on 29 November 2011
I have to side with all the five-star reviewers!
I enjoyed reading this SO much! I thought that the characters, who we have learnt to love in the previous books, developed new layers to their personality - Peeta in particular! A lot of other reviews have suggested that Katniss is unlikable and that she becomes weak and 'whiney', but I found her one of the most relatable characters BECAUSE of her flaws. Her reactions to the trauma that she suffers makes this one of the most gut-wrenching books I've read.
I think that the source of a lot of disappointment for the other more negative reviews is that this story has a non-conventional ending. I think the ending may have alienated a lot of people as it's not a stereotypically 'happy ending' but, personally, I found this a fantastic thing! With other series of books I've read, notably Harry Potter, although I loved them, I found myself asking just how much of a happy ending there could be for the main characters when so many bad things have happened in their lives. I loved the bittersweet ending of Mockingjay, where we see a world still affected by the traumatic events of the past.
I think that in comparison to a lot of (dare I use the phrase) 'Young adult' fiction that shows a dull love triangle, this book shows that no matter what happens, there is always hope and I found this to be a refreshing message. This book won't be everyone's cup of tea but I would encourage everyone to read this book - but maybe ask them to forget about the conventional ending that they were probably expecting.
There are flaws in this book, don't get me wrong, but I would challenge anyone to find a perfect book. For me, I review a book depending on whether I felt anything for the characters and whether I would read it again. By those criteria, it deserves every one of those 5 stars.
I hope that this has been helpful in some way!
So, Mockingjay. I'm not going to lie - I am addicted, obsessed and completely loyal to this trilogy, so my review is reflective of that - but even so let me tell you, this book did not exactly bring me joy. It evokes a lot of emotions, yes but I was crying not smiling at the end of it.
Mockingjay stays true to its dystopian origins. While a lot will not agree with me, I feel that the grimness of the book is a part of its strength. In true dystopian fashion, it explores the downfall of human conscience and displays the worse of our attributes; like Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I was appalled by many of the events in the book and at points felt sick at the ability of the characters to act as cruelly as they do. At times I felt that Mockingjay borders on unbearable - exactly how grim can a book be? It seems that nothing close to happily ever after can be associated with this book, because believe me, it can be depressing.
I can't help but comment on all the political implications on this book, because the trilogy is far beyond just Katniss' story. The workings of the rebellion and the fight for freedom takes a bulk of the book and the tension spirals out of control in many of its pages.As the mockingjay, Katniss traverses the thin line that divides both sides. I love the twisted, wicked feel of the battle because that was exactly how I imagined it to be. Not only full of secrets, but full of dark aims and uncertainties.
There is a lot I can say about how the characters' fates are sealed. We know beforehand that there will be deaths; what we do not know is who will die. Or exactly how many. As it turns out, no number of speculations could possibly have prepared me for the depressing turn of events in Mockingjay. Unfair will not even begin to cover what I think, because really I felt as if the characters were oppressed. Their circumstances were too heavy to comprehend experiencing, and the book does not give them what happiness they were due. The strength of characters is evident here, as clearly as their weaknesses. At this point, we readers are already very attached to the characters, so extreme reactions are expected. When I found out exactly who dies, I literally screamed and cried and wished the words changed. It was not supposed to happen, that was my primary reaction. There was a sense of hopelessness and helplessness and surely, you have got to be kidding? I felt as if I was killed right along with the character(s).
It was even more painful to read about the fates of those who were indirectly responsible for those deaths. And while I was not happy with the decisions of some of the major characters, I can understand the rationale behind it. It was not easy to pretend to be in their shoes and emphatise, but to comprehend the depth of pain and grief is, and that understanding is what makes it seem like a true decision. Depressing, but I felt that the portrayal of the damages to the human persona is not only accurate but also vivid, I believe Mockingjay stays true to its origins.
The ending I felt is slightly too rushed for my liking and too much too short. I am not sure I approve with what happened to some of the major characters, because towards the end I felt the need to know more about how they fared. I needed details, further insights and I don't think that was exactly granted. The ending is open to interpretations and leaves a lot to the reader to ponder and imagine. It is not happy per se, but as close to happiness as a dystopian trilogy like this one can be. I'm going to go ahead and say that the ending be-fits the feel of the trilogy. Had it been a flowery happy ever after, I would have much disliked it, because then it would appear as if it was only made to please the readers. It's not the best possible ending, but I can envision it happening following the events of Mockingjay. So it is a neat ending I guess. Still, I needed more!
I'm sure Mockingjay is part evil - it gave me such a terrible case of withdrawal once I finished that I did not know what to say or do - and that was on top of all the other emotions the events in the book evoked! There was a sense of 'now what?' that hovered over me when it was over, and I was emotionally-drained. Which means it's a good book, a great trilogy and a worthy read. Which means I am still hooked to it, and will probably always be. Which means Katniss' story is unmissable. Prepare to scream, kick and cry with this final book.
on 10 February 2013
As loads of other reviews have said, this novel was very unsatisfying in it's ending. The build up with the previous two books and even up to the middle of this book created a springboard platform for the ending to be great. Instead Miss Collins decided to leave nothing with a satisfying or even justified end. She killed off good characters (mainly Finnick). She ruined the love triangle by leaving Katniss with Peeta, who it appeared she never loved anyway, and just binned off Gale to District 2 as if he didn't even exist in Katniss's life. And how events developed with overthrowing President Snow in the end was awful! It almost gave an impression of nothing changing at all for the better, with the rebels in control!
Overall, I felt very frustrated at the conclusion of this trilogy. The lack of storytelling finesse was mind boggling. It should not have been published without a serious revision to the storyline.
on 8 October 2012
I loved the first Hunger Games book. Liked the second. Hated the third. Probably hated it all the more because it is such a let down after the first two. There was so much potential to wrap the story up well and make a really dramatic statement, but this book is just filled with complex, interminable and pointlessly detailed battle scenes, and Katniss having a completely uncharacteristic breakdown. If you have read the first two, don't bother with this one, it'll ruin it all for you. I'm feeling quite bitter about that.
I think the problem is that Ms. Collins was rushed. As a writer myself, I know about deadlines, and I think that with the first two books selling like the new Twilight, she was put under too much pressure to get book 3 out as quickly as possible. It shows in that some of the writing really is quite juvenile and unpolished. I felt a bit like a teacher saying to her "I KNOW you can do better than this." I really wish she'd told her agent, editor, publisher and readers where to get off and taken all the time she needed to make a really satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.
SPOILER ALERT: To save you having to buy and struggle through this book, I'm going to summarise what happens.
District 13 is alive and well and underground, and Katniss is taken there following the end of book 2 where her mother and Prim are living with the other survivors of District 12. It's ruled over by President Coin, who asks Katniss to be the symbolic mockingjay to unite the districts against the capital. Katniss does so, but starts to realise that Coin is just as corrupt and cruel as Snow and would be just as much a tyrant were she to gain his power. The Districts do all rebel, all-out war ensues with huge loss of life. During the battle Katniss sees a cloud of little parachute bombs kill a group of children, and then sees the unexploded bombs go off a few minutes later to kill the medics - including Prim - who have rushed in to help the survivors. Having heard this tactic discussed in District 13 she realises that this atrocity was committed by Coin, not the Capitol as Coin later claims.
When the Districts have won President Coin suggests reinstituting the Hunger Games - using the Capitol's children - as punishment for how they treated the Districts. Gale supports this idea (and Coin) but Katniss feels it makes them just as bad as the old regime. Still reeling from Prim's death, however, she agrees that the people responsible for killing her sister should suffer.
The execution of President Snow is staged and Katniss is to be the one to kill him since this was part of her terms for being the mockingjay. Instead, however, she shoots her arrow into Coin.
Snow dies from his mystery illness and Katniss goes into isolation in District 12 to have a completely uncharacteristic mental breakdown. Peeta is with her, since he too is messed up from torture by the Capitol. Twenty years later Katniss and Peeta are married with two little children and still living in the rebuilt District 12.
on 9 July 2012
I gave the first two books 5* as I genuinely felt they were both truly amazing. Sadly I can't say the same for the final book of this trilogy. Towards the end of the book it felt VERY rushed and there were plenty of open-ended 'scenes' which I felt could have been handled better. It's such a shame because it could have been something great but sadly it feels quite incomplete.
Some minor spoilers within.
I have read the hell out of these books in the past week - all three of them. It's a tremendously satisfying series of books and every single one of them was hugely enjoyable. However, the last book suffers (a little) from several issues. The first is that it just doesn't feel as coherent as the first two - without the driving force of the Games themselves, it has to be a very different book and the characters don't feel quite so credible to me. The second is that the ending seems to undermine most of the central messages I took from the book. It just doesn't gel - it's a jarring misstep to my sensibilities. The third is that the horror of the central plot-line loses a lot of its impact with the half-hearted way in which events are described. Certain characters, I feel, deserved better in their final send-offs.
Don't get me wrong - it's still an intensely good book, and a reasonably good cap-stone to a tremendous trilogy. It doesn't take away from how good the first two books are, and it stands up well as a book in and of its own rights. It's just I came away from it feeling a little colder than I think I would have if some other paths had been taken.
At the end of the second book, Katniss and co. have relocated to the rebel city of District 13, the city that the Capitol maintained was destroyed. From here, the characters plot their attack against the hated Capitol and President Snow, joining in the rebellion that's now taking place in all of the Districts, for a showdown between President Snow and Katniss Everdeen....
I thought this book had potential and hoped that it would be an improvement on the second book, a lacklustre sequel to the brilliant first book. While the story of "Catching Fire" felt like it was dragging its heels, "Mockingjay" doesn't even bother to disguise its weariness. Suzanne Collins basically gives up in the third book, she (and when I began reading it, me as well) just wants it to end. She's out of ideas.
First off, why is the rebel city basically another version of the Capitol? They're a group of people who escaped the Big Brother/tyrannical rule of the Capitol only to replicate it almost entirely in their new, separate city. I don't understand why Collins made this choice, doesn't she want us to like the rebels at all? It'd be like in Star Wars if there were two Darth Vaders fighting each other - which one do you root for?
But that detail slips by as you realise how slow the pacing of the book is. Katniss spends pages and pages recovering from her injuries before heading off to view a battle scene and becoming injured again. So she has to recover all over AGAIN. With the focus on Katniss who is unable to leave the safety of the rebel stronghold, this allows Collins to avoid writing a potentially riveting scene of Gale and Finnick leading a covert op to the Capitol and bust out Peeta. In fact, a lot of action and exciting scenes are avoided entirely by Collins who either can't be bothered or doesn't feel she's up to writing them. So instead we get to read about Katniss recovering from her injuries, playing with her cat, blah blah zzzzzzz....
And if you think Collins was out of ideas in "Catching Fire" when she instigated another Hunger Games to liven things up, wait until you realise that she pulls out that trick again with this book. Yes, you read that right, there is ANOTHER Hunger Games in this book! Except it takes place in an urban setting, in the streets of the Capitol, but it's still very, very contrived.
The final battle is very sketchy. Once Katniss and Gale make it to the President's Mansion, an explosion renders Katniss unconscious and the reader finds out about the victory in a sort of brief outline, with a lot of exposition from Plutarch. Once again, Collins fails to write what was potentially the most memorable scene of the series, and I don't know why she didn't. It just feels lazy and, to go back to the Star Wars analogy, what if instead of focusing on blowing up the Death Star the film was about Princess Leia sitting in her cell by herself doing nothing?
This being the final book in the trilogy, characters will die and Collins gleefully kills off characters she's built up, once the attack on the Capitol finally gets going. But don't expect anything memorable, the characters (and one really major one) are dismissed in a line or two and then the story moves on. Even Gale isn't spared from this treatment, though he survives, he disappears and is given a line at the end and that's it - so much for Katniss and Gale's special friendship!
What really bothered me though is the lack of triumph at the end. The evil Capitol is overthrown, peace and equality and freedom now reigns, but there's no feeling of success once you put the book down. You don't care that the rebels won because they were mostly unpleasant and unlikeable throughout. Katniss is miserable throughout as well so you don't feel good about her because she doesn't feel good. There are no more Hunger Games and yet rather than feel glad, you just wish they'd bring it back because the characters are so boring without it.
This third book stands in stark contrast to the first book which was hugely entertaining and thrilling to read while this third one is a chore to get through for very little enjoyment and a very poor ending, which is very disappointing, as I really wanted all of the books to be as brilliant as the first. However, Suzanne Collins' inventiveness didn't hold up as the series went on and instead of going out with a bang the series sputtered out like a damp firework. So much for the mockingjay, I'd suggest anyone contemplating reading the trilogy to just stick with the first book and move on.
on 4 October 2010
I found this trilogy by accident, but was hooked the instant I started reading. Mockingjay is the final book in the trilogy and more than lived up to expectations - the plot was thrilling and got the reader emotionally involved. Also, unlike many series', this book provides a decent conclusion, so that you are not left disappointd, even if you want the series to continue. If you've read the first two books, you really have to read this, and if you haven't then I suggest that you do.
on 7 July 2014
I greatly enjoyed the first two books. Not the most original idea or piece of writing, but all in all very enjoyable, well plotted and written. Not sure though what has happened with the third and final book, its as if there were no editors and the whole book was rushed to the market. Its overplotted, violent, nonsence and just painful to read through. On top of it its quite predictable, I guessed half through the book what would happen at the end. I am from a former communist country, i.e. I lived through a dictatorship when I was a kid, and I find some of the ideas on the dictatorship in this third book plain ridiculous. I know, authors are totally entitled to create their fiction as they like, but for me it simply did not fly. I hope the movie makers do a lot of heavy editing, else the movies would be a flop imho.
on 22 October 2013
Have to agree with everyone else in this section - although we seem to be in a minority. The first book was very good and I was interested to see where it would go. The second one was frankly a bit dodgy, a pale imitation of the first book with far too much emphasis on clothes, makeup etc.(which I'd only just about tolerated in the first book). The last book was quite honestly bizarre. There was a bloody great revolution going on and what did we hear about? More clothes, more makeup, what lines she said for the camera...who the hell cares? I know propanganda is important in modern-day warfare, but it's hardly centre stage. She was supposed to be a strong confident woman blah blah blah. Strong confident women don't twitter on about clothes and makeup. They're involved in real action. Very disappointing.