Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

I'm back in commission. I just got back from San Diego, where I've been for the past five days. I left sunny, warm Minnesota for cold, rainy California. Doesn't seem quite right. I had an Internet connection at my hotel but it was super-slow, so I haven't done a whole lot of blogging. I'm ready to get back to normal.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost. (courtesy of Goodreads)


I think my review is pretty much spoiler-free.

I came somewhat late to the Hunger Games world, sort of.  I actually read Hunger Games several years ago - before it became super-popular. I really enjoyed it, but it's a genre that I really don't like - dystopia. Even when I think I will like a dystopia book, it is difficult for me to force myself to pick it up. So I didn't get to Catching Fire until about a month ago. I shouldn't have been surprised, after loving Hunger Games, to be thoroughly engrossed by the tale. I eagerly anticipated Mockingjay after finishing Catching Fire. Sadly, I was disappointed.

That's not to say that Mockingjay isn't interesting or engaging. It certainly maintains the page-turning quality of the other books. I like that Collins managed to create a "Hunger Games" like scenario without actually having a third Hunger Games. She managed to stick with a popular theme without making it too repetitive. I like that she doesn't shy away from the horror or violence. Nothing is glorified and no one is safe from death.

I really like Katniss. She is an atypical hero. A lot of people complain about the fact that she doesn't make decisions and that she is so unsure of herself. But that's exactly what I do like. Katniss is deceptively strong. She fights to save herself and those she loves, but it's really impulsive. It's like she's a hero despite herself. She doesn't have Peeta's charisma or even Gale's mature competence (although she's obviously amazingly smart and skilled). She's a loose cannon. You never get a feeling of bravado. It makes her more relateable. She's not trying to be strong and doesn't seek glory. She just snaps and things seem to fall into place. I like that she is no one's woman - other than the very few people she trusts, she is loyal to no one. Neither the Capital nor District 13 can claim her.

Now for what I didn't like...I thought the book petered out. I really didn't like the ending. It's like Collins gave up. It could have been better written. It could have been better plotted. Ironically, much of my problem with the ending is the opposite of the reason whyI like Katniss. She caused the catalyst that brought about the ending, but that was it - she just caused it. Everything else happened by other forces. Katniss didn't have the opportunity to come into her own, develop charisma, or really deal with all the awful things that had happened. And her choice between Gale and Peeta was such a let-down. It didn't feel romantic at all. Throughout the series the tension and romance between Katniss and Gale and Katniss and Peeta was fabulous - so fun to read - but Katniss's ultimate choice just felt like settling. I also didn't like the way Collins handled several of the deaths of prominent characters. Some characters that I really, really liked just disappeared without any fanfare. And others got far too much fanfare, in my opinion. I just thought that certain characters that were never developed as well as they should have been, so when they died, I really didn't care. If you're going to make a death such a big deal, you should work a little harder to really develop the character earlier in the series.

All in all, the Hunger Games is a fabulous series. Mockingjay was good as well, but just could have been better.

Rating: 3.5 / 5


  1. Really nice review Alison! I agree with you on the ending, events seemed to happen around Katniss as opposed to her being in the middle of them like the other books. And I wanted her decision between Peeta and Gale to be more definitive, she just sort of settled because he was there and everyone thought it made sense. I still really enjoyed the story overall and adore this series, but I wanted that same berries-in-hand decisiveness from her that she showed in book 1:)

  2. I just finished Mockingjay the other day and feel the same way!! I hated the way the love triangle was dealth with. I wanted Katniss to have to decide and feel some sort of passion behind her decision.

  3. I was majorly dissapointed in this book too. I like how you think about Katniss as a loose cannon and being no one's woman, I was still irritated at her for not making a choice though. It felt like being no one's woman was just happening to her. I totally agree with you about the way Collins unceremoniously killed off some people. It was like, "w're running, we're running, someone important is dead, oh, we're gonna go run some more". I felt like I had whiplash. I was also bummed about the way the romance got settled. How, again, she didn't even make a choice, it just kind of happened. It was one of the best love triangles ever written and it ended so blah. Total let down.

  4. Great honest review, Alison. I loved this book, but I found the end was very rushed after such a frantic book. I liked the epilogue, too, but parts just seemed...blah to me. I guess I wanted to see true closure.

  5. I too was disappointed by this book. I have yet to post a review on it because I am still trying to figure out what exactly I want to say.

  6. I really enjoyed the Hunger Games and Catching Fire and while I was waiting for Mockingjay to come out, I looked into what else Collins' had written. Her series The Underland Chronicles is seriously worth a read. They are a Juvenile Fiction, but a really great read nonetheless. I'm sure that you're generally swamped with books, but if you get a chance I highly recommend checking them out.


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