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.