Book Review: Mockingjay by Susanne Collins
After finishing Catching Fire, I had to read Mockingjay post haste. The ending of Catching Fire, which I won’t spoil in case you want to see the movie, left me with my jaw hanging like some Looney Toons character. I had to read the last chapter of Catching Fire twice because I was so dumbstruck by the turn of events!
By the time I got to Mockingjay, Susanne Collins’ first person present style no longer grated on me as much. I accepted it and dove into the story.
I have two chief issues with Mockingjay. The book was unevenly paced. At points, it slows down and really digs deep into a situation or character. Then it picks up to her usual break-neck pace, sometimes going even a bit too fast to really keep up with the action. But then it would slow back down, and Katniss has a highly introspective moment.
I also had a problem with the ending. This is a ‘me’ problem.
I will try to explain this without spoilers as best as I can. See the very end of the post for a spoiler filled explanation. I know why she had to do what she did. It gave her characters strong motivations for what they do in the end, and they needed that level of motivation to come to any lasting and satisfying ending, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. I keep thinking there had to be another way for her to accomplish what she needed to accomplish without it, but I can’t.
You see Collins brilliance as a writer toward the end of the book when she’s gives you an indirect look at how the Hunger Game may have come to be in the first place. Throughout the series, the reader has hated the games, see their wrongness, yet, as Collins explains how they may have come to be, I found myself nodding along and agreeing with the creation of The Hunger Games. It almost seemed logical!
Usually, as I get close to the end of a book, or a series, I can start to tell how it will end. As loose threads are tied up, the number of possible endings reduces. To Ms. Collins credit, she continued to offer twist after twist right up until the end.
I can’t imaging you’d be interested in a review of Mockingjay, unless you had already read the first two, and if the ending of Catching Fire didn’t have you chomping at the bit to read Mockingjay, little I can say here will sway you.
At the end, I felt about Katniss the way many of her fellow characters do which was summed up nicely in this exchange
“I doubt Coin knows what to do with me now that I’m still alive,” Katniss said.
“No one knows what to do with you, girlie,” Tigris said (page 327).
Live in That World?
If for some reason you haven’t read the series, I give it my strong recommendation. It’s an excellent read. However, the meme I saw on the internet does ring true.
- Star Trek fan: “I’d love to live in that universe!”
- Harry Potter fan: “I’d love to live in that world!”
- Star Wars fan: “I’d love to live in that universe!”
- Lord of the Rings fan: “I’d love to live in Middle Earth!”
- Hunger Games fan: “I’m good. Really.”
I hated that she killed off Prim! Ah!! But by killing Prim with Gale’s bombs, she drove a wedge between Gale and Katniss that couldn’t be resolved. Katniss could never get over Gale’s part in her sister’s death. It helped Katniss realized that what she needed was not Gale’s fire, but Peeta’s softness. As Katniss says, she has plenty of fire of her own.