Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Mockingjay


Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: 3rd book in The Hunger Games series
Series Order: "The Hunger Games", "Catching Fire", "Mockingjay"
Type: Kindle e-book
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
First Published: August 2010
First Line: "I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather."

Synopsis: At the end of her second Hunger Games, Katniss is immediately whisked away to a rebel base.  While there, she struggles to meet the requirements put on her by the rebel leaders all the while trying to recover both mentally and physically from participating in two back-to-back Hunger Games.
Soon after arriving at the rebel base Katniss finds herself being touted as the Mockingjay, the figurehead of the rebel forces.  At first Katniss doesn't want the title of Mockingjay but she quickly changes her mind when she sees a broadcast of Peeta who has obviously been abused both mentally and physically by President Snow.  It's at that point that Katniss is determined to help the rebel forces if only to get a chance to personally kill Snow. 

My Thoughts:   I have to admit that after reading The Hunger Games (and loving it) back in the summer followed closely by Catching Fire (meh) I wasn't all that excited to jump into the third and final book in the series.  The second book didn't thrill me nearly as much as the first book and with the very mixed reviews of Mockingjay I thought I'd hold off. 
I have to admit that I probably shouldn't have left so much time in between the books.  I found it a little hard to dive back into the series and remember all of the minor characters.  Luckily, my two boys had read the trilogy before me (they've read the series twice already) so I could ask them any questions I had about the prior books. :)

What I'm finding is that Mockingjay is like Justin Beiber -- they're both very polarizing.  People either love them or hate them.  With Mockingjay, I'm somewhere between 'it was ok' and unfortunately apathetic.  In a word, this book was 'unfulfilling'.   I was expecting a big 'ta-da' kind of ending with some of the action, character development and energy from the first book as well as a good conclusion to the series.   Unfortunately that just didn't happen.
What's odd is that it felt like Mockingjay was split into two separate books.  The first two-thirds of the book were good.  The storyline kept me intrigued and I was eager to see how Katniss would handle being out of the Games.  It's the last third of the book that felt totally different and, quite frankly, lags.  If I'm being honest I felt like the ending was a let-down.  It was much too abrupt and confusing since it was told through the eyes of Katniss who has had more than her fair share of concussions making her observations a little clouded.    

The last third of the book also had a very bleak feeling to it.  It didn't help that Katniss is in a funk most of the book and seems very indifferent, like she has no fight left in her.  She spends an inordinate amount of time in the first part of the book hiding in closets and trying not to be the rebel leader.  That's not exactly the kind of heroine I was hoping for at the end of the series.  I was hoping for her to come out guns blazing!!  That being said, the poor girl was just in two back-to-back Games so she's bound to be a little wiped out physically and psychologically. 
I kind of wish Katniss could have caught a break in this book.  It was negative all the time and, while that may be a little more realistic, it makes for a downer of a book. Throw the girl a bone and give the reader some hope.
I will say that Collins didn't sugar coat the fighting and war.  It was brutally realistic and a lot more violent than the previous books.  Not all of the 'good guys' survive, people are left with life altering and permanent scars (emotionally and physically).  Unfortunately some of the deaths (specifically some of the rebels) are dealt with so quickly that I felt like I didn't have time to process them before the story moved on.  It would have been great to see some of the emotional aftermath of those deaths but they really weren't referred to again.

The war is the focus of this book (naturally so) but it was so in the forefront that the character development wasn't given the attention I would have liked.  I didn't feel like I had any emotional attachment to the characters this time around.  I didn't like Katniss -- she hasn't been my favourite character in the previous books -- but this time around she seemed downright cold (especially not helping Peeta and shutting out Gale). 
Normally I like a romantic triangle but I found that towards the middle of this book I just didn't care who Katniss loved or wanted to be with in the end.  Poor Gale was, yet again, not brought to the forefront so the reader could get to know him better.  He always seems to be in the fringes.  Also, her reason for not picking the one boy seems lame and trite.  Why can't she forgive one boy for numerous things but not the other??

There were no major surprises in the book (except for one of the deaths in the book).  I would have loved for the trilogy to go out with a bang.  Unfortunately it went out quietly and predictably.  While this wasn't my favourite book in the series I still highly recommend reading the first book which was extremely hard to put down.

My Rating: 3/5 stars

3 comments:

Mommydoodle said...

I'm of the group who loved all three books.
I had a hard time putting them down.
I wasn't all that surprised by Katniss behaviour
By the third book. She is after all a 17 year old girl
who has been forced to witness, participate in, and survive
unspeakable horrors. I thought her reaction was likely quite normal given her experiences (and far more deserving than bella's breakdown in New Moon!) Having said that, I agree, that part of the book did lag too long for me too. But then again it is teen fiction (and I can't wait for the movie!!) ;)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Anything is better than Bella's breakdown in New Moon lol. ;) Yes, I can see how it's a little more realistic to see how Katniss dealt with everything, I just didn't enjoy reading about it. :)

Kym said...

I just finished this trilogy. I enjoyed all the books. I thought her reactions were quite realistic. From book one the whole "love triangle" thing annoyed me, (as it did in Twilight! :) ) but then I had to remind myself that it is written for young adults, not old foggies like me!!
I did like the "do the right thing, even if it feels like too much work or too dangerous" theme that ran throughout the books. Hopefully teens who read them get that message as opposed to focusing on just the violence.

Lenny Kravitiz is in the movie. That's enough for me to go!!!!

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