Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12.
I have to admit that I had mixed feelings about this book , which is how I felt about the series in its entirety if I’m being completely honest. I absolutely loved the first book—so much so, in fact, that on my first evening ever setting foot in Germany, a country I had longed to visit for years, I stayed in my hostel room until I finished reading The Hunger Games. It took me over a year to get around to reading Catching Fire, however, and when I finally did I was disappointed. I hadn’t really expected to be as amazed as I had been with The Hunger Games, but there was some part of me who wanted to continue to be blown away. That said, I can’t say that I really expected to like Mockingjay, since I anticipated the trend to continue.
I felt that most of the book was largely predictable, and this bothered me immensely. Things happened the way I expected them to happen—this was mostly due to the fact that Collins set up the plot in the previous two books so clearly as to leave little room for twists. Upon finishing the book, I think that was intentional. Katniss was finding the course of events to be fairly predictable, and when her worldview shifted toward the end of the series, so did ours in a rather dramatic turn of events. It was surprising to us because it was surprising to her. While I didn’t particularly care for what happened or the fact that I was fairly bored until then, I can’t deny the craftsmanship of the writing to be able to pull it off so fluently.
On the note of feeling bored: this was intentional for reasons other than predictability too, from what I can tell. This book is clearly an exposee on Katniss’ healing process. The events of the narrative and the direction of Katniss’ thoughts make it seem as though she is healing, but I think she is just still numb, and the writing is crafted to match that. This is something that impressed me with Collins’ writing from the very beginning, and it was particularly evident in The Hunger Games as Katniss’ character grew more and more hardened. I think there was an effort on Katniss’ part in Mockingjay to come back out of that hardness, but she just succeeded in digging the hole deeper, so to speak. I’m impressed with Collins’ ability to portray that emotion (read: emotional scarring) in her narrative of Katniss’ character.
I’m not even going to talk about the love triangle with Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. It annoyed me. Particularly in its conclusion in the epilogue—on that note, quite frankly, I don’t think the epilogue was really all that necessary …
Now my number one complaint: I think Collins’ point, if there was truly a point, was made in The Hunger Games incredibly successfully. I know that the plot continued out into the trilogy, but the meaning behind the story was already done and gone. There wasn’t as much keeping me interested. There were no new insights in the later books, just the resolution of the plot which followed a rather inevitable direction with some relatively minor deviations.
For all of my complaints, Collins is still an incredible writer, and I have to give her credit for it.
(Thanks R. A. Stark for talking me through some of these points while I was reading it and losing my patience. Your insight was greatly appreciated.)
Posted on September 7, 2013, in Dystopian/Futuristic, Young Adult and tagged book reviews, books, catching fire, dystopian, hunger games, mockingjay, suzanne collins, YA, young adult. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.