The artwork was beautiful but, after reading Zeitoun and watching Treme along with Spike Lee's documentaries on Katrina, I'd already heard the majorit...moreThe artwork was beautiful but, after reading Zeitoun and watching Treme along with Spike Lee's documentaries on Katrina, I'd already heard the majority of what is covered in this comic.
I wanted something that went deeper into the people's lives. This seemed to just skim the surface. There were a few good parts where each person's life and personality came through (especially with the comic book lover, its almost as if the creator could relate). I wanted a whole comic full of those moments, ending in a larger story.
Maybe this was a product of of A.D. being serialized online or maybe he tried to tell too many stories. It just left me wanting too much more.
(Shallow sidenote: I really hate the blurb on the back of the book that compares calling this a "comic" is akin to calling a "film" a "talkie." I really wish those people would stop justifying reading comics by insisting they aren't comics. You shouldn't call a webcomic a graphic novel just because you didn't want to enjoy reading it as much as you did.)(less)
**spoiler alert** I really did not like Mockingjay and need to rant about it.
If we're gonna talk about YA lit, let's start with Harry Potter. I felt t...more**spoiler alert** I really did not like Mockingjay and need to rant about it.
If we're gonna talk about YA lit, let's start with Harry Potter. I felt that The Deathly Hallows fell apart when Harry, Ron and Hermione were wandering the wilderness, lost in teen angst (they fixed this in the movie version but let's stick to the book). Mainly this happened because Hogwarts was not there and Hogwarts is a major part of the first six books. It gets great again once they get back to Hogwarts and Harry has someone to fight. An actual goal. Which is something Katniss is never given. Mockingjay never fully commits to exploring Katniss's lack of a goal nor anything else.
In The Hunger Games, The Arena is Hogwarts. The books are most interesting when Katniss is in the arena. Which is tricky. The arena is not a place where you want Katniss to be. You were made to feel guilty quite effectively in the first book for being entertained by the games while also being given an outlet for the guilt in saving Peeta with Katniss. In Catching Fire, you fear that the games will have to play out all over again, feel sick when anyone dies and worry Katniss will have to kill off people whom she likes but feel relieved when the revolution brilliantly interrupts. Mockingjay has no games, which is good but this means that Katniss has nothing to do.
Collins didn't want to shoehorn the revolution into the formula of the games but she couldn't have Katniss, a PTSD 17-year-old girl, work on the level of the entire revolution. Collins seemed to realize all too well that she did not write a revolutionary hero. Katniss is not a natural leader, she survives and cares for people closest to her and really hates being around everyone else. But unfortunately all of Katniss's actions lead to a revolution.
The love triangle had worn itself thin and Katniss could clearly no longer choose either kid. So basically she became another pawn but not a pawn but maybe a pawn but some wanted her to fight for herself but maybe some didn't, who knows? (Repeating "real not real" over and over again does not solve this problem, does not make it into an effective unreliable narrator device.)
It would be ridiculous for Katniss to take on the the capitol by herself. Unlike Harry Potter, she hadn't been gaining any particularly useful skills in the previous two books. She just became a symbol. The story of a symbol could be interesting but the tone would have to completely shift from the other books and it almost did then Collins wanted to write some more action but then she wanted to make it about propaganda but that got boring so she made more action scenes and laid on Katniss's ever deepening guilt for people she killed.
It really just became a story where Katniss's guilt consumed any three dimensionality away from all the characters and the story. All non-Katniss characters became a source for guilt and nothing else and she just became obsessed with it to the point of becoming boring. Maybe if the series hadn't been written in the first person Collins could have escaped that trap but she finally found herself in that corner into which she had been writing herself at end of Catching Fire. It's like she kept on finding out the limitations to the character of Katniss in Mockingjay and sidesteps them with sudden changes and never looked back.
Katniss's motivations were fairly unclear the entire book. This was especially true when she killed Coin. Is "Coin may have killed Prim and might be evil like Snow" really a satisfactory reason? I don't think this was well explored, even though it could have been interesting. The groundwork was laid for it but then it just jumped to the conclusion without anything in between. After Prim dies, time all of a sudden speeds up and we get pushed away from Katniss and what she's thinking (and Prim dying seems Deus Ex Machina-ish). We had been in Katniss's thoughts for the entire series and get a blow by blow account of every important event in her life. Then the reader gets pushed away suddenly at the most crucial moment when we needed to know her motivations.
Also, I get that there could have been no real happy ending for Katniss but did Collins have to lay it on so thick? Wouldn't a child scarred by having to kill so many people living out a life as an emotionally unavailable addict have been enough of a downer ending? Did Collins need to add the death of Prim, the loss of her mother and Gale and Katniss's newly found traitor status?
Maybe one book with a definite (even if unhappy) ending was all the series needed. Everything is fully explored in book one and the second book gives an decent epilogue and then does a great job at starting the revolution. Unfortunately, the revolution maybe should not have been told through Katniss's eyes.(less)