Tuesday, September 28, 2010

REVIEW: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

***Spoiler free***

Mockingjay
is the final installment in the much-loved Hunger Games trilogy. Does much more need to be said in the way of an introduction?

I hate when things end. I have never read The Last Battle, the last Narnia book by CS Lewis, because if I don't then the end will never happen. Even the title makes me sad, being so final and all. There's the sadness of things being finally over, but dear readers, endings also scare me. Because they can so often be a let down and you're left with this awful taste in your mouth. Endings are hard. Endings are risky. Sometimes it's easier just to avoid rather than risk disappointment. I still have not finished the last disk of the audio version of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. It's been MONTHS. And I was loving it. I think my tredipation comes from endings that are predictable. Endings that are rushed. Endings that you see coming a mile off, when it's all about wrapping things up rather than doing the characters justice.

There are a lot of things that I loved about Mockingjay. I thought Peeta was handled beautifully. Brilliantly even. I have never been Team Peeta or Team Gale. Because The Hunger Games isn't primarily a romance. I have read swooning posts about Gale tearing my hair out thinking WHY WHY WHY?? Why do we care so much about a character that has 2.5 lines in books one and two combined?

Collins can think up some wonderfully creative violence. And she got the rebels versus the Capitol down to a tee: I loved questioning whether replacing Snow with Coin would be merely a name change, not a regime change. Parts of it was very exciting. As a narrative about the consequences of war and the nature of power and propaganda, I thought it did very well.

There were a lot of things that annoyed me about Mockingjay. It was predictable. Certain parts were rushed. We were left out of key scenes. I have never cared a jot about who Katniss would choose to spend the rest of her life with as she never expressed ONE, not ONE, sweet squishy feeling towards either Gale or Peeta. Anxious, needy, rejecting, confused feelings, but not one word or gesture that made me think she even WANTED A PARTNER. Comfort, yes, human contact, yes, but romance? No. Not once. SO WHY SHOULD I CARE. KATNISS DOESN'T.

Unfortunately, if you don't care who Katniss chooses, a lot of Mockingjay will leave you cold. Because the outcome of rebellion was rather predictable. And the bits that weren't? Hasty. Rushed. Truncated. I have been left with a bad taste in my mouth.

10 comments:

  1. I agree! I was sooo disappointed. I'm really sad about it cos I was excitied to read the book and see what happened and then... blah...

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  2. Oh no, this is just what I'm afraid of and it's the reason why I haven't yet read my copy of Mockingjay. I don't mind if there's some romance but I do mind a rushed ending to a trilogy. Brilliant and spoilerfree review, Rhiannon.

    I really enjoyed the Twilight saga when I read it, it was addictive even if I know it's not great literature it is highly entertaining, but Breaking Dawn let me down (BIG TIME). It felt so rushed and to me it felt like it was just written to wring whatever was possible out of the successes the saga had become.

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  3. oh, i know what you mean about endings. i wasn't really into this last one, hey?

    however, i love the tomorrow series by john marsden but not so much the ellie chronicles which makes me wonder if it should have just ended at book 7.

    but you absolutely must listen to the ending of Finnikin. it's really awesome - i loved it - and there's a kind of sequel so you get to revisit the world :)

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  4. "Unfortunately, if you don't care who Katniss chooses, a lot of Mockingjay will leave you cold."

    That's pretty much how I feel. I've always been more on the Katniss team, as she never seemed to be inclined to be with anyone for real, so much of the book didn't hold my interest. The first book is still my favorite, no question there!

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  5. I know what you mean- I found a lot of problems with Mockingjay. Overall it was very well written, and I was attached enough to the characters to want to know, but in the end I was a little disappointed.

    SPOILER:

    The one thing I was very upset about was Finnick's death. It was too quick, and he didn't deserve the brushoff. It reminded me of Lupin and Tonk's deaths. Too fast, and unnecessary.

    Anyway, I'm still going to call it one of my favorite series, just because the first two books were so good.

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  6. Book one was definitely the best in my view - and I think it should have ended there, with Katmiss and Peeta eating the poison berries. Possibly, that would have been an ending unacceptable to the YA genre, but what an ending!

    Book 2 was quite good, but there were places that felt rushed and Mockingjay was a real let down for all the reasons that Rhiannon has already elucidated.

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  7. Agree. With everything. And also with RobH. Just kept thinking that The Hunger Games should have been a stand-alone, because somehow she pulled of an ending in that book.

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  8. A *satisfying* ending, I meant to say.

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  9. LOL, that's my dad. I didn't agree with him at first but now I do. Should have been the berries.

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