I can't stop recommending it too, I love the series.

    I read the Book Thief a couple of years ago and I won't be able to read along but I'll read your reviews. I liked it but it's one of those books that I wish not to read again, haha.

    I hope you enjoy it!

  21. Puel says:

    I love the epilogue because at the end of a series like this, I can think of no better question to ask than "what the hell are we going to tell our children?"

    We can't ignore the horrors of the past — nor should we. But that doesn't mean we can't build towards a better future, as difficult as it is to do that sometimes.

    I read this series in the beginning of November. I was in the middle of a really bad depressive episode, one of the worst I've ever had, and I wasn't sure I could care about anything anymore. The brutality and bleakness of these books definitely spoke to my emotional state at the time, but strangely, that didn't end up being triggering. Reading the series ended up being an empowering experience for me, because it spoke so much to my own experiences with trauma and recovery. There is no magical cure, no giant cathartic session where one character cries on another character's shoulder and poof, everything's better and they can ~triumph over evil~ without being affected by what went on during the war. (This kind of thing happens distressingly often in fiction, I've found.) The Hunger Games, in contrast, says that there's no getting fixed, but there is getting better. You can do little things to remind yourself that life's worth living and honor the people you love (and the people you've loved and lost); you don't need to lead an army to assert your personhood and fight oppression. It's anything but easy, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.

    And for me, that was real.

  22. thewhiteknight says:

    Congrats! You managed to stay in one piece after reading one of the most heart wrenching stories ever known *applaud* You truly deserve a pat on the back

    Well, I could only wish you good luck in you future reviews *thumbs up*

  23. mugglemomof2 says:

    You are not prepared.
    We told you. And with our wisdom, you may now pass that knowledge along to others.

    I am so thrilled you enjoyed this series. I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I enjoyed this series myself. My? Like YA books???

    I have to say I appreciated this epilogue so much more the HP's version. It doesn't feel so contrived. It fits and I like that Katpiss still have issues. It makes so much more sense than making them perfect.

    <3 <3 <3 Hunger games Trilogy <3 <3 <3

    Can't wait fo ryou to start The Book Thief. This is another book I read on recommendation and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

  24. Kaci says:

    I love this epilogue so, so much. I have friends who started a discussion with me the other day about why it bothered them. They seem to feel that it falls too much into the "children as a code for happy ending" trope, but I don't see that at all. They argue that because Katniss was always so against having children, it's a betrayal to her character to have them now. I couldn't disagree more. As I recall, her main reasoning for not wanting children was always the fear of them growing up in the Panem she knew–that she couldn't knowingly get pregnant because she'd be risking her children to the Hunger Games. I argue that who's to say how she'd feel with the threat of the Hunger Games removed?


    • Kaci says:

      And I'd hardly call the children a code for a happy ending, since she refers to them solely as "the boy" and "the girl" and seems distant and mentions how terrified she was, carrying the first one to term, and even the second. In fact, I'd hardly call this ending "happy" in the traditional sense that they were arguing it represented. It's hopeful, in a way, and shows that life goes on, but they're not exactly holding hands with their children and strolling off into the sunset here. They're making the cards they were dealt work for them, and dealing with it in their own ways, and trying to find some semblance of happiness in what they have left after the war.

      As a fellow survivor of abuse, and a resident of what would be District 12, these books get to me in ways I can't even describe. I feel connected to Katniss because even though her suffering was caused by something different than mine was, the way she reacts to it is similar to me. So to see her here, in the end, living her life as best she can and finding the occasional bit of happiness in it, it means a lot to me.


      • Kaci says:

        It's not often I read a YA series and feel as though I've learned something–especially now that I'm 24 and working a 9-5 job. I thought I'd gotten past the age where YA novels would teach me things. But this series taught me about myself, and about the world I live in, and what the people around me are capable of, both good and bad. It taught me about the reality of war and about taking things for granted. So I'm with you, Mark. I'd recommend the series to a friend–and did! My boss is reading THG right now!–but I'd make sure they knew they could never be prepared for how this series will change them forever. <3

        • Lynn says:

          I agree with you about the epilogue. Katniss did not want kids when the world was so horrible. The fact that she had kids was a statement of optimism. She finally believed that the world had changed. Not only that, she had envisioned Peeta's kids in a changed world playing in a meadow where they could be safe. That was in Catching Fire and she never planned to survive those game to conceivable have kids if the world was changed. But by watching their kids play in the meadow it brings things full circle and is the most optimistic statement that could be made.

      • Briana Moore says:

        Totally. The kids show us that their world truly has changed. It was the best way to show that, and also very true to her and Peeta's relationship.

  25. ldwy says:

    I am usually not a fan of epilogues. I don't need to know the details of how characters lives play out years in the future. But here it definitely worked. Mostly because it wasn't a happy ending. They're moving on with their lives and moving forward, and even having some experiences they never thought they would. But it's forever in this awful context that inevitably frames their lives. I know that I have had a really good, lucky life. A good, close, supporting family, a comfortable, welcoming house, good schools. The past year has probably been the worst so far for me. But I know that I'm still pretty well off, and I'm doing okay. So for me to step into Katniss' shoes, how she will never ever escape these experiences, it's a testament to the writer that I can, because I haven't come close to being in any situation like that. So I really admire how Suzanne Collins has been able to draw us in and make us feel. And I ponder the same questions Katniss does–how can she ever explain this to someone who wasn't there, especially children, that she loves and wants to protect? And there aren't answers, and we're not given any. It was a good ending to the series.

    Like you, Mark, the series definitely grew on me as I read (and your insightful reviews definitely helped me absorb these books in a more complete, thoughtful way than I might otherwise have done). The first book was wholly exciting, but the big questions that we just get to go into ever deeper and deeper as we progress through Catchign Fire and Mockingjay are what I really loved about this series.

    It was a fantastic first for the new site!! It was so fun reading along with you! And I haven't read The Book Thief either, so I'll be reading along again 🙂 I look forward to more Infinite Jest reviews too. Alas, I had to surrender my copy back to the library, but I've got another coming on hold soon, so that's all good. 🙂

  26. tethysdust says:

    I enjoyed reading this series along with 'Mark Reads'. I personally think that Mockingjay was the strongest of the three, despite the occasional explosion of summarizing or over-explaining and the gratuitous use of sedatives.

    I think the epilogue tied up the series beautifully, and gave us the assurance that life did continue for Katniss and the others. They will never be completely better, but they can make it one step at a time. I would love a "Where They Are Now & What Happened to Them" segment describing all the other characters, but I agree that it's not really unnecessary.

  27. hogwarts13 says:

    Now that you are dome reading all three books, you may go here:

    On the imdb boards of The Hunger Games movie, a group of us talked about your reviews and how unprepared you are! It was fun!

    But I’m very happy to hear you loved the trilogy! Especially that Mockingjay is your favourite. So many people hate that book and it’s upsetting!

  28. I like the epilogue. It's much better than "Here are a bunch of kids named after dead people. All was well."

  29. Blabbla says:

    I think that last part is my favorite part of the entire book.

  30. Sophie says:

    I normally think epilogues are a bit pointless, but I loved this one. I love that it's not just like, "Oh, we lived happily ever after yaaaaay." Instead, it's more like, "Yeah, everything still sucks for us, but we're trying to make it better." It's a lot more realistic that way.

    That very last line, "But there are much worse games to play", gives me chills every time.

    And so ends my second favorite book series (the first being Harry Potter, of course).

  31. pennylane27 says:

    When I first read the series, Catching Fire was my favourite book. When I reread them, and through your reviews, I found that it's Mockingjay I like the best. I can't really say why, it has to do with the seriousness and tragedy and the insights into what a war is like, and the way it makes you think. I love the poetry of the epilogue, that feeling you get that while everything is not ok for Katniss or Peeta, and probably never will be, somehow the next generation will be fine.

    Oh, and in my head cannon, Haymitch lived happily and drunkenly with his geese, and Buttercup fathered a ton of Buttercup kittens for Baby Peeniss and Baby Katpee to play with.

  32. momigrator says:

    Now, to see how my predictions panned out:
    y predictions:

    We will find out Snow is a vampire. JK, but we WILL find out why Snow smells like blood (ewwwwww). CHECK
    Peeta will be kept alive in order to lure out Katniss. CHECK
    Gale will be the one to rescue Peeta because Katniss is too important, in the process Gale will die. Gale does this because he loves Katniss, but knows that she loves Peeta, and he loves her enough to let her go. HALF CHECK
    Gale and Katniss will kiss one last time.
    Katniss will end up with Peeta. CHECK
    Prim will die. Katniss mother will suddenly became a BAMF because of this, instead of curling in a ball. CHECK- I'm calling it a check because even though Katniss mom didn't kill people, she did do what she does best, help people.

    Holy hell, I'm pretty good at this prediction game. 😀

    • ldwy says:

      I love going back to predictions. Geez, you were pretty spot-on!

      • Guest says:

        I'm reading this aloud to my husband and before we started Mockingjay he said okay, lots of people will die, anyone really is fair game, Gale or Peeta will die, and the ending will have Katniss and Snow doing battle while Peeta hangs over the shark tank as they try to shoot him with frickin' lasers.

        I had to keep my mouth shut. But now, we've just watched Coin get shot over the balcony and he's screaming at me for another chapter, but still furious that I let Finnick die. Yes, my fault that as I was reading along I didn't change the story and have him climb up that ladder and head off to D4 to do some very important fishing. 🙂

    • monkeybutter says:

      You really are! And you should add one more CHECK after Gale and Katniss kissing one last time. Remember their kiss in the woods by 2 and our lengthy comments about Gale saying it didn't count?

      • momigrator says:

        Oh wow, I completely skipped over that prediction when I was checking them off, hahahaha! Yes, I am OBSERVANT.

  33. hinana says:

    Hi Mark!
    I've been trolling since..oh maybe Harry Potter and..Prisoner of Azkaban? Maybe Chamber of secrets. A long time anyway.
    I don't really feel the need to comment because everyone else sums up everything I'm thinking anyway, but I figured I might as well. Actually I'm just procrastinating studying for exams, but same difference.

    Anyway, I actually bought Mockingjay the day it came out, and had to force myself to put it down every now and then to soak in the book. ( I have this terrible habit of flying through books in an hour)
    I was dying because no one else I knew had finished the book and I was dying to discuss it with someone, so I made my brother read them all in the same day. So I love that I got to hear your thoughts on every single chapter.
    Right, so my point is, I loved this epilogue. I didn't really feel like it was post-epilogue either. I mean, the last chapter was sort of like an epilogue, but I felt like it just really showed the aftermath of the rebellion. Like, they won, and then Katniss shot Coin, and so this is what they did to her. It was all present. And then the epilogue was, here's what happened in the future, and it still sort of sucks but there's a little bit of happiness too you know? All of it felt as real as a story can feel real.

    And I dunno why people give the Harry Potter epilogue so much hell. Yeess, it was cheesily perfect, but I think that was the point. I felt more like Rowling chose to emphasize the fact that life goes on and things can be ok again rather then focus on the stuff that's still bad (like George never being okay 🙁 ).
    Besides, it was such a great setup for future fan-fiction 😀

  34. Andrea says:

    In case anyone is interested, I posted a list of my picks for the cast of The Hunger Games movie on my blog a couple months ago. I'd love to hear what Mark or anyone else thinks of my picks! And be forewarned, it's a long post.

  35. jennywildcat says:

    I love how minimalist this epilogue is. It makes me want to know how Katpee's children live, but I don't necessarily need Collins to write that for me (that's what fanfic is for – right?) It's a very satisfying conclusion to this series and I love it. But I'm sad that it's over. I will miss Mark's reviews and my wicked giggling over how unprepared he is!

    However, I have wanted to read something along with Mark and this seems like a good opportunity. I admit, I've never heard of "The Book Thief," but I'm looking forward to this. See you all Friday!

  36. lilygirl says:

    Mark, love the reviews. Your dedication to these projects is amazing. It never seems hurried, shallow, forced. I know that we are a greedy bunch, you provide a much needed literary nourishment and leave us always wanting MOAR

    A non-spoiler for The Book Thief. For those of you that use audio or e-readers, there are some visual formatting changes throughout the book. It souldn't be too much of a problem but the visual aspects of the story are an enjoyable part of the experience.

    This is the second YA book I have led in our hard core bookgroup. They are just amazed that YA fiction can be so universal and adult. Great Next Read.

  37. Gamesfan says:

    I really wanted to know the NAMES of their children! Would it have killed Collins to put that in there? But still a great series, even if it leaves us with so many questions.

  38. Lolua says:

    Thank you, Mark, for taking us along with you on this fantastic ride.

    Hunger Games music video spam time!

    "In the Hunger Games" (Alex Carpenter)
    [youtube KRA7_MnRKmk youtube]

    "We're On Fire" (Armoured Bearcub)
    [youtube 5SNhdiwGS3M youtube]

    "Real or Not Real" (ALL CAPS)
    [youtube 5MC2iiRp0I8 youtube]

  39. :: applauds Mark :: You were not prepared, but you did help prepare me.

    I have to admit, this was one of the better epilogues I've seen in YA lit, perhaps because the children weren't named? I'm sorry, but I can't suffer through another Albus Severus.

    I'll admit, I wish that Collins would have told us more about some secondary characters, even in a companion book or encyclopedia. (AHEM, Rowling, promising an encyclopedia for how long now?—COUGH)

    Also: S.L.O.E. Buttercup is easily the best character in the book, and no, I'm not saying that because I'm afraid he'll poo in my bed. :: shifty glance ::

  40. Julia_Vaughn says:

    Mark, thank you for reading these books with us! Your reviews have provided me with much entertainment! And they also made sense of some of the things I read by too quickly when I first read the books. I can't wait to read The Book Thief with you <3 <3

  41. lindseytinsey says:

    Yay! We made it! 🙂

    Now on to The Book Thief? Ok then. Ready, Set, Go!

  42. Kripa says:

    Actually Mark, it took Katniss 15 years to AGREE TO HAVE KIDS IN THE FIRST PLACE. So that's when she'd have agreed to go off birth control and from there, conceiving could happen immediately or could take a while, she'd be 32 or 33 when she gets pregnant with the girl, who may be 8-10ish now. So it's 23-25 years in the future. /I'm pedantic.

  43. nanodragora says:

    I have mixed feelings about the ending. In a way I felt disappointed and betrayed that there was a "settling down and having children" sort of ending because there are other ways for women to have happy endings than to pop out babies (just fyi authors). I just see that type of ending too often. But it's more than that, it's because I personally don't want to have children and I have constantly been told that I will change my mind when I meet the right man. So frustrating. So one of the points in which I related to Katniss was the fact that she did not want kids. I was pleased that she was an independently-minded woman whose idea of a future did not involve pregnancy. It was relieving for me to see a character who did not need kids to make her happy, so I felt pretty miffed when she ended up with them. Bah.

    On the other hand, I do think that for the sake of the story it was very important and meaningful. It shows that the world is finally a place in which Katniss would be comfortable raising children. It is a good ending, just not the one that I had hoped for. Ah well. Bravo Collins, that was a fantastic read. And thank you Mark for sharing the journey with us.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Yes. I think kids are great, but part of me was disappointed by that too. I wanted to see Katniss on her own, watching over the new settlements from a hilltop or something. Oh well! xD

    • FlameRaven says:

      I hear you. :/ I would really love to see more fiction/fantasy where the awesome women don't even get married, or if they do, decide not to have kids. Because not everything is about marriage/kids.

      On the other hand, I think a fantasy starring a single mom (or dad) would be pretty amazing.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I'm not a fan of characters always having to settle down and start a family to have a happy ending, but the latter part of your comment is why I'm okay with it here. She and Panem have changed a lot since her father's death left her thinking she was incapable of love or of giving kids a secure upbringing, and this was a good way to show us. I'd have loved it if Katniss took off and did her own thing, but I'm glad she had the choice to raise kids in a safe world.

    • Briana Moore says:

      I normally would agree, but I think for her story, children were beautiful. She couldnever even think of having kids because she didn't want to bring children into a world where she could lose them in the games. Having children for her was the ultimate sign of hope and change, and is proof that their sacrifice brought an entirely new world

  44. kajacana says:

    I'm one of the curmudgeons who wasn't very happy with Mockingjay. I still love this series and had a fantastic time reading it, but Catching Fire was my favorite and I would have liked to have seen Mockingjay go in a different direction. That said, these reviews have actually changed my mind a little bit — seeing everyone else's reactions has given me a lot of new perspectives to consider, and now I like this book a little more than I did before.

    I'm going to try to get The Book Thief from the library – I've been with Mark Reads since the the beginning of Order of the Phoenix, and this will be the first time I read a book along with the reviews!! I am excite!!!

    So glad you liked this series, Mark. Ultimate applause for the chapter-by-chapter thing. I would have imploded.

    • stellaaaaakris says:

      Hello, fellow curmudgeon. I read Mockingjay in one 4 hour sitting. Big mistake. Huge. I missed so much, especially when Katniss decided to shoot Coin and voted yes to seem cooperative. I was too emotionally exhausted to pick up on things like that. Reading it a slower pace greatly improved my enjoyment of Mockingjay, but, even before this reread, I came to this conclusion: I liked what it said, not what it was.

      Mockingjay will never be my favorite but I do like what it says about war. I like how Finnick died in a way that benefited nobody. I like how realistic it was. But it was not at all what I expected. I signed up for a dystopian fantasy series. What I got instead was an essay on modern war. There is no fantasy in this book, with the exception of those white lizard mutts. By now, I appreciate this book and like it, but never has a work of fiction destroyed me so thoroughly. And one of my majors in college was history and I chose to focus on the Holocaust. I know how to be sad. But this book hurt so much that I can't truly "like" it (although I do love the series).

      I think THG is my favorite, only because it's so "light-hearted" in comparison to this one and CF took forever to get started in my opinion. Also I could fangirl over Peeta constantly in THG and since Katniss was just acting, didn't feel too bad about wanting to find a way to Panem and declare my love to him. By CF she was attached and I like her, so I don't want to break them up.

      • StargazerLilies says:

        Reading it a slower pace greatly improved my enjoyment of Mockingjay, but, even before this reread, I came to this conclusion: I liked what it said, not what it was.

        I've been trying to figure out how to express how I feel about this book for about a month now, and you just said it perfectly. After having some time and rereading it here, the book grew on me a lot, but I know exactly what you mean. A book that could leave me feeling absolutely devastated must be doing something right, and I felt that reading it was a meaningful experience that left a lasting impression, so I can't say that it wasn't a good book or that I disliked it. But as much as I really don't want to be one of those people who demands that everything be entertaining and enjoyable, I'm sorry to say I don't think I can get 100% behind something that ended up hurting as much as this did. I still have mixed feelings about it.

  45. amythis says:

    I know I'm ungrateful, but I miss the HP reread. (Dozens of hands immediately hit the thumbs-down and then move on.) As for Hunger Games, I devoured the first two, and then plodded through the last. (Dozens more down-thumbs.) I found myself increasingly skimming Mark's posts. (I'm hung in effigy. Or Effie-gy.) That said, I'm happy for you, Mark, that you loved this series, that it spoke to you, gave you joy and angst. The series didn't work for me, but I don't regret the experience. I won't be reading The Book Thief, but I'll check in to see what you read in the future, and maybe something will speak to me. Best wishes and happiness to you, Mark, thank you for what you do. (One kind thumb turns up.)

  46. Frianna says:

    Yay, no Book Thief until Friday, so I have a chance of getting my copy from the library so I can read along!

    I have to say that this is my favorite of the trilogy, too. It is the most depressing, the most brutal, the saddest… And it has a strange appeal for me, which made this book so wonderful. After I saw that there were no more pages, I just felt… empty. And speechless.
    And at the time none of my friends had read this book, so I couldn't even discuss it with anyone for months!

  47. RachelHs says:

    This was so much fun. Thanks so much Mark! I just finished the book before you started Mockingjay and it just felt so good to be able to relive it with you and everyone.

  48. Gus-Gus says:

    I am excited that you're reading The Book Theif next; I've not read it though it's sat on my bookshelf for nearly 2 years now!

    I can't help but think that Holocaust survivers probably had a similar time trying to reconcile their lives after the War-moving on, having a family, dealing with nightmares…really any wartime survivor must deal with these thoughts as Katniss did. I think I would.

    I was slightly put off by the Epilogue at first, but the more I reflect and the further away from reading it I get the more I appreciate it in it's simplicity. I keep going back and forth between Mockingjay and Catching Fire as my favorite of the Trilogy, but in the end, I love them all.

  49. samibear says:

    Does anyone else feel overwhelming RELIEF that Mark has finished it? I feel like I can breathe again.

    I haven't been this stressed out since I read the books myself! 😉

  50. Cathy (catd94) says:

    After I finished Mockingjay, I was in such a daze. I needed time to sit by myself and just absorb everything.
    I really enjoyed this series, and I'm glad you did too

    I'm so excited for you to start The Book Thief. I remember it being one of my favorite books.

  51. So the kids are named Prim Rue Everdeen and Finnick Cinna Mellark, right?

    • arnenieberding says:

      You deserve all the thumb-ups in the world. That is all. *retreats to his sinister cave (aka room with computer screen as only light source)*

    • knut_knut says:

      I think the boy might also be named after Katniss' father, whatever his name is. Finnick Cinna *insertfathersname* Mellark

      • potlid007 says:

        i read Finnick Cinna as Finna Cinna, which would be a quality rhyming name if i do say so myself.

  52. potlid007 says:

    Let me just say for The Book Thief: you are probably the least prepared you have ever been for every book/tv show/movie ever. besides Harry Potter
    <img src=>

    that is all. carry on
    <img src=""&gt;

  53. fizzybomb says:

    My comment refuses to show up 🙁

    • ldwy says:

      The past few days, every comment I've posted has gone into limbo for awhile, to be checked by a moderator first. I don't know why, I can't think of any "trigger words" or anything. Maybe this is what happened to you. They've all shown up eventually (and replies didn't have this happen) so maybe your comment will arrive one day soon 🙂

  54. Clare says:

    Here at the end, I want to say that I LOVED these books and the only reason I had even heard of them is because of Mark Reads(I got onboard back in the twilight days). Thank You for doing these reviews 'cause they are awesome. I always wanted to be part of a Book discussion group, but there's nothing really around me for that.

    Also prior to this week I had never heard of Book Thief, but I'm so excited to read it as well! Can't wait, I already got the book!
    This time I'm going to try and read it along with the reviews… THG I ended up speed reading because I couldn't stop(cliffhangers are the bane of my existence…)

  55. BradSmith5 says:

    I'm glad you enjoyed the books, Mark. My arrogant assumptions wouldn't have let me proceed past the first chapters alone, but reading along with this blog always teaches me so much and keeps me motivated. Thanks!

    I also think that the boy should be named "Dandelion" and the girl's name should be "Plum."

  56. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Ok, I don't know why the quote formatting just disappeared over night, but it's back. WEIRD.

  57. Treasure Cat says:

    Oh god unpopular opinion time *braces self*
    I hate the epilogue. Cant stand it. But then I generally dislike the second half of Mockingjay. The massive amount of unecessary characters and the ignoring of characters that were a big part of previous books…urgh. Also I hated how Katniss just rejected Gale and decided she loved Peeta, absolutely hated it. I understand how she would never be sure if Gale was the one who had inadvertently killed Prim, but a lifetime of friendship just thrown away with almost no attention given to the emotion behind it by Collins. It was lazy and it was horrible. The whole thing felt to me like she really wanted Peeta with Katniss at the end, but was too lazy to write it properly so they just ~developed love~ offscreen. ALSO I think Katniss having kids just to please Peeta when she didnt really want them was a horrible way to end as well. It would be more realistic for her to be too traumatised to ever have kids.
    Overrall reading this series through again both HG and CF grew on me, and their flaws seem more insignificant, but if anything I dislike MJ even more and I just dont get how other people dont see the massive flaws I see. I dont think Ill ever like it but *shrugs* Collins is a good writer even though I dont like MJ and Im glad Ive read this series.

    • Baz says:

      I got the picture that Katniss wasn't allowed to leave 12 after shooting Coin, and Gale chose to stay in 2, so if he never came back, then he also gave up on all their years of friendship. I think she loved them both in their own different ways, but with Gale gone and Peeta's calming demeanor, Peeta won out in the end.

      As for the kids, I think someone mentioned this further up, but Katniss's main reason for not wanting kids was the fear that they would wind up in the games, so with the Games over and Panem on the mend, I think she would open up to the idea a little more. I was really frustrated by the kids at first, too, but then after thinking about it and digesting the whole book, I thought it was more hopeful and a way for Collins to say that things in Panem improved without having to go into detail about all the districts getting along and how unicorns replaced hovercrafts as the main method of transportation.

  58. Fusionman says:

    Oh Mark. YANP. You are still not prepared. NEVER. EVER. EVER. EVER.

  59. Sarah B. says:

    The epilogue was actually the most emotional part of the series for me. That last line – "But there are much worse games to play," literally has the power to reduce me to tears every time I reread it (I have gone back and read the epilogue about 20 times). I remember calling my friend up after finishing this book and saying "Oh, my God – that LINE!" and she knew exactly what I was referring to. Even now, sometimes I'll be sitting in traffic or just spacing out and my mind will drift to the epilogue, and I'll start tearing up. I have no idea why that line hits me so hard, but it does.

  60. lisra says:

    Yeah… and so it is over.

    I was really surprised. I ordered the firts book while Mark was somewhere in Catching Fire on a whim because I had nothing to do. Me and my sister fell very soon for it and read the series within 2-3 days. It was a good ride, upsetting, teary and moving – and experiencing it again through/with Mark was again as funny and entertaining as it has always been.

    Thank you for this bit, Mark. Let's see what the future brings, eh?

    I guess we are all not prepared.

  61. Ana says:

    I agree with Mark’s comments, enjoyed reading along, and loved these books. I struggle with why they spoke to me so much (what’s wrong with me) but I think at its root it is the human spirit aspect of it–not just survival but trying to find and make something hopeful and good in spite against extreme odds and even evil.

    I felt the Epilogue was great in its simplicity and gave us what we needed to know in the spirit with the rest of the book. I think we can assume the other characters lived on like K/P with some happiness but carrying with them all they went through too. I did not read the Epilogue the way some did that Katniss “gave in” to Peeta on children. Katniss was 12 when she told Gale she didn’t want kids and it was in the context of helping to take care of starving children–herself and 4 other children (Prim and Gale’s siblings) and in the context of children being forced to the HG. Katniss like no other character was a champion for children and clearly valued children above all. To me, her fear to have children stemmed from the HG, the mistrust of humans that they would bring HG back, and that Peeta/Katniss children would be prized HG material. She was able to overcome her fear in time given the societal changes and it did not seem out of character for her to want children given the above. And, hey, having kids is scary and emotional anyway. I do not think she was a sell out nor do I think she was detached like her mother. She talks of the joy of holding them being the only way to overcome the fear and her fear for them. As a parent, you want to put them in little plastic bubbles anyway even without living in such a dystopian society.

    I came late to this website and will have to go back to HG posts but am aware of different theories that I also think are really interesting–was the HG reaping rigged and if so by Rebels or Capital (I think by Capital for Peeta and Prim because they are good and loved so to squash hope but that K/P were the spark the rebels were waiting for so they mobilized); was Katniss’s father a rebel along with Haymitch and Gale’s dad (I think yes); was Madge’s mom involved in the planning did she bring Cinna in from her Capital trips (he first had K/P hold hands in HG); who was the original driving force of the rebellion, etc. I think all that was left out was fascinating too but wish there was more!

    • Ana says:

      Oh and I read somewhere that Prim being picked would serve as further punishment to Katniss’s family for her father being a rebel who may have been killed for his rebel activities. And as a message to others to not get involved in any rebel activities. I can buy that.

  62. Pk9 says:

    "Let's Not Play Pretend" (Kimmy West)

    [youtube nT7Vbm3X-a8 youtube]

  63. theresa1128429 says:

    My favorite part of the epilogue is how Katniss describes being terrified while pregnant. It is the scariest thing in the world to have a baby inside you when you have no idea what it will be like to take care of it when it comes out.

    I'm excited for a couple Infinite Jest reviews! It's been too long.
    And, seeing as I have never read The Book Thief, I will be attempting to read it one chapter at a time with Mark.

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Alas, we come to the end of our Hunger Games themed silliness. I have a terrible feeling from what everyone is saying that there won't be much opportunity for silly mayhem with The Book Thief.

      S.L.O.E. Buttercup is now presenting himself for one final snuggling from all of his loving minions, if anyone is wondering.

  64. Moxobee says:

    Mark, can you finally breathe now? A little? Good 🙂

    I liked the epilogue, for the most part. Katniss “giving in” and having kids would sit a bit better with me if it was made a but clearer earlier in the book that she was only against having kids because they might have to compete in the Games, but otherwise would want kids. Other than that, I’m good. Especially liked the focus on having to tell the kids about the horrors of the war and the many years of tyranny before.

    One more thing I’d have liked to see, though again maybe at some point before the epilogue, is MOAR Haymitch backstory. I found him one of the most interesting and tragic characters, and in my own personal headcannon the Capitol got him addicted to alcohol on purpose so that in case he ever blabbed about how he won the games no one would take him seriously. /slightly obsessed

  65. I like this epilogue. It's not necessarily happy but it lets us know that these characters are coping and are going to be alright. That last sentance is what really got to me though: "But there are much worse games to play."
    Can't wait for you to start The Book Thief. Believe me, you are not prepared.

  66. Pk9 says:

    The kids are totally named "Primrose Rue Mellark" and "[insert Katniss' father's name here] Cinna Mellark". Suzanne Collins just didn't want to spell it out and make it sound like she was copying some other fantasy writer…

    Seriously, though, I thought the epilogue was very, very similar to DH. Yeah, Katniss and Peeta are more realistic in their emotional brokenness, but it's still a fast-forward two decades or so into the future, and they have kids, and the world is at peace, etc etc.

  67. affableevil says:

    I dearly love this whole series, and this blog and everyone that comments on it. And I can't express how happy I am that you're doing the Book Thief – I've been intending to do a re-read of it anyway, it's such a beautiful book.

  68. @Leenessface says:

    Gonna finally rejoin in for Book Thief, since I haven't read it before. Congrats on finishing the Hunger Games!

  69. karadudz says:

    The best part about the project you're doing, that being Mark Reads, is the fact that you're bringing people to either read or read again. As for those who have always been reading, you let them discuss books with, not only you, but others as well. Basically what I'm saying is that you've created a community of people and you're encouraging them to read.

    For me, Mark Reads has definitely brought me back to reading books again. I haven't completely finished a book (let alone a series of books) ever since the last book of Harry Potter (wasn't that in 07?). And I never would have considered reading the Hunger Games (because I thought it was about anorexic girls starving themselves) until you said it was the next series you were going to do. And lookie! I finished the series and I loved it.

    And for that alone, I honestly thank you so much for the project you're doing. I read The Book Thief a long time ago and I will definitely read it with you.

    You're doing a good job so far! Keep it up =)

  70. kellylea says:

    Whew! We did it! Well, you did it. I really just watched… it really wasn't much easier the second time around, to be honest. Even knowing what happens. It's still tragic and still painful and still haunting.

    I do like the epilogue; short and sweet and beautiful and honest.

    And I love the last line. Collins is the master of last lines, of cliffhangers. But this wasn't a cliffhanger. It was the perfect end to an exhausting and draining journey, and it leaves that last bit of hope to linger afterward.

  71. korat97 says:

    Wow, that went by quickly!
    The first time I actually ever knew about you was when on they said that you were doing the hunger games. I checked out the first few reviews and I absolutely fell in love with your comedy and excellent use of gifs. There is no way I am ever going to stop reading your website, nor do I think I have the willpower to.

  72. Saber says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    I've been waiting to post this till you finished the book. It's a Hunger Games Meme, filled out by julvett

    THoughts on the actually books later.

  73. Not_Prepared says:

    I can't believe it's over… wow! Now all we have left to do is reread and wait for the movies to come out. This is the first series that I've followed you all the way through, and I was not disappointed. Your reviews have the perfect mix of humor and literary critisicm. I loved getting home from school and seeing them.


  74. csq says:

    I'm so glad you liked Mockingjay the best 🙂 It's my favourite of the books, and so many of my friends/fandom doesn't quite like the last book. I just love it! In many ways the last book is more 'grown up', and I realized while re-reading HP last week that I've grown up so much since I first read them. And Mockingjay was something I needed, a young adult book that actually takes the youth that reads it seriously and grows up. It's a book I wish I'd read when I was younger. It has none of the security about happy endings, none of the 'easy' relationships most books in that genre has. It doesn't have the sense of everything working out. And I love that. It's real, flawed and wonderful. And Mockingjay has it so much more than the previous books.

    /long ramble, don't mind me, I get tearful just by remembering how I felt when I read this 🙂

  75. Bryce says:

    A few comments on the book as a whole. This is Deathly Hallows all over again. Great build up over the first two thirds (Yes, I actually really liked the camping bits in Hallows), horrible rushed ending. The last part of both books should have been at least twice as long.

    Things I really didn't like.

    Prim's death (Ding! Dong! The Sue is dead. Which old Sue, the Mary Sue. Ding! Dong! the Mary Sue is dead!). Prim, I now proclaim you queen of the totally pointless character death. Hedwig, I give to you as a pet. Lupin, I dub thee regent until Prim comes of age. Squad 451 can all get knighthoods.

    Finnick I mourn for you even though no one else in the book does. You deserve much, much more than being written out of the story in like two sentences.

    • Bryce says:

      Continued (if I subscribe will I be allowed to post big scary walls of text?)….

      The getting to the capitol sequence. The whole pod-running bit I felt was a tad underwritten, I had some trouble visualizing exactly what was going on. Speaking of which, the Capitol's defence system is ridiculous (this sort of thing works in the arena but in the "real world" it seems needlessly complex and over the top). Also… a collection of volatile A-LIST ACTORS/HERO'S OF THE REVOLUTION are sent into a real life war zone to shoot the greatest WAR/PROPAGANDA movie ever made. The DIRECTOR/SQUAD LEADER steps on a MINE/POD and is blown up. The ACTORS/SQUAD decide to continue on MAKING THE FILM/WITH THEIR MISSION without him. How can I even begin to take this seriously?

  76. Bryce says:

    Bitching over, what I thought was good.

    The first chapter was like a punch in the gut. Several punches in the gut. The head as well. I love "the world you know is gone" scenes and this is up there with the best of them (even if it is a bit on the info dumpy side).

    The bombing of the hospital is I think is the strongest action scene in the series. Collins really ramps up the violence in Mockingjay but only here, I think, does it feel natural, not forced (as in that it's just there to hammer home how real this shit is).

    Finnick. His back-story is just heartrending, need I say more.

  77. azurefalls says:

    I wanted to wait until the absolute end of your reviewing to say this, but…
    I really didn't like the end of Mockingjay. As a book, it was okay – pretty good, but no where near Catching Fire on the scales. But the ending, I hated. And no, not just because I was fervently hoping for a Gale/Katniss endgame.

    To me, it seemed like a cop-out. Maybe that's harsh. But when I read it, I remember getting so excited during the build-up to the last few chapters, hyping up the end as one huge fight against the Capitol, Battle-of-Hogwarts-style. And then Katniss blacked out. And that was it. We waited around for her to wake up, and she (predictably, I thought) murdered Coin, and went off to get her happy-ever-after with Peeeta. It was a huge let down to me. :/ A lot of build up (admittedly very good build up) and then… nothing. Though Prim's death, and all those children – holy Merlin, that was awful. :'C

    Anyway, not that anyone else will read this now that it's going onto the fourth/fifth page, but I'm interested if anyone else thought this? I was under the impression it was a common perception, so I was quite (pleasantly, of course,) surprised to see you enjoying it so much, Mark!
    But I'm glad you did; I personally just wasn't a fan.

    I can't wait for you to start The Book Thief! I personally loved it; I hope you do too! 🙂

  78. Phoebe says:

    WWWOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Although I have to disagree with you for one point. I actually liked the last book the least. The ending was way too sudden for me. I did not like how Snow just died laughing. Also, I did not like how Katniss was isolated from everybody for a year. She barely said goodbye to Gale, her lifelong friend, and most likely did not keep in touch with him. She just left her mom without saying goodbye, and I think it would be highly unlikely that despite living less than a mile away Haymitch never viseted her. However, I did love the epilogue, especially the last sentence.

  79. StargazerLilies says:

    I love the line about Peeta telling her they can make the children understand in a way that makes them braver. Just that one line was enough to give the feeling that he’s coping in his own way. And if anyone could manage that, it would be Peeta. I want to hear exactly how he pulled it off though, explaining their personal involvement in a way that wasn’t terrifying. You know, I’m sure there would be plenty of books written and documentaries made about the Hunger Games and the revolution by now, and when they’re older it might not even be that hard for them to find the original footage. If your parents were in the Hunger Games, how much would you want to know? I would imagine that most children wouldn’t want to see their parents that way, or they might feel like it was an invasion of their privacy. But I think the curiosity would win out at some point, especially if they’re struggling to understand why their parents are the way they are, or if they never even got a chance to know their father like poor Finnick Jr.

    I loved the way the epilogue managed to be somewhat hopeful without breaking from the tone of the rest of the book. That’s hard to do, showing that people can carry on after something so traumatic, that they can have meaningful relationships and lives worth living, without making it look easy and ignoring the lasting impact it would still have. Maybe a very brief epilogue many years in the future is the best way to do that; it lets the readers fill in the details of how much Katniss and Peeta are still suffering, how they’ve learned to cope, and how well they’re able to function now in a way that feels realistic to them.

    I can understand why some people might not like the epilogue because “and she lived happily ever after even though she never had any babies” really is frustratingly rare. But I think she’s been setting up for this since the beginning of the first book. Every time Katniss mentioned that she didn’t want children, I got the impression that it was because she didn’t want to bring them into that world, not just because of the Games, but because of all the oppression and poverty, because people couldn’t even speak freely and children dying of starvation wasn’t even unusual there. In Catching Fire, it felt to me like she saw it as an opportunity the Capitol had taken from her, that she had a real sense of loss and anger when Peeta announced their fake pregnancy. I think her having children was a quick and effective way to signal that the world had changed enough for her to even consider it an option.

  80. lossthief says:

    Here's my mini-summary of thoughts on the series:
    Book 1 – It was alright, the first half didn't really interest me, and definitely accented the flaws of Collins' writing abilities. The second half picked things up, and did get me excited for the rest of the series, but I feel like I wouldn't have gone through the whole book if I was reading it on my own. Nothing really bad about it, but not really interesting enough to me that I would have wanted to own a copy for myself.
    Grade: "B-"
    Book 2 – Started out with some interesting developments. Collins' writing style definitely improved a bit between starting "The Hunger Games" and beginning "Catching Fire" and I'm happy for it. The first half of it, while having its faults, was still interesting enough to keep my attention. The latter half however was a different story. I felt like Collins was just stalling in order to make her book end on a cliffhanger, when in all honesty I think the chapters in the Quell could have been edited down.
    Grade: "C-"
    Book 3 – A marked improvement from "Catching Fire" and easily Collins' best writing in the series. It's still a rather mixed bag with me, with the last chapter and the epilogue not really making me feel a sense of finality. Nonetheless the characters were dynamic and developed as the plot advanced, and despite the twist near the ending feeling a bit forced, I did enjoy it quite a bit.
    Grade: "B"

    Overall the series was fun, and there were parts that I liked a lot, but as an overall experience I don't think I'd have stuck with it if it wasn't for the fun of reading along with Mark.
    Grade: "B-"

    Now we charge on into "The Book Thief"! 😀

    • monkeybutter says:

      I agree with your rankings and explanations, but I'd bump it up to a B overall; I guess I grade YA on a curve. Plus, I liked what Collins had to say. Mark and the commentariat definitely made it more fun!

  81. ravendaine says:

    I'm one of the very few among my friends who actually liked this ending a lot. It had just the right amount of sweet to go with its bitter.

  82. shelly says:

    This is just like LOST. What ever happened to the pearl???? Jk.

  83. Lady X says:

    “But there are much worse games to play.”

    And with that one line Suzanne Collions finishes tying the bow on the most epic package of unpreparedness and mind splosions ever.

  84. vampira2468 says:

    I so hate she killed Cinna . I would love a book just about him or about the government. I sort of disliked the ending. It was too "good" for me.

  85. vampira2468 says:

    I still love the series and think it is a great series in the young adult genre. Can't wait for the book thief!!

  86. peacockdawson says:

    I felt really empty after I finished this book.

  87. RainaWeather says:

    But I’d add one qualifier to it before sending someone on their way:

    You are not prepared.

    That was very Collinsesque of you. She's taught you well.

  88. ThreeBooks says:

    😀 I have no idea what song this would be, but it sounds pretty awesome.

  89. RandomWeirdness says:

    I also liked how it wrapped up, very realistic instead of some happy sappy fairytale ending.

  90. RandomWeirdness says:

    Personally I liked the romance in these books, but it wasn't my main focus. I did think Peeta was better for Katniss though, even though I don't really mind Gale, I just think Katpee has a better romantic relationship and Gale was better off being just her hunting partner/best friend.

  91. stefb says:

    So Mark, after finishing three popular book series, which series would you name as your favorite?

  92. bookling says:

    I still don't like the epilogue. It's just that I didn't need it all written out for me. I thought the way the last chapter ended was perfect: it told you that Katniss and Peeta weren't better, probably would never be better, but that they could still be happy and that there was hope. For me, adding that they had BABIES was just unnecessary. I imagine this is how a lot of people felt about the HP epilogue, although I liked that one. I just thought the Mockingjay epilogue was a little clunky and felt tacked-on. I felt like I'd already had my ending.

    Oh, and I'm still MAD AS HELL about Prim dying. I don't think I'll ever get over that. I think with a series as brutal as this one, you can't ever really feel satisfied with the ending.

  93. trash_addict says:

    I've got nothing to add. Big hearts for this series. I don't see it being long before I feel the need to re-read. May I be…prepared…this time?

    And now, to move on to another amazing book. I just bought a second copy of it today because my first edition is gigantic and I'm heading to the US in a week-and-a-half…gotta have a travel-friendly copy!

    Yeah, I just spent $20 on a book I already have a something-like-$50 copy of. I feel no regret, so you know you're in for something good 😉

  94. maliarushall says:

    And so the Hunger Games series ends. For most books series, I always want more; I want the author to write another book, to give us some more information. But for the Hunger Games, I felt satisfied after I finished it. Well, maybe satisfied isn't the right word – it really did make me sad.

    But I don't feel like I need any more. I accept the ending for how it is, even if I don't like it. The series was incredible, and I'm excited for the movie (as long as they don't totally screw it up. They offered Alex Pettyfer the role of Peeta?? Seriously??).

    Last but not least: RIP Finnick. You are one of my favorite book characters and will remain that way forever.


  95. Arthur says:

    Reminds me of the end of Animorphs.

    "I’ll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I’m afraid it could be taken away. "
    Reminds me of my grandmother, who would always take all the sugar packets and hoard bottle caps and supplies because she grew up in the depression.

  96. blondeGinny says:

    Am I the only one who absolutely hated Mockingjay? Well, that was when I first read it, but still. I recognize that it’s well written, and has heavy and important messages. I can now appreciate it for what it is. But a part of me just hates it. So unresolved, so many plot lines never tied up, speculation meaning nothing! I don’t know, I overthink things, but now looking back there were just so many read herrings that lead me astray. It also felt like the book had no real direction or structure. A large part of me still hates Mockingjay, despite my recent acceptance of it, and it will always be my least favorite of the series.

    This doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE Mark reads though! Mark, you are amazing! I would even read your reviews if I hadn’t read the book, lol. But your starting The Book Thief next, which I have read.

    • FlameRaven says:

      What do you feel remains unresolved or not tied up?

    • Azrepheal says:

      No, youre not the only one. There was a fair bit of backlash against the last book, I couldn't stand it for quite a few reasons – on the page there are 3 reviews – a 5 star, a 3 star and a 1 star review. The 3 and 1 star reviews sum up all the (many) problems with the final book far better than I could in this comment box.

  97. cdnstar says:

    I wanted to reread the ending of the books before reading your review of the past few chapters, as it has been a month or so since I finished reading (it is AMAZING how quickly you forget details), but my brother borrowed Mockingjay to read. GRR! So I couldn't. I do remember feeling that the ending was a bit of a cop out, as Katniss seemed so adamantly against children earlier, but I will give you the fact that it isn't your stereotypical happy ending.

    I have to say my favourite thing about the whole series was how unexpected most of it was. It was full of plot turns and surprises that I was expecting, and while there were a few obvious and expected parts, they weren't the majority. It was certainly a thought provoking read.

    Totally unrelated note: My son's teacher just recommended to me last week that he might enjoy reading the series. She said that her son, in grade 7, had just finished it and enjoyed it; my son is 8, in grade 3. He's very far ahead of his grade in reading comprehension, but he's still EIGHT. I'm a bit wary of giving it to him to read, as it can be quite harsh in parts, but I think overall it is more educational and eye opening in terms of storyline and content than it is overly brutal. Not really any worse than what he's seen on Doctor Who or Star Wars.

  98. smbrawner says:

    I'm impressed mark. When I first read the trilogy, i have to admit, i was one of the people who was disappointed at the end of the whole thing. But re-reading it with you, and seeing your ideas on all of the different themes of the book, you've greatly changed my opinion. I can now see how great it was for Collins to not just give us the "happily ever after" ending that is expected, and it really does go with the book as a whole. So I just want to say thanks for making an amazing book so much better for me! and I cant wait to get my copy of the book thief so i can come back to your blog!

  99. Revolution64 says:

    This series is so insanely awesome, that even though you are finished, YOU ARE STILL NOT PREPARED.

  100. Cyna says:

    Yay, you're done! Agree 100% on Mockingjay's ending – admittedly, Katniss' acquittal bothered me because I found it a bit unrealistic. She did, you know, assassinate the president, I totally would have expected her to die. And yes, the summary sucked, it felt like that rushed bit at the end of Catching Fire, where you find out it was the rebellion all along and Katniss is just like "lol WUT JUST HAPPENED?"

    But I love the way Collins ended this. Like you said, Katniss and Peeta's lives are difficult. They never fully recover, it's not all rainbows and butterflies even twenty years down the road. The war has damaged them irreparably. But they deal with it. They move on. They find ways to cope, and they give their children the lives they fought very hard for, at the same time acknowledging that it's so difficult to accurately communicate to their children all that was lost without scaring them. I love that Katniss resolves to find a way to explain it in a way that makes them stronger, rather than just sad or afraid.

    It's not easy, but it feels so real and right that I loved Mockingjay for it, despite being utterly bored by most of the first half.


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