Mockingjay  - Suzanne  Collins Surprisingly, and disappointingly, I did not enjoy this final book in the Hunger games series anywhere near as much as the first two.

To speak of the good first, it did resolve a number of dangling threads, providing interesting reasons for details that I had wondered about - such as why President Snow's breath smelt of blood, and the truth about the nature of the overly handsome victor. However, these small things, and indeed the entire first half of the book which was of a similar vein, cannot make up for the disappointments of the second and final half.

The single biggest failing of the story is the complete lack of agency given to the main character. Katniss is a pawn, not a hero. For the first two novels, this was known and accepted - she had some limited agency, in her actions during the game sections, but outside of this she was very much at the mercy of the forces arrayed against her (primarily the government).

However, this final novel is worse, precisely because it pretends to give her real agency towards the end. Free of both the government control and the restraints of the rebels she has fled to, for a brief moment she has an opportunity to actually _act_ rather than simply react. During this time she completely fails to live up to her promise of the first two novels, dithers, gets a bunch of people killed and then, as we approach conclusion, events place her back in the role of puppet dancing on a string.

Without giving too much away, the author has events come to a head at a perfect moment to take from Katniss of any real agency or effect, all to set up yet another tragedy and a series of events which are likely supposed to push the underlying themes of the novel, however are so obvious that they can't possibly qualify as a twist and certainly not as any sort of "decision" on Katniss' part.

In the end, we are left with what is essentially a deus machina, the only time in the novel where katniss actually acted of her own free will is robbed of all meaning and affects absolutely nothing, and even the love triangle, which I had already commented was the focus of an irritating amount of page-time throughout the novels, is resolved not with an actual resolution but a handwave that does serious disservice to what has been shown of the characters involved. The shallowness of feeling, or the cowardice, involved in the resolution of this triangle on the part of one of the players is almost impossible to accept, given the amount of time spent showing him as exactly the opposite.

This is not a story of a girl whose actions sparked a revolution, and who helped topple a government.

This is a story of a girl whose accidental actions were manipulated by two opposing factions in their personal war, and whose intentional efforts made no difference whatsoever on either of them.