The Hunger Games, Mockingjay:
Some of the ultraviolence in the final slog feels gratuitous (those alligator muttations) and Katniss’ long period of PTSD is tiresome. But her reaction is also realistic. Furthermore, the sacrifice, both of Katniss’ sanity (temporarily) and the life of Prim, the very person she entered the arena to save in the first place, seems appropriate for the level to which the trilogy’s stakes were raised. Suzanne Collins teaches a brutal lesson in the cost of violence, even arguably necessary revolutionary violence, but I have personally found it to also be a resonant one, which has stayed with me long after I closed the books.
As for the “happy” ending that isn’t, the victors’ life in a rebuilt District 12 and their eventual procreation, Collins ends with a return to quietness and semi-contentment that rightly never quite feels like full joy. Rather, it’s an acquiescence to the life force. It works for me. Do we really think Katniss and Peeta would be going to all-night dance parties at this point?