****!!!!!NOTE!!!!!!!****** There are some spoilers in this review as I do discuss some things about the conclusion of the book. If you don't wish any spoilers please don't read further.
Bottom line recommendation wise is...I didn't/don't care for this novel and it "sort of" ruined the entire trilogy for me. I sold all 3.
***************** Spoilers in Review below *******************
****Spoilers begin here*****
Okay, just us now...a lot of people loved this book. I'm not one of them. I liked the first book immensely, I also liked the second volume. I appreciate the inspiration behind the books. I guess I'll say I'm disappointed but there are times when some very good writing comes through. In the end however I really didn't like the book. There were too many times I skimmed through this one, too many times I came very close to abandoning the read all together simply due to the story and it's telling.
If you read my review of the second volume in this trilogy you know that one of the things that bothered me most was the immature and selfish character of Katniss. I observed at the close of that volume that this had probably been intentional on Ms.Collins' part and that Katniss seemed to be growing out of it after the hard and troubling events at the end of said volume.
Well, Katniss had a relapse...big-time. Apparently in all the wars and all the revolutions and all the tragedies of all time NO ONE has suffered as she has. Am I the only one who got so tired of her constant bemoaning of her own fate...as the world is flying apart around her? She forces the rebels to take her back to her blasted and burned former home where she apparently wanders around saying things like "I brought this on you"... GOOD GRIEF. No Katniss, the people who dropped the bombs brought it on them...the people who ordered it brought it on...the people who have been forcing children to kill each other in arenas to hold the entire populace under their heel FOR GENERATIONS brought it on. The world didn't start when you were born Katniss.
The book becomes, it seems to me very much of a one trick pony with Katniss constantly discovering more pain and more woe. It turns into a story where the rebels seem often to be as bad as the oppressive government they seek to overthrow. A book that comes very close to one of those pompous tomes (and for that matter movies, short stories etc.) that defines itself as "anti-war" as if people sometimes get together and say, "hey, let's have a war." War is nothing more than an assault or an armed robbery writ large. Very few actually "want war" it doesn't make one extra righteous to say "I'm taking a stand against war!", just self-righteous. The choice in the story Ms. Collins wrote is the same as it has been often...war or enslavement. You can accept what you're handed and live with it, let them take your goods... your children, your freedom...your life or you can resist. The longer you wait to resist the worse it may be. It seems to me Katniss is an annoying character who (in my opinion) became badly one dimensional. There are a few bright spots and some good prose, but over all, I'm not taken with the book.
For me one of the most telling moments in the book was in a conversation between Gale and Peeta (the boy named after pocket bread) when they are having a conversation about which of them Katniss will eventually "choose" and Gale hits it on the head. He says she'll pick the one She can't survive without. Of course from Katniss we get the obligatory self recrimination, "am I that bad", well I don't need either of them, internal monologue..but (when proverbial push comes to proverbial shove) that is exactly what she eventually does.
In the end so far as I can tell after all that's happened, after all the death and loss the world still revolves around Katniss at least so far as Katniss is concerned.
I found this an unsatisfying book and conclusion to what had been up to now a pretty good trilogy and if my children were still young I'd definitely discuss this one with them to see what they took away from it. Not my cup of tea, and puts my retention of the other two in my collection in question...I regret the money spent on this book and the time invested in it, a bad sign. The first book is a very good read, the second is pretty good, but this, the end volume is very, very weak. My opinion of course.