Brief Overview: 13 Districts rebelled against the Capitol. 1 was supposedly destroyed while 12 suffered under a harsh treaty for 75 years. Now we’re back at the beginning and once more 13 Districts are rebelling. This time is different though, because this time the rebels have a cause and a face of the revolution: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire. The Capitol has Peeta, captured from the Quarter Quell, and they wield him like a weapon against Katniss. Can she survive a broken heart?
WTF? No seriously, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot…???
“Are you, are you coming to the tree?
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here.
No stranger would let it be if we met up
At midnight in the hanging tree.”
Wishlist: Katniss needs to sing to Peeta, like a lot and happy songs or songs about hope. Her singing made an impression on him at 5, she should sing that song again! Break down all those shiny memories in one fell swoop.
My 10 Favorite Scenes:
Not in order of preference or sequence in book.
- Katniss figuring out how Snow is really using Peeta. Angst! Angst! Angst!
- Brainwashed Peeta (attacking Katniss). Well, until I realized there’s wasn’t a cure-all for it. Stupid shiny memories.
- Real or Not Real. This was a good one…
“You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real," he whispers.
"Real," I answer. "Because that's what you and I do, protect each other.”
- Peeta figuring Katniss out. Not that she tries to help him sort it all out. She runs a bit too often for my tastes.
“Ally." Peeta says the words slowly, tasting it. "Friend. Lover. Victor. Enemy. Fiancee. Target. Mutt. Neighbor. Hunter. Tribute. Ally. I'll add it to the list of words I use to try to figure you out. The problem is, I can't tell what's real anymore, and what's made up.”
- Peeta trying to remember the truth about them. Can we say ouch? So freaking awesome... the angst!!!
“I must have loved you a lot.”
- Declaration of Love. Such as it was… (who else wanted more to this scene? I did!)
“You love me. Real or not real?"
I tell him, "Real.”
- Who is Peeta? The most telling sentence Katniss ever said…
“You're a painter. You're a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces.”
He also likes the color orange.
- Peeta remembers? It looks like it with these sentences but he still comes off as damaged beyond repair in the epilogue. Sniff.
“Katniss. I remember about the bread.”
“Let me go!” I snarl at him, trying to wrest my arm from his grasp.
“I can’t,” he says.
- Katniss killing President Coin. Needed. Though, I won’t lie the aftermath of that is pretty confusing. Being trapped in Katniss’ head did not give a big picture view of what was going on outside her impromptu prison/isolation. I bet the movie will do it better.
- Katniss and Gale parting. Gale is bitter, but he was not a good match for Katniss. She’d lose herself completely in his hatred. In broken Peeta, perhaps our equally broken Katniss can heal?
Conclusion: The Hunger Games Trilogy is not a romance. It's a dystopian warfare driven trilogy with romantic elements. If it was a romance, the ending would have been sweeter, Peeta wouldn’t have been brainwashed and his character mutated (I once did this to a fanfic character, oomph, cheated the whole story, so I know what I'm talking about here). He should have been fixed more than he was at the end.
Peeta was the driving force of the romance in the story, because Katniss never truly confessed in a declaration of love (to herself or to Peeta, though she does tap dance around it several times). At least not like how we know them in the romance genre. At best it was halfhearted, and while “Real or Not Real” was good, it could have been better. For example something like, “Real. I love you Peeta and here’s why…” With Katniss blind and resistant from the beginning to her feelings she needed to really open up at some point to Peeta.
“All those months of taking it for granted that Peeta thought I was wonderful are over. Finally, he can see me for who I really am. Violent. Distrustful. Manipulative. Deadly. And I hate him for it.” - Katniss
So in effect, warping Peeta warped the romance. He had all the best lines too between them, which you can see when you check out my favorite scenes between the books.
Also, I get that PTSD would have been prevalent, but romances as we define them in the genre mean a real HEA, where the characters heal each other and not merely survive together (and watch their kids play on top of mass graves... shudder).
“Oh, that I do know...Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can't survive without.” - Gale
Additionally, I don’t buy that Katniss would have had children with Peeta. That was a no-go from the get-go.
I feel all this could have been fixed with an additional chapter or longer epilogue. I doubt I am alone in this.
What really needed to be addressed and was never addressed, was Katniss’ statement to Peeta revealing that Haymitch orchestrated the romance on her part during the first Hunger Games. She implied most of it was Haymitch, but not all of it was Haymitch. If Peeta had latched onto that semantic like a pitbull we could have gotten somewhere with her.
Final thoughts: So yes, I was disappointed with the romance, but the trilogy is a good one. Peeta makes the series for me, no question. I would reread it for him alone.