I finished reading an explosive series - The Hunger Games. Action, more action, death, and violence, combined with heart-wrenching emotional triggers and the ever-enduring love triangle. This series explodes in your face, knocks you in the head, and drags you along for a gut-punch of a ride - especially the last book Mockingjay. (this review includes some spoilers)
The first book was child's play compared to the last one. If you thought a government that sacrifices its people's children in Games was bad, just wait. The stakes in Mockingjay go from high to higher, and finally, to breaking. Just when you think the characters have endured as much as they can, there's more. While I expected everything to improve in Mockingjay, for good to triumph and for Katniss to finally become free, the end turned out to be a depressing disappointment. I was left with a lot of anger and grief over characters I'd followed two books prior.
There were moments of respite from the horror of war and the deaths of
those Katniss loved, but they did little to slow the relentless pace of
the book, and even less to comfort the grieving reader each time she had to witness another disgustingly brutal act of violence. Hope held out to keep reading because I knew eventually the war would be over and the troubles would be resolved. They just weren't resolved very well. I got angry at the author for the last person she ripped away from Katniss and the manner she did it in. I kept thinking "this is too much!" But it didn't matter.
In the end I gave it four stars over at Goodreads because it was written well and I was already invested in the series. But I would never have the stomach to write a book like this. I worry a little what publishers will expect from writers if Hunger Games is our example. Judging by Graceling, the war machines are still carrying stories along. I just hope that changes.
To sum it up, Mockingjay was a long, painful fairytale written to scare adults into being good, a very dark ending to a startling series that I wish hadn't been so violently aimed at children. If I had to read this series over after knowing how the third book ends, I don't think I would.