Sunday, August 29, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Spoilers)

And so we come to the end of the Hunger Games road. I am weighing in relatively late with my thoughts because it was a pain to get my hands on a copy here in Germany, but I finally got one (no thanks to amazon.de btw – fail!) and just finished reading a couple of hours ago.


My reviews never have spoilers in them, but I have to make an exception for MOCKINGJAY. If you read the first two books, my opinion is not going to keep you from reading it anyway, and if you haven’t read any of the series, well, no time like the present to get started!

So, ahem….MOCKINGJAY starts off with Katniss in District 13, which we find out went deep underground and because of its possession of nukes, was able to strike a deal with the capitol to remain off the map. President Coin wants to use Katniss as the face of the revolution, the Mockingjay. And Katniss is understandably reluctant at first. But it’s no big surprise when she agrees. But here’s the thing – I am not sure Katniss understood how much being the Mockingjay would ultimately diminish her. If you think of it in LORD OF THE RINGS/Frodo terms, Katniss carries the heaviest burden, is in fact key to bringing down the evil empire, but does it at great cost to herself. She may not sail off to the undying lands, but she is exiled back to district 12, broken in body and spirit.

At first, I questioned why Katniss wouldn’t keep fighting to take her rightful place as an architect of a new society. She’s known as “the girl on fire”, with an internal fire that’s kept her going through two Hunger Games and beyond. Why can’t she stay “Rock Star Katniss”? Doesn’t she realize that it’s better to burn out than to fade away? (I mean, seriously, aren’t they blasting Neil Young in Panem?). But beyond my Frodo comparison, I think it comes down to this: from the very first moment, Katniss was fighting for her sister more than herself. She wanted a world where Prim could grow up and be a doctor and be happy. Prim is the reason “Rock Star Katniss” existed, and though she was perfectly willing to go out in blaze of glory for Prim, when Prim died (by fire, ironically), Katniss’s fire died with it.

And that brings me to the Gale/Peeta debate. I’ve always been unabashedly #teampeeta, but have come to respect the arguments for #teamgale. I have even come to think that if Prim hadn’t have died, taking Katniss’ fire with her, Katniss might have chosen Gale – someone that could match her fire. But Prim did die, and a diminished Katniss realizes that what her battered spirit needs is healing. I’m not 100% happy with Peeta’s portrayal in book 3 (the hijacking thing was a bit much imho), and the ending/epilogue doesn’t quite sit right with me, but I can understand it. The fact that Katniss was able to be “talked into” having kids does not imply that Peeta browbeat her into it, but that they were able to heal each other enough that she could finally participate in the rebuilding again. And what says rebuilding better than having a couple of kids? (And, hey, at least “Paw Paw” Haymitch wasn’t giving Katniss’ kids piggy-back rides in the epilogue, right?)

Anyway, back to District 13 under President Coin. It’s a wild card through much of the novel. The rebels know they need 13’s help, but how much can they trust them? You see glimpses of President Coin’s ruthlessness throughout, and hints that once in power, she could be just as bad as President Snow. In CHAOS WALKING terms, she’s like Mistress Coyle to President Snow’s Major Prentiss. A lot of people accuse Katniss of being dim, but she was on to Coin, and did what she had to do to sideline her. If Katniss’ decision to say yes to the new Hunger Games surprises you, it shouldn’t. It was just her way of getting Coin to let down her guard. I thought it was a fitting reminder that just toppling one bad government does not automatically lead to a good government rising up in its place.

Again, like in the first two installments, Collins excels at world building. I could almost feel those slimy breakfast beets slithering down my throat. But I have to admit, after 2 novels full of them, I did get a bit tired of all the fancy traps and mutt-ations. It was like playing a third Hunger Games, but this time on a much larger scale and with a lot more players and victims. It was so pimped up in fact, that the last mission in the capitol goes by in a blur of ultra-violence. Frankly, it sucked that there was not even a pause to mourn Finnick – especially after we just celebrated his wedding with him. He needed to have a “Rue” moment. (And you know who especially needed a “Rue” moment?! PRIM!)

I’m definitely going to have to reread all three books carefully, but for now, I am giving MOCKINGJAY 4 Zombie Chickens (HG and CF both would get 5, if you’re wondering). It might just be that I am slightly disapointed right now because I overhyped this so much.  Time will tell!

 
What are your thoughts on Mockingjay?

60 comments:

Amy said...

It seems most people feel disappointed most by the ending, and I guess I can understand. I had no particular expectations for this book to be honest. I was surprised by how it immediately engaged me, I was horrified by what happened to Peeta (it was worse than him dying in many ways) and delighted by the exploration of District 13 and the Capitol being two sides of one coin. It was definitely heavy but so very thought provoking to me. I loved the epilogue. I loved hearing the Meadow song again and the idea that the bodies and deaths of so many seeded the sort of healing and rebuilding that was possible. And I agree that since Katniss made such a big deal about not wanting kids b/c she feared the Hunger Games that having kids was actually almost a necessary way to show life goes on, and enough hope has been found to believe in continuing it.

Amanda said...

Interestingly enough, I DID question Katniss's motives for saying Yes to the last games. There were several reasons she could have done it, and I wasn't quite sure why. I do wonder if that last games took place - we never do find out.

I didn't see her dying as the rock star as being related to Prim's death, though. Katniss never wanted to be visible. She was always the sort of person who wanted to stay quietly in the background, protecting and caring for her family. She always avoided being in the spotlight as much as she could, so her sinking back into being a hermit at the end made perfect sense for me. Even if Prim hadn't died, I don't think she would have gone on to be the Mockingjay forever. She did what she had to do, and it broke her in every way. All she wanted was to go home.

I loved this book. I was scared going in because I really didn't like Catching Fire very much, and maybe that's what it took for this to really shine for me. I do wish we could have mourned Finnick, though...

Amanda said...

Amy - I'm wish you! I loved the ending and the epilogue. They both made perfect sense to me.

Sandy Shin said...

I haven't read Catching Fire and Mockingjay yet, so I'm bookmarking this review to return to later.

But from all the talks about it lately, I'm trying hard not to have too much expectation, because when I build up so much hype for a book, I end up disappointed more often than not. :)

Lenore said...

Amy - I'm fine with the ending, I really am. Really, I just wanted more sweet Peeta ;)


Amanda - I don't think the last games did take place, actually.

I understand Katniss being a hermit too, and that she would have been a hermit the whole time if it hadn't been for Prim. That's why I think the fire came from wanting to protect Prim and died when she did.

It's hard to say what might have happened if Prim didn't die. Maybe she would have been a hermit too - but I think there was no way for Katniss to continue to be a Mockingjay without that fire from Prim.

I really, really liked this book, and maybe I will come to love it in the reread.

FICTION STATE OF MIND said...

great review, i think upon reflection your feelings might change .This book had a lot going on but I loved every minute of it, I cant even start a review yet because its still so much with me :)

Michelle said...

Lenore, I had difficulty with this one as well. I thought there were any number of flaws. It definitely wasn't my favorite of the three. Very good? Yes. Worth the read? Definitely. But the best of the best? No, not for me.

Thoughts that stuck out for me:

I thought initially that 13 was going to end up really being the Capitol, while the Capitol itself was just a figurehead. Especially with all of the oppression and control and Coin's President Snow-like vibes. I felt like we never really got a full answer as to why living there had to be that way. Why couldn't people choose their own meals? Why couldn't they dress in their own clothes? Why was the structured schedule so important? Why did they have to live the way they did outside of the fact that the government wanted it that way. What made 13 any better than living in any of the other districts besides the fact that they were fed more regularly? We didn't get to explore much of that.

As much as I'm Team Peeta (and I am, and I like that they ended up together) > I think the realistic ending would have been to have had Gale and Peeta both lost to Katniss. One of them should have been the big influential death instead of Prim. Because really, what was the point of all Katniss did? She went into the games to save Prim but then she dies anyway? Ok, so maybe that's realistic, but what a missed opportunity not to explore that beyond Katniss kicking Gale to the curb and moving on with Peeta. Felt like a total plot point.

I also felt like the pacing was a off. All this time was spent building up to the revolt and then the revolution itself and the aftermath was done in two chapters. I love me some Peeta but I felt like one minute he was at the complete control of the Capitol's hijacking and then poof the next they were happy and married with kids.

Lenore said...

FSOM - That's true! I'm still processing. I just had to stay on my punishing dystopian August schedule :)

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lenore said...

Michelle - I am totally with you on the pacing. It was so rushed at the end. I prefer time to reflect, especially on major deaths. I don't mind that Peeta and Gale both survived, but it was kind of a copout that there wasn't a last attempt by Gale to see Katniss back in District 12, especially since they were supposed to be best friends.

The Prim thing bothered me at first too. I mean, it still does, but I've found peace with it ;)

I also would've liked to have known more about 13.

Christina said...

I am so glad you posted a spoiler-filled review of Mockingjay. You echoed many of my own sentiments. I loved the book, but there were definitely some issues. What bothered me the most were the skimpy responses to the deaths of Finnick and Prim. Both deaths, to me, were reminiscent of reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Sirius died. I was reading along caught up in the pace and you read right past the death, then have to go back up and reread a few paragraphs to figure out what the heck just happened. Prim's death was especially confusing: where did those parachutes come from and how was I supposed to know they were deadly? It did not help either that Katniss was mentally unstable at that point; I thought she had been knocked out and was dreaming those things.

I never could choose between Peeta and Gale for Katniss. If I was choosing one for myself, it would be Gale all the way. I liked that she was undecided and focused on surviving, because that is on the of the things that seemed most realistic and distinguished this series from the Twilights of the teen fiction world. The epilogue, as most are, was assuredly a bit lame, but worse have been written (see Crime and Punishment or Harry Potter 7).

I like your analysis of why she settled down. There was a definite sadness to all of her words in this book. Moreso, it seems, than in the other books perhaps. Her tone had changes and she became less of a fighter. Perhaps this supports her having always, deep down, been in love with Peeta. She never had both Peeta and Prim well and safe in this book; perhaps they both drive her fire. Gale said that she would choose the one she needed to survive: perhaps if both Peeta and Prim had died, she would have burned out entirely.

You should check out the song Set Free by Katie Gray. It came on my iPod by chance while I was reading and fits the novel almost perfectly. I know you had a big playlist for the series and characters, so I really think you would enjoy listening to this and pondering the lyrics.

Laura said...

One thing that kept going over and over in my mind was that even District 13 was playing the game with Katniss. Even though, she wasn't supposed to be in combat, the situations she was put in, actually put her in combat. Filming her around battle scenes was tantamount to being back in the Games. You just knew that nothing good would come out of it.

Regarding Prim's death. Why was it never explained why Prim was at the Capitol? Here you think she's home safe and then BAM! She's at the mansion. Without explanation. Seemed to predictable.

I think Katniss always knew that she would kill Coin. Boggs pretty much set forth in motion what eventually happened.

My only problem with the book was the telling rather than showing. I thought there was a lot of that in there. It also seemed very 'WAG THE DOG' to me too.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I'm satisfied with the end of this trilogy. There were a lot of surprises in it, which kinda surprised me. I thought that I had anticipated every move that Collins could've made.

It's interesting that reading this book made you more Team Gale, while I was a firm member of Team Gale and it made me more Team Peeta. I felt for Peeta and think that he came off stronger for me in this last book.

I was so sad about Finnick, but overjoyed to read that Annie was pregnant. (Hearing about a new generation made me wonder (hope) for a new generation of stories...)

Thanks for your review! I was nice to read one with spoilers in tact!

Stephanie said...

I just finished Mockingjay late last night and I really enjoyed it. I am undecided about the whole Peeta/Gale triangle. I got back and forth about who Katniss should choose. I understand her reasoning behind picking Peeta in the end, but it didn't seem genuine to me. And the epilogue really irritated me. It was completely unnecessary!

Lenore said...

Christina - I think it was implied that the parachutes were the work of Coin, and that Coin probably sent Prim to be part of the team too, knowing she would die, probably to further sideline Katniss in case she survived to be a threat. Thanks for the song tip!

Lenore said...

Laura - There was an awful lot of telling vs showing. It seemed like Katniss was drugged a lot and then would be told what had happened. It started to become almost comical!

Lenore said...

Mrs. D - I wouldn't say I became more team Gale, just that I could finally understand more where people were coming from. Still team Peeta all the way!

Lenore said...

Stephanie - I feel that the epilogue wasn't as strong as it could have been, especially the "5, 10, 15 years part". Could make you think Peeta was making Katniss submit to some housewife role - and it really isn't about that at all.

Mary (The Sweet Bookshelf) said...

I can honestly say I'm disappointed with Mockingjay. I read it twice just to make sure....

My favorite characters were like strangers to me. I hated that Collins took away my favorite characteristic of Peeta, he is constant. Always constant. I couldn't even tell it was him. Hijacking or not, his love for Katniss was so ingrained in him I thought he could never ever forgotten that. But he did. That really hurt me!!

I felt by Prim dying the whole point of Katniss entering the games in the first place was now null and void. The whole story, to keep her family safe, was no longer a component.

I've always been Team Peeta, but I also felt like she would have chosen Gale if it wasn't his bomb that killed her sister. We never got to see the moment when Katniss made the decision with whom she wanted to spend her life with. Gale just took himself out of the game and Peeta was all better all of the sudden??

Good book, but not great. Too sad. Too much war.nToo many politics. Katniss was drugged too much. It was nothing like what I was hoping for.

I'll always be a loyal Hunger Games fan, but Mockingjay will be left on the shelf while I enjoy the other books in the series.

Mary (The Sweet Bookshelf) said...

I could almost deal with all the things I didn't like if I just got me a sweet scene with Peeta. Something that shows Katniss made the decision, or shows when she knows she is in love with Peeta, and a lovely kiss to set it off!

The book really needed that. Instead it was very rushed and we got no details just highlights....I waited the whole book for some Peeta lovin'!!!!

Lenore said...

Mary - I was just discusing those same points with a friend of mine on the phone. We really need a sweet Peeta lovin' scene! I feel robbed.

And yes! That's exactly what bothered me about the Peeta hijacker scenes. They hurt me too, because Peeta was so unrecognizable.

The whole plot point of Katniss never being able to forgive Gale for making the plan that ended up killing Prim also seems way forced.

Rhiannon said...

I was really happy with the end, though it left me feeling very burnt out and sad. It really is still something i'm mulling over, the whole book had such a burning intensity for me.
But I liked the pacing, I felt like that really contributed to the real truthfull war aspect. Especially that there wasn't time to mourn people like Finnick (man that was sad!). But I can see why it's a 50/50 success, it was a very harsh book.
I linked to your review Lenore on mine of the same, here:
http://www.thediaryofabookworm.com/2010/08/mockingjay-review-with-nothing-you-cant.html

Lenore said...

Rhi - I see your point about it being more true to life, but in this case, I don't want true to life, I want the proper send-off for Finnick - if he truly has to go.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I TOTALLY agree with you about Katniss's decision about the games. When it very first happened, I didn't have enough trust in her and felt almost betrayed by both Katniss and Collins, but as soon as she assassinated Coin I understood and relaxed, that's the Katniss I know and love, the one who realizes that no part of the rebellion is that different from the arena.

Colleen said...

I really, REALLY enjoyed Mockingjay - until that epilogue. I think the book would have been better to end with Katniss and her "Real" statement to Peeta. A simple ending that leaves the future to our imagination. The epilogue just came off as predictable and cheesy to me and seemed out of sync with the rest of the book.

Lenore said...

Jen - I was so WTF at first. But I do think that explanation makes sense.

Colleen - At least Buttercup wasn't prancing around happily with his long line of kittens or something.

Meghan said...

I pretty much completely agree with you. I was satisfied by the ending, but I didn't really think the book as a whole lived up to the first two. I think I was just too tired of the violence and I found it really hard to recognize the characters (as someone said above me). I also really hated that there was no chance to mourn the characters that died towards the end - I'm not a fan of reckless pacing and I could have definitely done with a Rue scene; I think the book would have sat better with me then.

I still liked it and plan to reread all three, but overall, don't think this will ever match how much I like the first two.

Beth F said...

We touched on some of the same points and you make some valid points about Prim being K's motivation. But there was so much I didn't buy. Look for my spoiler post on Tuesday. By then so late, no one will be reading it.

Lenore said...

Meghan - That's how it is for me. There is just too little of "good" Peeta in this one for it to ever compare with the first two books in my heart.

Beth F - I will be reading it!!

Keren David said...

I was convinced all the way through that Buttercup was a mutt, planted so that Katniss would take him back to 13 and sometime he would explode or prove to be bugging everyone or something. Couldn't believe it when that didn't happen.
I love that you made the comparison with the Chaos Walking trilogy, because that's what I'd been thinking about. Two trilogies about war and what it does to individuals and societies. I felt somewhat cheated by President Coin's awfulness - just too neat somehow. But I liked the epilogue. War damaged people slowly rebuilding their lives.
Too much telling, too many indirect reports of stuff that's gone on elsewhere for me - I'd have liked a lot more of Peeta, Gale and Finnick and less Katniss. But overall a terrific trilogy.

prophecygirl said...

I too am disappointed.

Please forgive me for mentioning Breaking Dawn here (I'm not comparing, promise), but I feel the same about that as I do about Mockingjay - I feel like I don't know the characters anymore.

I've never been a huge Peeta fan, I'll admit that. But I've always liked him. In Mjay, he was like a completely different person - he didn't love Katniss like he used to, he tried to kill her (what a shock that was!), and it's just like he did a complete 180.

Now, the general pace and ending are my main problems. Everything gets built up so well, only for it to fall flat almost immediately. Katniss either blacks out or is drugged, so rather than see the aftermath of things, we're told about them after the fact. That annoyed me, because in the previous 2 books, we were right there in the thick of it. It's like key events in Mockingjay happened, and then that was that. Bang. Move on.

The end... well, what can I say about that? She ends up with Peeta. Really? Great, that I could have handled (I kinda guessed that's the way it would go). But there was no death? Now that disappointed me. I know Prim died (WTF was that?! Why was she there? And Gale's bomb? Pfft!), and what for? What a waste of the family values instilled in books 1 & 2 - Katniss now has no sister, never sees her mother and her best friend has moved to another district? Not how I thought things would turn out. It was also a very abrupt, rushed ending -- when did Peeta fully recover from the hijacking? When did Katniss decide, for sure, that he was the right choice? Did she even give Gale a second thought?

Also, why did we never find out her children's names? Did she feel so empty and hollow that she couldn't even speak of them? I found that strange, and I felt very detached from her, this girl with fire and a purpose who I loved so much in The Hunger Games.

Mockingjay is yet another case of an author loving her characters too much. Collins couldn't kill Gale or Peeta, so instead she went for Prim, who is good but not pivotal enough. I didn't find the lack of death realistic at all. I know Finnick etc. died, but their deaths didn't hit me hard. By the end of the book, and Prim's death, I pretty much felt nothing for any of them.

It's a good book in parts, and the first 150 pages are pretty solid. I don't think fan expectation helped with this one -- hype isn't anyone's friend in these situations. I tried my best to distance myself from it, but it still didn't work.

I'm sad I didn't enjoy it more. Unlike The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I have no desire to read it again. I'm giving it 3/5.

prophecygirl said...
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prophecygirl said...
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LanaTheIguana said...

I SO agree with you on the Finnick and Prim part. I cried so hard when they died, and it basically sucked that they didn't get the 'Rue' treatment ):
Then again, Rue's death was televised, and all of Panem was watching and when Katniss sang to her it was stirring up the rebellion.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This one was not as high a rating as the previous two for me either. I wonder if I just expected more and the wait made me develop my own ideas of how the book should be...

I need to read this one again and maybe I will have a clearer understanding.

Angiegirl said...

It's so fascinating to hear all the different responses people have had to this book! I'm intrigued with the people crossing over a bit on their understanding of both Gale & Peeta. Not that they've switched sides, per se. But I still think it's a pretty amazing thing that this story caused readers who maybe identified more with one of them to see the positive side of the other. I certainly did.

And, for the record, Gale got the shaft storywise in the end and no mistake. Yet somehow I was okay with it all. It felt right to me. Painful. But right.

Lorin said...

I definitely agree with you that Finnick and Prim needed a "Rue" moment.

I'm still processing, that's for sure. I read it so quickly, and the last section just went by in such a rush.

Ku said...

Love your review! I was crying when Finnick died. ;( I think it's even worse than Prim's death. And they absolutely deserved a Rue moment ;'(
Also, I think that the ending was too rush, especially the relationship between Gale/Katniss. I want them to at least stay friends.

Faysie said...

Thank you for posting a spoilered review! I love the chance to talk about this crazy book.

My biggest problem with this book is that it felt very much like the first two. The first two books are about Katniss dealing with being manipulated by the forces in her life (first by the Capitol, then by the rebels). In this one, she's manipulated by District 13 and Coin. I just felt like I'd read the manipulation story already, and I was hoping for a story of Katniss's independence.

Oh, and I WISH we'd found out EXACTLY what Boggs meant by "Don't trust them. Don't go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do." I kept hoping that Katniss would decipher that and form a new plan that would help Panem and free herself from manipulation. Instead, her mission failed and she had to rely on Snow to tell her that she had been manipulated yet again. It was awesome that she killed Coin, but that didn't make up for the fact that she spent yet another book being manipulated.

Strangely enough, I really liked when Peeta got hijacked. I loved the moment when Katniss realized that Peeta saw her for all her flaws. I think this is what kept me from being firmly "Team Peeta" before, because Peeta in books 1&2 idealized Katniss, and I hate relationships based on people idealizing each other. I just wish we'd seen a good love scene to really cement that Peeta loves Katniss flaws and all, instead of that rushed ending.

All that said, I do still love the trilogy, and I'm glad I own the books. I'm hoping that upon a re-read I'll like Mockingjay for what it is, rather than being disappointed in what it isn't ;-)

Alexander Bennett (Tales of a Teenage Book Lover) said...

I kinda really didn't like it...

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Hm...I like how you explained Katniss losing her fight after Prim dies, since that was the initial impetus for her fighting. That might help me come to terms with her very drab exit from the new regime. I admit to being very disappointed that she didn't do anything after Prim dies (except kill Coin). I don't mind that she retired quietly, but why didn't she do anything to help make sure the new and then new again leaders didn't just blow it again?

Alyce said...

I agree that Katniss said yes to the new Hunger Games only to placate Coins so that she would let her guard down. It's the only explanation that I find suitable to her personality.

I thought the ending should have had more detail before we jumped to the epilogue. I wanted more about Gale's new life, about Katniss's mom, about Peeta's miraculous recovery, and yes - more about Prim! Boy did she get shortchanged in this book.

Alyce said...

Oh, and when I was reading about Peeta trying to kill Katniss I was thinking, "Uh-oh, Lenore's not going to like this!" :)

Lizzel B said...

Your review definitely nails it. I couldn't give Mockingjay 5 stars either, despite the 5 stars I would give to HG and CF. It bothered me that I couldn't cry during MJ. Not once. And believe me, I wanted to. I wanted to mourn the loss of fabulous characters we'd come to adore, like Finnick and Prim, but when they died, the action just kept chugging along, and I wasn't able to sit in my sadness like I could in HG when Rue died. We don't get that quiet moment to mourn. I have mixed feelings about the ending too. I was always Team Peeta, and was happy she chose him, but it just felt so god awful empty by the end of the book. And I understand that war just sucks the life out of you, and that maybe it feels safer to be cold and distant than to actually feel your emotions, but the WHOLE book felt that way to me. And even at the end, it never got out of that rut. And I was sad for Katniss, who had lost so much, and yet couldn't escape her nightmares. She seemed a sad and lonely person, despite her husband and children. At the end, we don't get to see her interacting with any other great characters, like Johanna (loved her!) or Annie or her mom or even Haymitch really. I wanted to know that Katniss still had those bonds, that she had hope. And I suppose the fact that she had kids meant to give us hope. But it just didn't seem enough.

Charlotte said...

I was so bored with the endless violence toward the end that I was just skimming...and totally missed Finnick's death. Sigh.

The thought of Paw Paw Haymitch totally cracks me up, though! Thanks.

Sam said...

I thought the ending was rushed, and while I did like the outcome, I just felt depressed when I finished.

Topher said...

I agree with everyone!

But really, I felt very much like a few others who didn't buy some of what happened, or were annoyed with the drugged Katniss - mainly I wanted it to NOT be another arena book. It was. And that was the point, but not one that I cared about...

Great review and conversation!

Florinda said...

I like your Katniss/Frodo comparison. There were times while reading Mockingjay that I was reminded of what the Shire was like when the hobbits went back there at the end of the The Return of the King.

I agree that there was a bit too much "tell" as opposed to "show," but this is a first-person narrative, and it makes sense to me that there would be events affecting Katniss but not including her. She can't be present for everything and would have to hear about some things after the fact (although being drugged and out of it so much may have pulled her out of action that should have included her.

I am NOT a fan of the epilogue, but overall I wasn't dissatisfied with how Collins wrapped things up.

Lenore said...

Keren - That's hilarious that you thought that about Buttercup. Now that you mention it, I sooo wish that would've happened - ha!

PG - I will read it again, especially after having read so many different thoughts on it. I haven't read Twilight, nor do I want to, but MOCKINGJAY must be way better than the monstrosity that is BREAKING DAWN (or so I hear).

Lenore said...

Lana - I would like to think that Katniss would've sang to Rue even if it hadn't been televised. I so hated Finnicks death. The lizard mutts are just the worst. HATE THEM.

Sheila - I really had high expections but no specific need for anything to happen (except that Peeta NOT die).

Lenore said...

Angie - We need to have a deeper talk about this at some point!

Lorin - The last 1/3 went by so fast!

Ku - I didn't even really get that Finnick died in that moment. It just happened so fast.

Lenore said...

Faysie - You make some excellent points. Thanks - it helps me see the hijacking in a new light. Still needed some more Peeta lovin' though. Guess I have to read HG and CF for those...

Alyce - that was such a shocker to me, Peeta trying to kill Katniss.

Liz - Not enough is right. I needed to see more of healing as well.

Lenore said...

Charlotte - I totally know what you mean. Endless violence also bores me. And I never liked the mutts - that was my least favorite part of the original.


Topher - that's the thing, it WAS sort of an arena book with all those weird traps in the capitol. It seemed so weird to me that the capitol would have such things there that would harm its own people.

Florinda - That's def. part of the trouble with first person narratives. I really don't think it was necessary to drug Katniss THAT much though.

Anonymous said...

I am very dissapointed from the third book...I really adore the other two but this one makes me feel sad....

Lily Child said...

I agree with much of your post. Coin was a wild card, I am glad Katniss distrusted her. Katniss might have ended up with Gale had it not been for the bombing. I HATED the portrayal of Peeta in this book! I was saddened to see the death of Finnick glossed over! I too gave this a 4/5 rating, where as the other 2 books in the series received a 5/5. I think, much like you, I over-hyped this one and expected too much. :(

The Witty Librarian said...

I found Mockingjay to be an interesting finale to the series, and I've been enjoying reading the reactions to it.

What I liked about the book, and what I think everyone is reacting to, is that it was so unexpected. This book wasn't so much about Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, but about war. It seemed to examine all aspects of war, particuliarly modern warfare- how it effects soldiers, how innocents get caught in the crossfire, how friends die so fast you can't even mourn them, how every person has their own motives and no side of the war is completely in the right, how the media can warp people's perceptives of things, and how everyone changes because of war.

I think in presenting war, Collins did a fantastic job, but I think many readers will be taken aback by the fact the Katniss does not have center stage, but the war does, and that the Team Gale/Team Peeta thing actually came up several times as a mockery- as in, "How can you think of romance when a war is going on?!"

Overall, I can't stop thinking about the book, and I believe that is the sign of a very, very good book!

writerspet said...

I didn't enjoy this as much as you, although you picked out many of the same flaws (that I guess just bugged me more). I got the same sense with the Peeta/Gale resolution. It's not like we got a bolt of lightning - that she LOVED Peeta more. It was more that he 'won' by default, because Gale was deemed unsuitable.

Anonymous said...

I love this review and the posts after it! I just finished the story and was extremely dissapointed. As I got to the end, I was counting the pages and thinking to myself, "How will this wrap up in ten or so pages?"

I would have liked to see a lot more Gale. I've always liked Gale, even if he wouldn't end up with Katniss. Petta and Gale should have been in it more.

The one thing I loved about the first and second book is that Katniss never stopped fighting and doing everything she could think of to make things right. It seemed like in mockinjay that she just gave up and wanted to die in the whole story.

I still LOVEE the first two books though!

mel u said...

I just finished book one-I liked it quite a bit-question is as I have read he reviews and know the basic plot action-can I skip book 2 and go right to Mockingjay-what I like best about Hunger Games is the world building aspect of it-not so much the characters

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you all are saying, however I was not upset that Peeta was hijacked and lost his mind. I liked the fact that he was able to overpower his mixed memories with is morality that defines his character. The thing I was disappointed about was Katniss’s reaction to it. I thought that his hijacking would be a perfect time for her to realize that she loves Peeta and how much she needs the real Peeta back. Which leads me to the disappointing end to the love story. It is like she never really chooses Peeta it just ended up being so because Gale gave up.
Another thing that really disappointed me was the fact that Katniss’s mission to assassinate President Snow was pointless. That the journey through the rigged streets and sewers with the sacrificing of many lives (like Finnick who I really grew on during the book) were all because of nothing. The capitol ended up being over thrown without their help, I really don’t understand Collins reasoning.
Overall I thought the book was amazing. However one of the main reasons for my initial disappointment was because of the, how should I say this, “purpose” of the book. I was ready to read about Katniss’s glory in her help to overthrow the Capital and her fight for a brighter future. But what I ended up reading was a statement on the mental and physical effects of war. It also emphasizes the questioning of humanity. The rebels, especially Coin, end up being just as bad as the Capital. Katniss says herself “Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change now.” And now with the vague ending I can only hope they ended up forming a democracy.