I really found it difficult to review this the first time I read it, and a year later, and another reread have helped me sort out my feelings. I don't love this book. I think it is amazing, but it completely gutted me. I am a hopeful reader and I love a good happy ending, but I was unrealistic to hope for such a thing here. The message is that in war, no one is safe. Suzanne Collins spent the first two books building up to a horrifying finale where loved characters die in the worst ways, and hope is very nearly lost. All that is left is a tiny flicker of a flame, and Katniss doesn't look to be the girl to fan that flame for a lot of the book. She rises up at times to deliver stirring speeches, but then is pulled back down by the weight of all the things that have happened to her.
Katniss learns the truths of characters such as Gale, who is shockingly heartless and blood thirsty, and Haymitch, ever calculating and surprisingly cold. She is left with no one really that she can trust, as even Peeta is not available to her at times. My