People planning on reading this book will be totally unaffected by any reviews. At this point, you either love the series or you don't, and if you don't, you probably won't pick up the book regardless of what anyone says.
On that note, I love the Hunger Games series. It was one of the best series I've ever read. It was beautiful, I waited and waited for Mockingjay to come out, and here it is.
Now to the book- Mockingjay. It was okay. It was depressing and slightly boring. I didn't like the ending. I can't say much more since it will spoil it for those who have yet to read it.
Back to the series, did I mention I love the Hunger Games series? Regardless of what I felt about Mockingjay, the series was incredible.
Series 10 stars out of 5. (Yes, I did write that).
Mockingjay- 3 stars out of 5.
A somewhat disappointing follow-up to Collins' previous Hunger Games novels. Katniss is basically trapped the entire time: hospitals, bunkers, rooms, etc. Collins doesn't allow her to do what she does best - fight. The bloodbath at the end rivals only that of the final Harry Potter book.
Her point - and I understand it - is that war is ugly and horrid and to be avoided, innocents die along with the guilty; everything comes at a cost. The entire book left me cold and feeling isolated and alone. I know this was the author's point.
***Contains a spoiler***
Collins somewhat redeems herself for the lackluster novel with a touching three, final pages, in which she tells of the future, which, despite the scars the survivors bear, is not dark at all. This book needed that final positive note; otherwise, it would have been something to read to psych you up for suicide.
This is the third, and final, book in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. If you read the first two books, you will read this one. All I can say is to be prepared for one heck of a ride. A lot happens in this book and Collins doesn't hold off on killing off a lot of people.
The book starts where Catching Fire left off. Katniss is in District 13 with Gale, her mom, and her sister Prim. The Rebel group based in District 13 is trying to get Katniss to take up the Mockingjay symbol and become the face of their revolution. Katniss is unsure if she wants to go this route or not. Peeta is still missing and presumed captured by President Snow and being held in the Capital. Katniss's journey eventually leads to the capital itself and a final face-off with President Snow.
This is a hard book to review without spoilers but I will give it my best shot. The pace of this book is relentless. Collins does not pull punches when it comes to killing off large groups of people, as well as people we love and care about. This is a dark book, and that is putting it mildly.
As far as characterization goes we begin to see even more of what defines Katniss as a character; she is not sentimental, she is a survivor foremost and that it what sets her apart from others. A lot of the decisions made by Katniss in this book are driven by that personality trait. In fact at one point Gale and Peeta are discussing Katniss and who she will "choose". Gale sums it up perfectly when he says something to the effect of "Katniss will choose whoever she can't survive without."
On to other characters. The ruthlessness we saw in Gale at the end of the Catching Fire is built upon in this book. Gale is ruthless and practical to the point of dislike at times. He begins to look like a character that likes what Katniss stands for, rather than who she is. At the end of book two I was Team Gale all the way. I thought that Gale and Katniss had more in common in survival instincts and could pull off a good relationship based on those characteristics. As this book starts and continues, we see a side of Gale that is more ruthless and dispassionate than ever before.
In order to avoid spoilers I won't say much about Peeta, except that he is back in the story for the second half of the book.
Collins does an excellent job at showing both sides of the story. You get to see both the good the rebel forces do, and the harm they cause in rebelling against the Capital. As Katniss and team enter the capital, Collins relates the Capital takeover as yet another type of dome just like previous "Hunger Games" this is an interesting idea and ties the three novels together well. In each of them we see our teams of characters struggling to stay alive, doing things no one should have to do. In each book there are brutal deaths.
There's quite the twist at the end of this book. People may be surprised at who Katniss kills. All I have to say about this is that I was satisfied with the choice Katniss made, and had actually been hoping that Collins would have it play out that way. Katniss's actions at the end seemed like the best way to follow Katniss's beliefs, while trying to ensure the best ending for humanity as a whole.
The epilogue was interesting. It was kind of nice to get a definitive ending to everything that played out before. It wrapped things up nicely. Still, I didn't think the epilogue was necessary and I think the book would have actually been a bit better and more thought-provoking without it. As with the previous books the writing style of this book was incredibly readable and engaging; no matter people think of the plot, you have to admit Collins is one heck of a great writer.
Overall I thought this was an excellent conclusion to the series. Readers may not like how some of things play-out; but I thought they played out realistically and I liked the decisions Katniss made at the end...I thought her decisions really stayed true to the core personality trait of her character, which was to survive. I am eagerly awaiting whatever Collins comes up with next.
*** PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. PROCEED WITH THE UTMOST LEVEL OF CAUTION!*****
It's always an odd feeling for me when I come to the end of a series of books like this. The world I'd spent so much time in is gone as soon as the spine closes and the book is placed on the dusty bookshelf...The characters I'd bonded with, those I'd grown to love, admire, and in some cases despise, are gone for good, off to delight other eager readers. And I move on to another book and before long forget about 95% of what I'd read.
It's even an odder feeling for me when the series ends on a flat note, as I feel was the case with "Mockingjay". Perhaps Collins had set the bar too high with her first two books. I freaking loved "The Hunger Games" and while I was not blown away by "Catching Fire" I still thoroughly enjoyed it. As "Catching Fire" rumbled to its chaotic, cliffhanger ending I was certain that "Mockingjay" would be the proverbial icing on the cake, finishing out the trilogy in a spectacular, mind blowing finale. My friends, the cake was not iced and my mind was unfortunately not blown.
This is not to say that I didn't enjoy "Mockingjay." I did, although it was as flat as that open can of soda you placed in the fridge simply not to waste it, only to drink it the next day and immediately spill the rest of it out because it was...well...flat. Sigh. Anyway, you get the point.
A few things that bothered me:
- Gale's quick departure at the end of the book - After all of the build up around who Katniss would end up with it seemed odd to me that he was just simply removed altogether in the manner in which he was. I'm not one for sappy love stories but after reading 1,100 or so pages peppered with the Peeta vs. Gabe conundrum it just felt way too abrupt, as if even Collins herself got tired of waiting for Katniss to make up her damn mind.
- The Portrayal of Finnick's Death - I completely understand that Collins was trying to paint a picture of the horrors of war throughout the book...and honestly I think she did a great job of it. Hell, we saw a good deal of characters meet their demise in "Mockingjay." With that said, the manner in which Finnick's death was described, almost as if it was an afterthought really irked me. He'd become a rather important character, had finally been reunited with the love of his life, was awesome at tying cool knots, had saved the lives of Peeta and Katniss multiple times, and all we get is something to the effect of "Oh, and by the way, back there in the sewer Finnick's head was just ripped off by one of those rose scented lizard mutts. Carry On." I'm not saying I needed him to live (even if he was the Fabio of Panem)...it is war after all...but damn, let the guy die in honor.
- The Pearl - Am I the only one who thought that Katniss should have given Peeta the pearl to try and break him out out of his tracker jacker induced hysteria?
- The Propos - Didn't they get tiresome after a while? After reading two books filled with the tense fight to the death Games it grew rather monotonous reading about them acting like they were engaging in actual combat. I understand the rebels' need for the propos but this didn't necessary lend itself to thoroughly engaging reading.
- The Lack of another Hunger Games - Ha! Ok, I understand that there was no way in hell another Hunger Games could be held during this book. I honestly think though that what I found most engaging during the previous two novels was what unfolded during the Games. I'm not really sure what that says about me...enjoying all of the gory details of 12-18 year old boys and girls fighting to the death in the most deviously conceived environments, but there you have it. While Collins tried to equate the mission through the booby trapped Capitol to the previous Games it was not nearly as exciting or entertaining.
When all is said and done though this really wasn't a bad book. As I said earlier, I did enjoy it however I think my error was simply expecting way too much after the spectacular foundation that Collins built with the first two. The trilogy as as a whole was ridiculously entertaining and I'm thankful Collins took the time to create this world for us...even if she did rush a little through the last book.
I absolutely love this Dystopian series! I just burned through all three books. This final book was more about the strengths and weaknesses of humanity and parts were devastating. I was left stunned but I liked the ending. Amazing series! I will miss these characters and this world.