Mockingjay Hangover: My Review (Spoiler Alert)

[tweetmeme source=”sarahockler” only_single=false]**SPOILER ALERT! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!**

MockingjayGood morning (er… make that afternoon), readers! Like many of you who stayed up all night to finish one of the most anticipated YA trilogy conclusions in history, I am just waking up to face a new day. A day where the Hunger Games no longer exist, and where the bright Colorado sun seems completely unreal after so many hours in the dark dystopia of Panem. Coffee? Yeah. Today’s gonna be a 3-cup kinda day!

Here’s what I have to say about Mockingjay. And there are tons of spoilers here, so don’t read on if you don’t want to know what happens!

Let’s start with the good:

Collins did an incredible job conveying the post traumatic stress of the characters who’d endured not only the brutality of the Games, but the brutality of war and revolution — primarily, Katniss and Peeta. The nightmares, the anguish, the never quite finding their place or fitting in with their friends and family again. The sometimes inconsistent behavior and feelings. The self-doubt and suicidal thoughts. If Haymitch from the earlier books was any indication of how victors live post-games, I knew they’d be in for a rocky ride, regardless of the outcome of the story.

I also liked how each of the characters dealt with the justifications of war in different ways. Katniss was always conflicted. Gale was vengeful, but still retained his love for Katniss, which was to me one of the only things preventing him from becoming a total killing machine. Peeta was so far gone from the torture he’d endured at the hands of Snow that I doubted he’d ever come back. Prim found her footing as she matured far beyond her years, taking on the trade of heeler with energy, compassion, and skill. Haymitch and Katniss learned to really respect and care for one another, and their relationship was one of the most interesting in the trilogy.

The parallels between district 13 and the Capitol — that was another great element. As Coin’s motivations became more clear, as the rules in district 13 tightened, I was turning the pages with anticipation as to how this would play out. This part of the storyline had more potential than almost any other subplot… until it just didn’t. And here’s where the momentum of the story started to break down for me.

All the whispers, the hints at conspiracy, the foreshadowing and potential plot twists… it fizzled out, as if “the girl who was on fire” just kinda laid down in the rain. Instead of playing out these awesome political and mind-bendy plot lines, Collins overcompensated with shock value. She over-described some of the violence and gore and spent a lot of time telling us through Katniss about what war does to the mind, but she underdeveloped other parts of the story — important parts. Parts that held the series together and drove the action forward.

Katniss never fully came into her own in Mockingjay. In Hunger Games, she was a floundering yet passionate girl desperate to protect her family and stay alive. While she made a lot of mistakes, we loved her even more for them, because we saw her struggle, we believed her desperation and her motives, and we wanted her to succeed. We saw her near-double-suicide not as the easy way out, but the final spit in the face of the Capitol that had pulled the strings for so long.

In Catching Fire, the story was fast-paced and intense, Katniss still struggling but really maturing as a fighter and a person. She really could be the spark of the revolution, the girl from District 12 who could save the country from final, utter ruin. Like the rebels in Panem, I believed in her. I wanted her to take charge and lead. I get that she was damaged and confused. Grieving and afraid. Unsure of the role forced on her and how to move forward. But still, she seemed poised to fight the fight, in any way that she could. When she sent that message to Snow — YOU WILL BURN WITH US! — I thought, here we go. It’s on!

But after that brief spark, the fire in her seemed to die out. She spent most of the story hiding or running away, or simply following orders (despite her reminding us on several occasions about her inability to follow orders). She talked about some of the parallels between 13 and the Capitol, but this never went anywhere until near the end when Coin — who inexplicably had Prim killed but left Katniss alive, despite having tried to assassinate her with Peeta earlier — asked them to vote on whether to have another Hunger Games. And Katniss, despite the utter defeat of “things will never change,” her ongoing terrible struggles with the aftermath of killing humans for her own survival, and her sympathy for even armed members of the Capitol’s goon squad, votes yes? YES?! I was outraged, but then I thought she must have something up her sleeve.

But when she finally killed Coin, leaving Snow to die on his own, I was utterly let down. Not because of her choice, but because it wasn’t really a choice at all. It seemed random, because Coin happened to be in the line of fire (which also made no sense. If Coin was so afraid of Katniss, why would she arm the girl and then stand in the line of execution?), and Snow coughed and it reminded her of what he said about Coin manipulating them for her own gain, so she raised her bow and let the arrow fly. Yes, Coin had to die, and all the more awesome that it happen at Katniss’ hand, but… how much more powerful could this scene have been if Katniss actually made a choice? Instead, she kills Coin kind of on a whim, then tries for days to kill herself in the aftermath. Coin is dead, Snow is dead, someone else becomes president, and then — just like with the storm on the president’s mansion — Katniss is told about it after the fact. The storm on the mansion was supposed to be one of the most powerful parts of the book, but again, we’re told about it with Katniss after a bizarre dream/near-death sequence. I felt so disconnected from Katniss in this book.

In this kind of a story, a happy ending would seem a mockery. Even a sad ending with too much hope wouldn’t have worked. Children murdering children? Fighting an evil government for the survival of the human race? Not much room for bluebirds and rainbows after that. I liked that she went back to 12, that Haymitch was with her, that they made the book of the dead, that the districts were slowly rebuilding. But overall, I felt the ending was really weak. Yes, Katniss realized that Gale wasn’t right for her, but again, she didn’t have to make any choices. All of the struggles we’d predicted after the intensity and twists in the first two books simply fell apart in Mockingjay. Gale left with little fanfare — in fact, she seemed relieved that he was out of her life so that she didn’t have to chose, and she wasn’t the least upset by the fact that her best and oldest friend (and more) left without a goodbye (or even another word for the rest of her life). Peeta just showed up and kind of waited around until she finally took him in. Her mother basically vanished from her life. Katniss didn’t really grow or change. She just… fizzled. That’s the best word I can think of.

Have you read it? What do you think? Am I being to hard on Katniss? Too hard on Collins? Are you Team Peeta fans happy with the outcome?

36 thoughts on “Mockingjay Hangover: My Review (Spoiler Alert)

  1. I agree with a lot of this. The story was enough to make me excited and keep me reading, but I wanted her to have to make choices more often. The Peeta/Gale thing was a huge letdown for me: I wanted her to have to CHOOSE, not for one to die/vanish and her by default be with the later. I also agree that during the middle of the novel, she spends an awful lot of time just hanging around instead of formulating a revolution. I know she was a reluctant hero, but I wanted her to still BE a hero, not be shoved around by circumstance!

  2. I feel like Mockingjay ripped every single emotion I could possible feel out of me all at the exact same time.

    The first 3/4 of the book were amazing. Wrench-your-heart-out shocking twists, but the ending dissapointed me.

    The whole book she wanted to kill Snow. The last quarter of the book was her quest to kill Snow. Just when I’m preparing for a huge jaw dropping confrontation and climax of the story, BAM she wakes up and the war is over. I was so utterly dissapointed.

    The rest of the book she is in a depressed slump. This is totally understandable and expected, but it was so anticlimatic.

    The scene of Snow’s excecution was horrible. I thought Katniss was finally going to DO something. Anything. Instead she kills someone else, and Snow drops dead of his own accord.

    Overall, I still think it was amazing. No other book has made me feel so much before. And, I was always team Peeta.

  3. Great review! And I think I agree with everything you said. I still loved the book, but something was upsetting me about it (well, it’s an upsetting trilogy, duh). I think I was completely along for the ride until she and Haymitch said, “Yes” to another Hunger Game and, like you, I thought she had something up her sleeve. But she didn’t, did she? I’m trying to figure out if she knew along she was going to kill Coin, but I’m still not so sure what that accomplished and it did seem rather spur of the moment.

    Glad you’re talking about MOCKINGJAY, though! I read the book so quickly because I was worried about spoilers, but now, I have no one to talk to because so few people have read it!

  4. I kept feeling that Katniss was in a haze the whole time which seemed wrong for the final book. I wanted her to really lead and prove she was no one’s pawn. And though I am Team Gale, I felt that Team Peeta folks shouldn’t be that excited about how it ended. Katniss never really admitted her love for Peeta…there was never any real passion there – it could have been there and Collins could have convinced me that Peeta was really right for her but again…in decision which led to a decision. And I felt that Gale was cast aside and sent off.

    I think you nailed most of my feelings…nice summary/review.

  5. I was very satisfied with Mockingjay, and I think a bit part of the criticism comes from the fact that Suzanne Collins showed a world at war as it is, as opposed to a glorified version of it. So many things in life are random, so many choices made by others on our behalf, especially in the case of a 17 year old girl being used by the powers that be at every opportunity.

    Had Katniss ended up the triumphant hero, this would have been a very different story and, frankly, one we have read hundreds of times before. I felt this was the story of a real girl in extraordinary circumstances, and that being in that position is more numbing, lonely and terrifying than strengthening and enlightening. I feel that Suzanne Collins has crafted a brilliant, bleak, yet serious and thoughtful trilogy on the horrors of war and the power of popular culture.

    From the moment her name was chosen for The Hunger Games, Katniss lost control, and although she achieved remarkable things, she never really got it back and was irreparably damaged by the experience.

    • Hi Pens! Yeah, I think Collins did a great job of showing some of the aspects of war and its aftermath, especially where children are involved. I also thought the parallels between our own culture and the Capitol were pretty spot-on. I never wanted Katniss to be like the triumphant hero b/c like you said, that’s a story we’ve heard before, and it wouldn’t seem authentic here. But I felt like Katniss went the complete other way and became kind of uninvolved, to the point where it didn’t feel authentic for the story that Collins originally started writing (more on that in my comment to Malinda below).

      Still, I think the story is incredible, the parallels undeniable and very real, and I like what you said about the fact that yes, Katniss lost control the moment she volunteered for Prim’s spot in the Games.

  6. While I agree that I would have loved to see the District 13/Capital parallel explored more, I do feel like I need to stick up for Katniss.

    I interpreted Katniss’ “fizzle” to be Collins’ statement on what war and senseless violence do to people. When we met Katniss she was strong. She was independent. She was determined. She was single-handedly providing for her family. But the violence that she witnessed and endured (during the Hunger Games and during the revolution) stole that away from her.

    Isn’t Collins showing us that there is a limit to how much war and violence and cruely a human can handle? The extreme amount of violence that Katniss witnessed, was a victim of, and was a perpetrator of, stole her strength, indepdence, and determination. She reached her breaking point.

    I would have LOVED to see Katniss rise to the occasion, defeat the Capital, and save the day. That’s what I REALLY wanted to happen. But when I finished “Mockingjay,” I realized that such an ending would have been completely inappropriate. Collins’ wasn’t telling us a story about an ordinary girl who becomes a hero, she was telling us a story about an ordinary girl who is transformed, destroyed, by war and violence. Collins is warning us of the truly devastating effects of violence.

    • Hey Carly!

      The thing is, Katniss *did* rise to the occasion enough to defeat the Capitol — I mean, there were others involved, but for the most part, it was her. We just didn’t get to experience it with her, b/c we were told about it after the fact, and that happened in a few key action scenes. I appreciated Collins’ treatment of the devastating effects of war and violence on people — esp. young people — and I thought that was one of the best parts of the story. It was heartbreaking to witness. But I just feel like we were on one story through HG and CF, and part of Mockingjay, and then about midway through, it became a different story. I still liked it, I just thought there were certain areas that could’ve been explored to better show the effects of violence and war, when instead, we got a lot of graphic (almost shock value) descriptions of things after the fact. I’m not sure. I’m still thinking about it. There was a lot I liked — just not everything. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the review. It validates a lot of the thoughts I had while reading. I especially agree with your statement that ” Katniss never fully came into her own in Mockingjay”. I understand, as Carly says, it was “Collins’ statement on what war and senseless violence do to people”, but since it is fiction, I was hoping Katniss’s journey would end as an empowered young woman instead of the lifelong victim. Ultimately, I think that Collins ran out of steam at the end and it truly is sad. I had such high hopes for this series and now… well now, I’ll just have to wait for the movies and hope the screenwriting team can fix the fizzle.

  8. I absolutely agree with you Carly. I loved this book so much because Collins took it there. She didn’t give us some rah-rah story of a girl who saves the day and gets the guy.

    Katniss is a confused kid. She was forced to be the provider when her father died, forced to fight for her life in the games, forced into this relationship with Peeta, and then forced into being the symbol of the revolution when all she wanted to do was live by her own rules. Beyond that, she’s just a kid who was not ready to fall in love or make any major life decisions. Just because we want her to have a big climactic moment where she makes a dramatic choice between Peeta and Gale or to become this hardcore leader of the revolution does not mean we get one.

    I love how Collins showed that ultimately Katniss plays by her own rules and won’t live up to anyone’s expectations, even the reader’s.

  9. I think Collins could of still made a statement about war but I think there would have been a stronger message if Katniss found some hope & healing in a way. I don’t think she needed to chose either boy, or plan on making major decisions, but I don’t know if I agree that she played by her own rules or chose to not live up to anyone’s expectations. I saw Katniss as a survivor but in the end…she was a shell of her original self. True, Collins can take her characters wherever she very well pleases but it seemed “out of character” to me. I was actually pretty shocked with the ending in a really sad way. The power of a story about a resilient human being who faced adversity, who is scared but not a victim…that is more of what I expected. Collins has the right to take her story to whatever conclusion she believes is right. Readers of course have the right to agree or disagree with that choice. That is the beauty of books.

  10. Hi Sarah! I had a thought re: the following part of your review: “It seemed random, because Coin happened to be in the line of fire (which also made no sense. If Coin was so afraid of Katniss, why would she arm the girl and then stand in the line of execution?), and Snow coughed and it reminded her of what he said about Coin manipulating them for her own gain, so she raised her bow and let the arrow fly.”

    I think I interpreted the scene quite differently than you did. In the book, Katniss is aiming at Snow, and then she remembers him saying “I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other.” Then, and only then, Katniss realizes that yes, the time for lying is over, and she faces the facts about Coin. The book then says: “The point of my arrow shifts upward. I release the string.” I thought this was pretty clear that Katniss made a decision at the last minute to purposely kill Coin. I don’t think Coin was in the line of fire. She “collapses over the side of the balcony,” so Coin was above where Snow was. Katniss was purposely aiming for her.

    So, I definitely do not think it was random. The realization was a bit slow on Katniss’s part, but she’s always been a bit slow to realize things. For me, the book was pretty much gut-wrenching. I felt like it was a realistic ending. Not happy. And I thought the way she ended up with Peeta was realistic. Nobody heals from so much trauma overnight, and relationships so damaged as theirs also take years to reconcile. So, for me, the book worked. I didn’t think Katniss fizzled so much as had to deal with all the trauma she experienced, and it unhinged her.

    • Hey Malinda! Just read your blog post on Mockingjay and I totally get what you’re saying about expectations (esp. now that I’ve had a few days to process my thoughts on the book). I think that was part of my issue — I had too many expectations. Not that Katniss would become a big ass-kicking hero (a la Team America), or that there would be any kind of happy ending or big Petta v. Gale showdown (I think any of those ideas would have been sell-outs!). Just in the way I expected the story to unfold.

      I expected that Katniss would be more involved in things, not *despite* the horrible circumstances she endured, but *because* of them. And I never really felt that happening, because in the big moments, although Katniss was very much part of them (either as a catalyst or just right there in the action), we were kind of told more in post-action summary about the events rather than getting to experience them with her (whereas in the other two books, we were right there for everything). I also felt like there was a lot of “Oh my god. Another person just died because of me. I can’t live with this.” commentary, but I didn’t really *feel* it, especially when Finnick died. Maybe by then Katniss was just so burnt out and traumatized, but I’m not sure.

      I never thought she’d actually kill Snow, because she’s really not a vengeful person like Gale or Coin, but I really don’t think she’d planned to kill Coin until that exact moment. The vote about the next Hunger Games still really confuses me, because to me, I felt like she’d simply given up at that point. Like, “Wow, after all this, she still wants another HG? Screw it. Fine. I say yes. For Prim.” I didn’t get the sense she’d decided in that moment she’d eventually kill Coin. And I still don’t get why Coin “saved Snow” for her, killed Prim, almost had Katniss killed, and then armed her and stood anywhere near the line of fire. She was supposedly scared of Katniss.

      Overall, if this was a story in which a once passionate girl with a LOT to lose buckled under the stress and trauma of killing other kids and enduring war and revolution and media manipulation, this would’ve worked better for me. But I didn’t think this was THAT story. I felt like Collins changed her mind in the third book, but had already hooked us into the original story in which a girl who once focused only on saving her own family becomes the mockingjay that starts a revolution and saves the entire country.

      I guess that just comes right back to my expectations again! Oh, well. I really did enjoy the series. I’d like to read it again sometime from start to finish and see if my feelings on book 3 change.

      • “Overall, if this was a story in which a once passionate girl with a LOT to lose buckled under the stress and trauma of killing other kids and enduring war and revolution and media manipulation, this would’ve worked better for me.” –> Hmm, I guess this is the story I thought it was, so that may be why MOCKINGJAY worked for me.

        I agree that the fact that we missed a lot of the action was disappointing from a reader’s perspective. That happened at the end of CATCHING FIRE, too. I keep wondering, though, if this is the limitation of the first person present tense POV? If your narrator is experiencing the story and she’s out of it, there’s no way you’re going to ever find out what she experienced. As a writer, I can’t figure out how to use this as a storytelling technique (which is why I have never written first person present tense!). You’ve written that tense successfully, though. Would you have done something differently?

        • “You’ve written that tense successfully, though. Would you have done something differently?”

          That’s an awesome question, and one that I could never presume to answer. 🙂 I think Collins is a brilliant writer and storyteller and I don’t know that I would do anything differently in regards to POV or tense. And I agree that there is limitation with first person. This trilogy is the only one that comes to mind where a big, all-encompassing, epic story is successfully told in first, because it’s really challenging to get the other important characters (Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Snow, Coin, etc.) and big picture issues (war, violence, corruption, conspiracy) and the rules of the world to come to life on the page. Those elements were important in this story, but not the main focus. The story is very much about Katniss, not just the effects of war on children and families, but about Katniss and her family specifically, with the overall revolution in the background. For that reason, first seems like the only right choice for POV, and Collins did an awesome job of it overall because as a reader, I was really invested in Katniss and her fate, and I was also very connected to the atrocities going on in the world at large. I guess my issue is not that Collins should’ve or could’ve found a better way to tell parts of the story while Katniss was out of it, but that Katniss seemed to BE out of it for a lot of the major climactic points of the story. I still feel that this was originally a story about a reluctant hero (like Jackson said at the top of this thread) who was pushed/manipulated into sparking a revolution, but despite the fact that it wasn’t her choice initially, she was still the leader, the one with the passion and determination, the one who would take those circumstances forced upon her and rise up against them (not storm the castle necessarily, but still be front and center for some of those big scenes), as evidenced by the fact that she really did feel that anger and drive when left to her own devices and not forced into a studio (like the “YOU WILL BURN WITH US” scene and the running to attack the bombers in the hospital) and that seemed to shift midway through book 3.

          You know, the more I think about this story and read the comments from folks who loved it for many of the reasons you so perfectly stated in your blog post, the more I realize it was about my expectations and not about where the story needed to go. It reminds me of my initial thoughts on the movie Jarhead, a war movie where nothing really happens, but after awhile you realize that was the point — the movie wasn’t about the war and the fighting, but about the frustrations these particular soldiers felt at being away from their families yet never seeing any combat action, and that’s exactly what the movie-watchers felt by the end.

          This discussion has given me lots to think about, and that alone is enough of a reason for me to love the book. 🙂 The fact that I’m still thinking about Katniss and the story days later, still wanting to talk about it… that’s the mark of an amazing story and storyteller!

  11. I also read it as Malinda did, her killing of Coin was a deliberate choice on her part. I thought she made the choice as soon as she voted ‘yes’.

  12. I agree with much of what you said. I had a harder time getting into this book. Much of it, I thought, dragged… and granted, I know that much of war times, etc is just… waiting. How many of our troops are spending their time just waiting? Waiting for orders, developments, etc. But liek you said, Katniss just… snaps. I do get the trauma of it, etc, but I really felt like she twisted it to her advantage. I can do whatever I want, because Im mentally screwed up… nevermind trying to fix it.

    And the ending… it really doesn’t sit right with me. Given everything that happened, the mass extent of it… and she gets a bit of a happily ever after? Kids she basically admitted she didn’t want? Peeta finally gets her, gets kids with her… And yes, Gale just… turns into this vengeful guy and once the thing with Prim happened, he just gave up. No trying to get past it, not even trying to help her. How will she maybe be able to reconcile and accept things, if he just accepts the blame for it too? I never really felt her to have a connection with him, apart from the need to survive… which is the same connection she had to Gale. Even now, I still see her as a lone wolf. She’s lost everything but him, so why not keep him? That was my feelings on that, and I do feel like the ending just did not live up to the string of events to get there.

    With Coin… I did realize that she intentionally killed Coin. A part of me figured she knew whether she fired that arrow at Snow or not, he was on his death bed. It didn’t matter. Coin did matter. And Katniss was able to see that neither side was really right. And for her to agree to more Hunger Games for Prim… would Prim really want that? Prim, who wanted to go into battle to heal… Prim who was, in Katniss’ own words, the combination of all the good thinsg from their parents plus something all her own… Prim who had to grow up when her father died and again when her sister was taken for the Games, in her place… I just didn’t understand that one.

    Overall… I agree with much of what you said. It didn’t sit right with me… though I do have such respect for Suzanne for the world she created, the depth and complexity of it, and the very simplistic, straightforward way she wrote it and got it across. It mirrors much of our history and current times, and is a truly wrenching novel.

  13. Regarding the Coin thing…

    When Katniss votes yes to the Hunger Games, she looks at Coin and says it is for Prim. At that point, she knew Coin was responsible for Prim’s death. When she says “for Prim,” she means for Prim’s death. (She also knew that Panem under Coin would be no better than Panem under Snow.) She votes yes to smooth things over so that when she is allowed to kill Snow, she can take advantage of the situation and kill Coin. Just think about what Haymitch says: “I’m with the Mockingjay.” Maybe Katniss didn’t know exactly what she was going to do, but neither Katniss nor Haymitch would ~ever~ condone of another Hunger Games. Katniss even looks at him and thinks, “This is the moment, then. When we find out exactly how alike we are, and how much he truly understands me.” And of course, he understands her perfectly. They have understood each other from the moment he withheld the water in HG.

    The moment she votes yes, she becomes the Mockingjay. She takes matters into her own hands.

    • Hi Janelle! Yeah, I thought she had something planned for Coin when she said yes to another HG, but then I don’t think it played out that way. To me, it seemed like her decision to kill Coin happened in that moment, when she had the bow trained on Snow, and then remembered what he said about not lying, and *that’s* when she decided to kill Coin. I still don’t fully understand the vote scene.

      • Katniss was never a really “planner”. She is more instinct and fly by the seat of her pants, make decisions on the spur of the moment kind of gal. I think she knew something had to be done but really probably didn’t know she was going to kill Coin until the moment presented itself.

    • YES YES YES YES. I agree with absolutely everything you just said. I disagree with most of the comments on here as well as the original review. The ending, as gut-wrenching as it was, could not have been better. It leaves such a mark in the readers’ hearts, that you’re forced to think about it and think about it in reality’s terms. In the end, I do not believe in the least bit she “accidentally” killed Coin. Even before the meeting, when she went and visited Snow, Collins wrote how she noticed he was coughing blood. Katniss knew he wasn’t healthy and by the entire conversation, Snow knew he had been defeated, whether or not Katniss stuck an arrow into his heart or not. But during the meeting when she voted yes, for Prim and Haymitch backed her up, it shows that she finally realized the cycle of violence in humanity. It was no quick whim thinking when she decided to kill Coin, and if i could shake a fictional character’s hand for that, I would. In that, she proved her bravery and strength to me, even after all her hardship. She had the strength to see what was necessary to change the pattern of violence, and ended it with her own hands. And with that action, the life of all of Panem was completely changed.
      As for her not really making any decisions in who she chose to love, I disagree with that. As well as the statements that there were too many loose ends not tied. During Gale and Katniss’s last conversation, it was realized for the both of them, that their love was not necessarily, real. They had depended on each other for their entire lives. For protection, to provide for their family, as a strong hold when times got hard. And because of this they grew dependent on each other. And even though they did love each other, they realized love wasn’t the reason they had been in each other’s lives for so long. So yes, they did end their relationship with a formal goodbye, but I believe they both came to terms through that last conversation that they were not meant to be. And as for loose ends, her mother decides to create a new hospital. This is symbolic to me because not only will she provide a new place of healing for others, but this is a new place for her to heal all her wounds. She knows, as she always had, that Katniss is a strong-willed person that can be on her own. Katniss has never needed her mother and because of that, they are okay to let each other go. The rest of the districts are coming back to life, and Gale has created the life that he would’ve had, had it not been for Katniss. This book could not have been more of a perfect ending and I commend Collins with everything I am.

  14. I agree with you for the most part. I didn’t feel as close to Katniss in this novel, and I didn’t like how it almost dragged on through the middle. I thought after she shot Coin that something big would happen. Well, something big did happen, but you’re right, we didn’t get to see it! On the other hand, maybe Collins didn’t make us as close to Katniss b/c we needed to know how everyone around her felt. I really enjoyed Mockingjay, but honestly, it isn’t nearly as great as the first two.

  15. Yeah, we pretty much had the same opinion. But when I reviewed it on my blog, I was much harsher. Haha, i think I was just so disappointed. Katniss’ change of heart, Gale practically disappearing, and Peeta seeming weaker than I thought he would have been. I really thought there was going to be serious blowouts between Peeta and Gale over Katniss, but there wasn’t any. I felt so drained after reading this book. *SIGH* Oh well, whatever.

  16. Well written review. I was so caught up with the emotion, I couldn’t do a proper review. THEN I spent the next 4 days obsessing. I think you summed up a lot of my unfinished business.

    On the other hand, I liked the way Collins developed Katniss. I liked the way she was more of a talisman than a heroine. I thought it reflected a more realistic view of people, and, especially a 17 year old girl. Damaged, 17 year old girl. She wasn’t ready to become a national heroine. Never wanted it and was uncomfortable with it. She was used by the Capitol, District 13, and the rebels, never having developed her own sense of self.

    I admit that I was confused about her willingness to continue the Hunger Games then killed Coin. I understand that Coin was the new Snow but wondered about that. By agreeing to the Hunger Games, was she saving the innocents in the Capitol? By killing Snow did she just cancel out the Hunger Games?

    Lastly, I thought the ending was very fitting and satisfying – anticlactic, even. She returned home and, with the passing of time and regular existence and support, she slowly came back to life. She defined her new normal and developed a relationship with Peeta. He no longer loved her in a weird, unconditional manner. He’d been hijacked, although his act of prevention of her suicide clearly indicated that he didn’t want her dead, anymore. But the puppy dog was in the past. He was real. I loved that they grew to love each other for all the right reasons in the end, rather than ending with a huge crescendo.

    That’s how life is. We journey through, learn a lot, grow, carry our scars, incorporate them, and build ourselves through our relationships and experiences.

  17. I couldn’t agree with you more. I read it two days after everyone else, terrified it wouldn’t live up to what I NEEDED it to be, but gave in when everyone talked about how phenomenal it wrapped up the series.

    All of the telling and especially the continuous hearing what happened after the fact bothered me beyond words. Isn’t it a cardinal sin of some sort to build up this character into martyr status, only to have them drugged and/or unconscious through the most pivotal moments of the plot?!

    Her decision to have another Hunger Games was the deal breaker for me. That betrayed Katniss’ character IMHO.

    And then who she ends up with… I like that she winds up with Peeta, but I was very irritated that she never made a choice, and even if she did, we never saw it. The whole triangle of her and Gale and Peeta fizzled out faster than any other aspect of the plot.

    I’m so sad. This book had SO much potential and lived up to it until halfway through when everything started to crumble. I’m grateful for that first half, but man… I wish things had gone VERY differently for all of the characters in the end.

  18. Strangely, I don’t agree with much of this. Though my own review will be up in the next week or so, I have to say that I thought Katniss definitely came into her own in this book and I loved the ending. (Team Peeta here.) The point when Katniss voted yes on another Hunger Games made me want to torch the book (harsh, I know….) but then when she killed Coin I managed to forgive her. I’m still not sure what was going on there… if her plan was to kill Coin all along after talking to Snow, if voting yes was just so Coin wouldn’t suspect anything, or if Katniss had a (pretty extreme) moment of weakness. But whatever the case, her vote seems inconsistent with what she thinks throughout the rest of the book (and series) and for this reason I don’t trust that it was her “true” vote.

    As for her not making a choice… I think in a way she did. I just don’t think it played out for us as much as it could have. I feel like her choice was made before we actually saw it in effect and by the time we did, because Gale was gone already, it seemed as if she hadn’t made a choice.

    • I think you might be right about Katniss making a choice and it not being played out as much. I guess she really did chose Peta, way before Gale actually left, and leaving was really the only thing he could do at the end. And of course I would never expect it to be all love and roses with her and Peeta, given what they’d both endured and witnessed.

      The Coin thing still doesn’t sit well with me, but the fact that I’m still thinking about the book weeks later means it was a good book, right? 🙂

  19. Pingback: My Life in… » Blog Archive » QuickReview: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

  20. You articulated my issues with Mockingjay so well. Everywhere I look, people are in love with it, and I’m…just…not.

    Katniss wasn’t our amazingly strong-if-young heroine. She spent so much time running…why was she always hiding? And I think you hit on a big problem point in that most of the major plot action was de facto. The destruction of the Capitol deserved to be experienced firsthand by the readers.

    And the ending. Oh, the ending. First of all, I’m Team Gale, so it wouldn’t have sat well with me anyway. But the way she just fell into a relationship with Peeta….people will say that they’ve had a relationship, enough of one that it worked, but after what both of them have gone through, they needed /more/. It wasn’t a happy ending, but it was still too neat.

  21. I just finished reading Mocking Jay. It was okay. Definitely not The Hunger Games. I agree, the girl on fire had kind of fizzled. But, what can you expect after all she had been through. I hate how it was unresolved and rushed. Peeta just showed up, and skipped ahead many years. Prim just…died. All of a sudden. She never really mentioned it except for with Buttercup. Her mom just left her, and she was just gone. Never to be seen again. Like I said, it was okay.

  22. I also LOVED the book I read all three in 5 days next to school 🙂 I want to start off with the negatives.
    – finick dies which really bothered me, especially with what a small part of the book she contributes toward his death after what he did, I think he should have made it, he was a really great character and got may fans like me and having him just die and over with bothered me
    – too many died at once, in the tunnel almost all died at once it wasn’t like she could let it sink in as it did during the first book
    – ending, the ending was kind of abrupt and quick
    – that it didn’t take half a page for her sister to die who had also been such a large part of the book, how i interpreted it was yup she died let’s move on to the next one to die

    -the details in the first half where fantastic
    – many great characters
    – loved that coin died thouh she could have explained why
    The last page was good
    – I liked that they made the memory book
    – snow was built as a character very well and consistant, the rose idea was great
    – the idea that the book was baced on intertained
    – I never wanted to put down the book

    All in all it was one of the best books I read but the big downer was finick I really wanted him to live 😦

  23. Just finished reading Mockingjay. At first, my reaction was “what the h*ll was that?”. But as I reflect back some of the pieces do fit. It fits better for me when I do not take some of Katniss’s actions so literally as I think there were implied causes. A lot of the book seemed arbitrary. But Collins was setting up the final chapters. The book evoked deep emotions in me. I was genuinely depressed, angry, confused at times. I don’t think Katniss really ever embraced the whole “Mockingjay” role that Coin wanted her to take and that was part of the reason why she struggled so much. She wanted to have a real active role in the fight. Not some symbolic, encourage the troops role that Coin wanted. It was clear early on that there really wasn’t much difference between Snow and Coin, between district 13 and the Capitol. I don’t believe that she killed Coin at a whim. Remember she killed her after talking with Snow. She had here doubts about Coin from early on. And those doubts were frequently confirmed. That’s why I don’t believe her “yes” for a Capitol hunger game. My biggest problem with the book was it seemed the last few chapters were rushed. Katniss is leading a group to assassinate Snow. They get close to his mansion and boom, everything goes up in smoke and then she’s back at 13 really messed up. While I think Collins did set up that ending, I felt cheated that it happened and ended so quickly. As for Gale vs Peeta and which one Katniss would choose. Gale made the choice for her with is creation of cruel weapons that eventually had a hand in Prim’s death. I have been in the Peeta camp since the end of “Hunger Games”. She had plenty of time, and opportunities, to develop a romantic relationship with Gale. The had a lot of time alone hunting. With Peeta, they never really had time as their relationship was dominated by the Capitol. Katniss explains why she ends up with Peeta but I so wanted it to play out more before that point. I am not a “reader”. I usually hate reading unless there is some purpose. I can count the number of books I’ve read in the last 3 years on one hand. 3 of those are the three “Hunger Games” books. I plan to go back and reread the books as I read them so fast.

  24. I was really disappointed how this book ended. I mean The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was absolutely well written. Mockingjay started out so well, and the ending just was blah. Not what I expected. It such a letdown for fans of the book for it to end this way. The ending was such a letdown. The author could have gone so many ways with this book, but she didnt take the opportunity to address so many issues that were left unaddressed. Like Gale. What the hell he got a fancy job and pretty much just disappears out of Katniss’ life and so on. I felt cheated as a fan. Oh well.

  25. It upset me earlier in the series when Gale was being considered by Katness as she was blowing Peeta off to be with him. With the minor descriptions given, I feel as if Collins failed to described Gale for what I believe to be a emotionless wanna be. I think in the eyes of Gale that he wanted to have the attention of all the districts as Gale and Katness had but not manly enough step forward at his older age to claim it. I feel as if Katness AND Petta set a new standard for tough in the games and that is why Gale finally started acting like a man once his precious popular Katness had confirmed potential to do better than him.

  26. I really like your review, and I definitely understand your point of view. I’ve never been Team Peeta nor Team Gale, but I actually thought the ending was extremely appropriate for the whole story. I’ve always been more interested in the political commentary of the books. Was Katniss ever able to be a hero in the sense that we may have wished for her to be a hero? Realistically, I mean. Think about it. There have been war heroes throughout history. But what happened to them after the war was over? Did they have the ultimate choice on what happened in their environment or even their government? Not really. A lot of heroes died in battle. This story, in my opinion, was more about a survivor. A survivor in a dystopian society, a survivor of war. A survivor who consistently did what she had to do. I thought that it was a profound commentary on the limits of an individual in a society. There are, of course, better governments than others, and better societies in which to live. But our choices as individuals are limited to some extent, especially in war and revolution. Heroes are human, and Katniss, to me, was the best kind of hero. She was completely broken by war, and by being a pawn in that war. I thought that the moment she killed Coin was a moment of clarity for her. And the moment that she realized what kind of bomb killed her sister was another moment of clarity for her. I thought that her friendship/relationship with Gale became shaky in this book because she was starting to realize that Gale could be as ruthless as the side they were fighting against (not that I didn’t empathize with Gale’s line of thinking). The hijacking of Peeta was a good touch, I thought. He could have been a phenomenal leader for the rebellion, and for a new world in general. What better way to squash that than to make him question everything about who he was and what he believed in? And finally, I really thought the ending and epilogue was appropriate, and quite heroic for both Peeta and Katniss. I did think that Katniss ultimately made the decision to let Peeta back in, and to live. To put that memory book together for all of those lives that were lost. To love and have children, despite all the fear and trauma they had both been put through. I thought that the ending did show that despite everything, they did show that the Capitol and District 13 never owned them.

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