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the island of conclusions

in which I am embarrassing

the island of conclusions

bright star

in which I am embarrassing

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bright star
On our most recent road trip, I finished listening to Mockingjay

So, up until the third book my OTP was Katniss/Katniss’s leg hair. Her riff in the second book about how happy she is when it grows back after the first games is one of my favorite bits in the whole series.

However, Mockingjay seemed to awaken my inner fourteen-year-old girl (much to the annoyance of my ten-year-old son).

Sample conversation as we listened to the first part in the car:

Me [pulling the USB jack out of the stereo and speaking directly to Katniss]: Girl, what about Peeta? Have you forgotten about Peeta? You know he would’ve been off to rescue your sorry ass about two chapters ago if it were him!
Son #1: Mom! She can’t because [lists some spurious reason]. Just—just put the jack back in, okay?
Me: Hrrumph.

And then, in the second part of the book when Peeta is rescued [by other people!]

Me: Peeettaaaah!
Son #1: *verbal equivalent of eyerolling*

So, okay—he’s just the kind of boy I would’ve been in love with at 14. And frankly, it would’ve been healthier if my tastes had stayed right there!

Anyway, since I was mostly focused on Katniss/Peeta, most of my annoyance with the book focused on the dropping of the two Peeta plot-arcs. The implanted memory & madness thing, which I was enjoying, gets wrapped up distressingly neatly: the last time you see Peeta before the fall of the Capital he’s barely holding it together; the next time you see him, he’s just fine (Me [pulling out the USB jack again]: Why doesn’t she visit him in the hospital!? Son #1: Mom! Just listen, okay?). And the whole Peeta-as-natural-leader-spokesperson-for-the-rebellion thing which powers so much of the second book just completely disappears. I had been enjoying that one too.

Oh well, at least my annoyance with all that distracted me from my growing realization that whatever catastrophe had wiped out most life in Panem has killed off all the Jews and Hispanics and Asians, and, yeah, just about everyone with non-Anglo surnames. It has also rendered all people of color incapable of holding onto leading roles in the narrative.

Still, I enjoyed it immensely. The action scenes were awesome. I enjoyed its cynical outlook on politics. I likes how realistically troubled Katniss was by the things she’d done.

Ah, and since lilaeth kind of asked me this in advance, I’ll mention it, even though I’m sure my answers are predictable: I was sad about what a noodle Finnick was in last book, but I continued to love Johanna to death.

Y’all can rec fic to me if you’re so inclined!

  • I think the issue is that Peeta fits the role usually played by female characters in most stories. he's the love interest. He's not the main character or the main focus of the story, so his storyline gets pushed aside in favor of showing Katniss growing PTSD and what it does to her.

    Personally I like that because most of the time, especially in YA books, even if the girl is the hero, the story ends up being all about the boys. In the HG triology that isn't the case. And I love the hell out of them for that.

    There are several fics though, that show the books from his pov. (think you could find some of those on Ao3)
    • Yes, I think you're right--and I appreciate that it remained Katniss's story all the way through. I guess I just wish it had been able to be both...

      It is refreshing to read an author who does female characters better than male characters. I think my favorite little bit of the third book might've been the sequence where Katniss and Johanna are roommates and gut through training together!

      I have to thank you again, though, for encouraging me to read the second and third books! They are gratifyingly darker, and yes, Katniss does eventually kill someone in cold blood (ambiguous as that is).
      • I always find it funny how many people dislike the third book, while it's actually my favorite of the series.

        A lot of that might have to do with the fact that it subverts the general trope of the kid who starts the rebellion.

        In most of these stories, the hero of the book becomes an important rebel leader and then leads the heroes to victory.

        Collins on the other hand doesn't make things that easy. In her world, the rebels of 13 are just as flawed as the capitol just in a different way. Katniss doesn't become a rebel leader. Because the author doesn't forget that she's a sixteen a seventeen year old kid with no leadership experience. There's already an existing leadership who won't just take orders from some kid.

        It subverts the idea of the mighty hero and takes a view on how the media creates heroes and what this does to the people whom we worship.

        It's funny how many prefer the first book, since to me it's the least and most simplistic of the three books.
        • Katniss doesn't become a rebel leader. Because the author doesn't forget that she's a sixteen a seventeen year old kid with no leadership experience. There's already an existing leadership who won't just take orders from some kid.
          Yes. I don't read a lot of YA fiction, but I completely agree about this, and appreciated it. Collins says from the beginning that Katniss is no good at that kind of stuff, and she doesn't back off from it.

          (Personally, as a reader, I really like stories about leadership and community building, which is why I liked the beginning of the second book, but, yes, I think you're right).

          takes a view on how the media creates heroes and what this does to the people whom we worship.
          Yes! This, especially, is what makes the books interesting (and contemporary). Katniss is really a media figure more than anything else, and the balance between "staged" and "spontaneous" in both what she does and what she's supposed to do is really interesting. The way the rebels are able (and not able) to subvert and take over the Capital's media machine as part of waging the war makes the books more intellectually interesting than you'd think.

          I found the first book the most annoying (though the most tightly written)--and I found the last one annoying too. So, it's possible I liked the second on best, despite its flaws and contrivances.

  • My annoyance at the third book takes on different dimensions, but I also was irritated by the increasingly contrived love triangle, and the 'fade to black' bits where important things happen we don't get to see (sister go poof!), and the epilogue where Katniss has kids because Peeta wants them, and...oh, I kind of wish she'd just stopped with book 2, instead of letting all her arcs and excellent character notes disintegrate into things I didn't care for.

    Book 1 was great, tho. *g*
    • I know what you mean--the character stuff was better in the first two books. My annoyance with the love triangle thing was highest in the first book, though, for some reason. All that canoodling in the cave, the cut aways for Gale and Peeta being pissy...Oy! I felt like Collins might have been hoping for more from Gale as a character--because by the time Katniss lets Peeta into her bed in the first book, it's really all over.

      I completely agree about the reliance on important things we don't see and the retreat to the rural idyll with kids, though.

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