Tina's Reviews > Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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Dec 04, 13

Read in August, 2010

SPOILERS AHEAD!!



What. the. f***. Words can't begin to express my disappointment. I bought Mockingjay the first day it came out and I was preparing myself for a truly epic novel, one worthy of its predecessors. I loved The Hunger Games; it was fast-paced, thrilling, suspenseful. Catching Fire wasn't as good but it was still enjoyable (I was majorly impressed by the game arena). I wasn't let down by Catching Fire though; I figured it was just a transition novel, build-up to what would undoubtedly be a mindblowing, epic conclusion in Mockingjay.

Maybe I set my expectations too high. I do think Collins is a good writer; she definitely knows how to write and tell a story. But I feel like she lost her way in this book. Or maybe the only thing that made this series so great was the Hunger Games, and now that it's absent, there's nothing to drive the story.

The love triangle wasn't well played out. First of all, I'm getting a bit tired of reading about love triangles -- especially in novels where there's a much greater plot present. But I'll admit, I was on Team Gale throughout the series, because he was strong and resilient and resourceful and caring. There was this attractive manly quality about him and he was so in sync with Katniss, and hot to boot. But towards the end of this novel, I didn't give a flying fart about Katniss's love life and who she ended up with, because everything seemed like such a hopeless, depressing mess that there was no point. I also hated how she kept flip-flopping and toying with both Gale and Peeta (I've been bothered by this since CF). She should make up her mind about who she wants instead of leading them both on! Her fickleness is pretty inconsiderate to these two guys whom she supposedly cares about. And if she can't decide (I can see why, they both have great qualities), then she should give herself some space/time to decide, and in the meantime, don't go kissing or showing romantic affection to either one!

She ended up with Peeta, which would have been fine if it had been executed properly. But even in this aspect of her life, she didn't get to CHOOSE, which is basically the story of her life. She just ended up with Peeta because he was the only one who stuck around. At the end, I found myself wanting her to end up alone, of her OWN choice. Heck, instead of spiraling into bleak depression and continuing life as a puppet, I would have rather seen her die for a noble cause and for doing the right thing. That would have been a more satisfactory ending, and that's saying something because I normally HATE when characters die.

I didn't like that we didn't get to experience the action close-up. As the war unraveled, I felt like Katniss was always on the sidelines, only called in when other people commanded her to. We didn't get to see Katniss kicking butt against her enemies, we got to hear from other characters about events that occurred, or watch them on the TV. It is so mindnumbingly dull to be watching a character watching something, instead of experiencing the action with the character. Everything she did was for show, for a propo or campaign or whatever. It was all so .. fake. Here they are in the middle of a war, people are dying left and right, and all they care about is filming and getting good shots and angles and putting on a pretty face! It felt so staged and it was boring and infuriating to read. The only real action is towards the end when she and her team are going on the assassin mission to kill Snow, and even THAT was originally only for a propo (that went astray).

The last third of the book (the assassin mission) was gorey and bloody, which I didn't mind. It's war after all. But many characters' deaths were so rushed and pointless. Prim's death didn't have the impact that I'm sure Collins was aiming for; I didn't feel sad when she died, as she's barely in the story as it is, so I didn't get to know her well enough and connect with her beforehand. She was absent for at least 100 pages before her death came out of nowhere, for God's sake, so her death felt like any stranger's death. (Although it seems her death kind of defeated the point of sparing her from the Hunger Games.) What DID kill me was Finnick's death. Finnick was one of the characters I loved most in this series, and call me petty, but I can't forgive Collins for killing him off after he'd been through so much and finally got to marry the love of his life. It wasn't even a death of purpose. He got eaten by mutts in a sewer, along with half their assassin team. It annoyed me so much because their deaths felt so UNNECESSARY, like they were just a way for Collins to emphasize that "this is a DEATHLY SERIOUS, VERY BLOODY BOOK!" It felt like she was just randomly and meaninglessly killing off supporting characters because she couldn't bear to part with her main ones. Deaths are fine when they're important to the plot, but this felt like death for the sake of death.

Okay, now on to the REAL disappointment of this book: Katniss herself. One of the reasons why I loved this series was because of Katniss. She was strong, resourceful, clever and cunning, she had an amazing survival instinct and she knew how to persevere. In Catching Fire, these qualities diminished; she was mainly a pawn, a puppet for others to use for their own objectives. But she still had some semblance of control and she was still Katniss. In Mockingjay, all these traits are scrapped and we get a Katniss-clone who is angsty and bitchy and whiny (wasn't Bella in Twilight bad enough?). Half the book, she's throwing herself pity parties in the closet (literally!). Sure, she definitely has reason to be sad and angry, and her life is full of hardships and tragedies. But I thought that the Katniss from the Hunger Games, the Katniss who had to keep her family alive since the age of 12, would be able to fight through and persevere. I guess I wanted a strong victor, a strong heroine, not a self-pitying victim who can't make her own decisions.

That's another thing that bothered me: throughout the whole book, she had no control over ANYTHING, not even her own life and actions. She was a empty, lifeless pawn, a zombie if you will, who didn't do anything that wasn't directed or commanded by other people. In this novel, I was expecting her to STEP UP, embrace her role as Mockingjay, use her power/influence to get involved in the rebellion, take control of her life, and make a difference in the outcome of her world. I was expecting to see her grow and change and I was excited for her metamorphosis. Instead, we get this weak girl who's shirking all responsibilities, addled on drugs half the time, and lashing out at people the other half. Not only did she not improve herself from the first book (she was kickass in the first book btw), she got WORSE, an empty shadow of her former self. At the beginning, I could understand her confusion, her pain, her reluctance to be the Mockingjay. It'd be weird if she DIDN'T feel this way, if she didn't have that time of indecision and unwillingness. But after, I expected her to be strong and work through it, to face her fears and obstacles and choose to do the right thing, to really fight for justice. The best things in life never come easy; anybody who's done anything has had to overcome obstacles to accomplish their goals. When she decided: "I must be the Mockingjay", my heart soared (cheesy but it did!) and I was rooting for her 100%. When I heard her inspirational words during the propos, the fire behind them, my heart soared because I thought Katniss was back. But as I kept reading, I realized .. even though she verbally accepted her role, her mind still wasn't in it and she wasn't in control of herself. She didn't grow and become stronger, that's what pisses me off.

The post-traumatic stress, the mental breakdowns, the self-pity, the self-loathing, the nearing of insanity .. all of these things are realistic, yes, but a bit tiresome and not very interesting to read when it's all the same and the narrator is drowning herself in it in the face of much greater things to the point where it detracts from the plot. These feelings shouldn't be the main focus throughout the ENTIRE novel. There has to be a turning point when she overcomes all of this and actively decides not to let these obstacles stand in her way. Now, many people will say her breakdown is more true to life, and it's what any normal 17-year-old girl would feel and go through. But, maybe I'm weird here, but for some stories, I don't WANT to read about the average, normal teenager. I want to read about someone who's a bit special, who's different, who displays traits (like courage, heart, perseverance) greater than the norm and accomplishes more than the "normal, average teen" even during the most difficult of times. Something that, when you close the book, makes you feel like "Wow, they're amazing. Inspirational. I want to be like that." & to be honest, I didn't sign up to read a war documentary or some nonfiction account of how war affects its victims. I came in expecting a break from reality, a fantasy sci-fi young adult novel about a girl who becomes a hero.

In trying to be as realistic as possible, I think Collins chose a pessimistic extreme of "realism" to portray. There are perfectly human people in real life in real circumstances who are able to fight through obstacles and hardships and come out on top without relying on drugs and hiding in closets. They can find more constructive and positive ways to deal with their problems. Sure, it obviously affects them (they're not invincible) but they don't lose themselves the way Katniss does. Those are the kinds of inspirational stories I wanna read when it comes to these kinds of novels, not this "Diary of an Emo Puppet."

This book was also REALLY anti-climactic. Whenever Collins finally gave us an exciting scene, as soon as it got intense, Katniss would get knocked out in the midst of things and we'd wake up to her in the hospital being treated. (MAJOR COP-OUT, in my opinion.) Then, of course, comes the inevitable centuries (that's what it felt like) of us hearing about her in pain and agony. Okay, we get it after reading about it the WHOLE novel! Now can she please pick herself up and make herself useful?

Katniss doesn't deserve the title "girl who was on fire" and to be the main character in such an epic setting and story. Sure, she can be on fire, but only when someone sets her on fire or directs her to be on fire, not of her own doing. She was soulless and indifferent and cared about herself and her own feelings more than anyone else's (seeing as how she spends most of the novel grieving for herself and almost never for anyone else) .. if the main character, the narrator, doesn't care about anything and has no passion, why should we? What's the point when the main character whose eyes we're seeing through has no heart and no passion? And what happened to the selfless girl who willingly sacrificed her life to save her sister?

The things I did like. I liked that Katniss had 2 seconds of mental clarity and shot Coin instead of Snow (the only time in the book when she was truly thinking clearly and acting of her own accord). I wonder if I'm giving her too much credit though; judging from her selfish one-track mind in this book, I fear that she did this only because Coin killed Prim, not because she saw the bigger picture. Worse yet, I fear this may just have been a result of Snow's manipulation, not her own decision. I also feel the significance and bravery of this smart moment was rendered meaningless by her immediate cowardly reaction: instead of having conviction in her action and facing the consequences, she scrambled frantically to find the most painless and quickest way to kill herself. She never once in the book acknowledges all she has to live for and all the positive things she still has in her life. When a character's will to survive is absent through a whole novel, I as a reader have no desire for them to live either; grant their wish already! But to continue on .. I liked learning about more of the characters in depth: Gale (who I grew to love even more in this book), Finnick, Annie, Boggs, Johanna, etc. I liked the ending passages (fitting and beautifully haunting) and I liked the songs (The Hanging Tree and the meadow one). There are probably some other things that I'll update this review with once disappointment and frustration are no longer clouding my brain.

I wouldn't have minded so much if it had been a page-turner that was exciting to read, but trying to finish this book felt like a chore. When reading for enjoyment starts feeling like a chore, that's the ultimate sign that I dislike the book. 90% of the book, Katniss was wandering aimlessly through hallways, drugged out on morphling, hiding in a closet, or lying in a hospital bed. I kept waiting, I was so sure it would happen any minute, for the story-changing moment when Katniss would pick herself up and say "Enough is enough." I kept waiting for the moment when the winds would change and she would decide with conviction to actively work through her problems -- but to my shock, that moment never came. This book seriously dragged and dragged and dragged, and just got slower and slower until everyone started dropping dead towards the last quarter of the book. The Hunger Games, I couldn't put it down; for this, I dreaded picking it up to finish it. I did tons of things in between reading this book (doing my nails, watching TV, taking a walk, etc) because I couldn't read it in one sitting without wanting to gouge my eyes out. It was the same reoccurring theme: Katniss was manipulated and controlled by everyone around her and she didn't think or do anything of her own will. It got old.

I read all this build-up and didn't get rewarded for it. And even though the rebels triumphed, I didn't feel anything for them, not relief, not happiness, just nothing. I was just detached. And none of it was thanks to Katniss: her only role in the Capitol's defeat was watching Prim die, getting burned, and waking up in a hospital, where we're TOLD instead of SHOWN how the Capitol fell (all while she was unconscious, an occurrence that's way too common in this book).
Again, anti-climactic! During the scene when it really mattered!

I understand the message Collins is trying to convey and I agree with it: that war is awful and no one truly wins. And good and bad are not clearly defined black and white. (It got too preachy at certain points though, didn't it?) And I understand that not all books are unicorns-and-ponies happy endings, and that this series has always been intense and dark and a bit bleak. But that only works when there's an underlying message of hope and of optimism. I felt it in the 1st books, but this ending was devoid of all hope and happiness. Yes, humans are disgusting creatures who hurt and kill one another, who do horrible things because of greed and selfishness and just pure malice. But humans are also capable of love and compassion and kindness, and I wish she'd incorporated a bit of that into the story as well so there'd be a more hopeful ending. Even in real life, no matter how bad things may be, there is always hope. Isn't that the kind of message you really want young people to be left with? Instead of pessimistic doom and "give up on mankind"? I finished the book feeling hopeless and lost and depressed, and not in that deep, profound way where it motivates me to get up off my ass and do something to make a difference.

Gosh, at least Harry was his own person and got to face Voldemort in the end. What did Katniss get to do except be an empty canvas for them to paint and feed lines to?

Though I guess since I'm feeling so passionately about all of this, it wasn't a worthless read. It was just very, VERY disappointing.

Edit:

I just re-read this review a month or so after I wrote it and I sincerely apologize for my sloppy writing and overindulgence in run-on sentences! I was in a rush to unleash all my feelings after finishing the book so I wouldn't forget anything. I hope this review was understandable and enjoyable anyway :)

That's the end of the review and you can stop here but I wanted to add on .. and I'm thinking those who grew up with Harry Potter like I did can relate:
So I decided to re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to prepare myself for the upcoming movie, and to get the bitter taste of Mockingjay out of my mouth, and here's a passage towards the end where Harry's character really touched me and left me in awe:

"Because," said Harry, "sometimes you've got to think about more than your own safety! Sometimes you've got to think about the greater good! This is war!"
"You're seventeen, boy!"
"I'm of age, and I'm going to keep fighting even if you've given up!"
a few sentences later .. "I'm going to keep going until I succeed -- or I die. Don't think I don't know how this might end. I've known it for years."

Reading it again makes me all emotional and teary all over again, from Dobby's heartfelt burial to Harry's courageous walk to his death in the forest, knowing fully well what awaits him and yet willing to sacrifice himself for others and for a better world ...all the while, struggling with his fears and the temptation to run away .. and I swear, tears of pride and joy sprang from my eyes and exhilaration shot through my veins when Harry, the boy we grew up with, stepped up as a man and faced his enemy with confidence, strength, wisdom.
Whatever faults the last HP book may have, I just have to say: Thank you, Harry, for giving me hope again and proving there are still admirable heroes in young literature.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 818) (818 new)


Janelle I was on Gale's side too and I felt that he deserved a much better wrap-up than, "Oh he went to district 2 and got a job and sometimes he's on tv. " WTF is that? He was my favorite character and then he was just forgotten? That really sucks. As much as I liked him, I would have rather seen him killed than just completely disregarded. It was like Collins finished the book and was like "Oops I forgot to explain where Gale went in all of this," and just threw that in.

Katniss and Peeta together at the end? Come on. Just because he was standing there with some bushes. He's weak, just like Katniss. Gale was strong. I really thought Gale would come out as a rescuer in this book - I thought that he was going to be the one to get Katniss to stop her whining and self-loathing BS and she would realize how weak she really was and end up with him because of his strength. But no, it just went on and on with the pity party and then bam, over.


message 2: by Tina (last edited Sep 01, 2010 12:04AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tina Janelle: I agree! Gale deserves a better ending (so does Finnick, ugh!). I don't know why Collins just wrote him off and Katniss dismissed him like yesterday's news when he's been there for her for years. I never liked Peeta much as a love interest. He was too clingy and sappy for my taste, and the only thing we really know about him is he loves Katniss, while Gale is his own person. I felt she only ended up with him because he was "safe" and he was there, she didn't choose him. She didn't even choose to have children, Peeta had to pressure her into it. So even in the end, she wasn't in control. I don't know if that's supposed to be a happy epilogue or not ..
I was just plain fed up with Katniss in this book -_-


Michelle YOUR REVIEW PRETTY MUCH MATCHES MINE EXACTLY....except i was for peeta the entire time...not that it matters because by the end of the book i'm pretty much sick of everybody. the ONLY time throughout the entire book i was like "YES GO KATNISS!" was when she shot coin. it was her one redeeming act in a 390 page book.....


Sara I agree with many aspects of this review and I think it is very well written :). My first impression after finishing reading was that there was a touch of The Deathly Hallows in this book, although it did blur the lines much more between good and bad, something I enjoyed. Anyways, the final battles in both books seemed to be designed to show the horrors of war. See the death of Finnick *sob* in parallel to Lupin and Tonks. Michelle, you said that some of the deaths were meaningless, I agree that the many, many people that died was heartbreaking, but I think they did have a purpose, to show how cruel and random fate can be, how fragile mortality is. The ending of this book was very tragic, but I do think there is some hope in it, I think that the very "Harry Potter-ish" ending of showing Katniss's children living in a world of peace was effective. It seems like a reminder, something to working against the huge suffering in the rest of the book. It helps as a reminder for what everone had been fighting for. I also disliked the "Bella-ish" periods of the book, although I think that they were an important and accurate depiction of PTSD. Also I think Katniss has a much better excuse for her behavoir that Bella did. Even though I have never gone through truama like this, I think Katniss did act very bravely considering her circumstances, she had the strength to make very dificult choices. At any point she had the choice to sink totally into metal incapacity, to run away. I think that the final message of this book was the Katniss had finished being The Girl on Fire, its now time for her to heal her burns and try to live the life that she started to fight for in the first place.


Zoë I agreed with most of this review, except I still liked Katniss. I felt sad that war and PTSD degenerated her mind and spirit, so it was depressing, but realistic. But the ending was super lame! I thought she would die as a martyr for the cause, in some heroic sort of mission. Taking control into her own hands. Instead she plants bushes with Peeta, forgets about Gale, and watches her kids dance around. Stupid.


Laura GOD!i literally just finished the book and was SO angry and the ending made me want to cry, not because it was so sad and touching but because i was soo upset! I found your review on here and it is exactly how i feel. UGH so upset


Janelle I wasn't expecting a happy ending for this one; I expected it to be depressing and I think the overall moral of the series was that killing and war solve nothing and ruin lives. I believe this is why Prim was killed, to show that everything you fight for becomes meaningless and blurred when things escalate into a war.

Katniss will never be able to be who she wanted to be. She talked before of a life with Gale, how she would never be able to have kids with him because of their status and the fear that they would end up in the Hunger Games. So the fact that Peeta had to talk her into having kids might be more along those lines - even though the games are over, the world is still a complete mess and she preferred not to bring children into it. She will be a sufferer for life. And maybe she feels that she owes something to Peeta because of their history. Either way, I didn't care much for the ending, though I think I understand it. I still would have liked to know more about Gale and maybe Annie, how she went on without Finnick.


message 8: by Karmory (last edited Aug 29, 2010 10:03AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karmory I felt the same way, still do, i feel empty and depressed i wish they would have shown the story of how she end up with Peeta... a lil more story!!!

it was hard to read so much death for what????

she didnt even enjoy the outcome... what? living alone in 12??

it was a dissapointment :(

fin's death... Prim's death .. what for?

cant anybody tell me what was doing Prim in the war at all???


message 9: by Melannie :) (last edited Aug 29, 2010 12:00PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Melannie :) Your review it's exactly what I think, I'm so upset about it, I couldn't even sleep thinking how so many things went wrong!

Also, I feel like Collins only wrote that about Gale 'cause she was trying to make us all jump in Team Peeta's board, Gale's character deserved better, a lot of them deserved better.

Like Finnick, he was a hero and he must have had an heroic death.

also, I'm so upset about Collins implicating Gale in Prim's death! and then sending him to 2 with a fancy job! what the hell?! he loves 12, then why would he save 900 district 12 people? and he was Katniss's BEST FRIEND, she expect me to believe he just went and never talked to her again, he loved her.

And Katniss was a an inspiration, and now I can't stand her.

URG, I'm so angry.


Karmory has Collins said anything ... any reaction of why!!! she chose that storyline!!! ....


Melannie :) I don't think she has, haven't heard anything :/


Janelle Maybe there will be an alternate book... told from Gale's POV... it's a stretch but I so badly want more information!


Linda I totally agree with your review, Tina! In fact, my boyfriend found your review tonight & suggested that I read it, because it's pretty much, point-by-point, everything that I discussed with him after we both finished reading Mockingjay yesterday. He was disappointed in it too, but not as much as I was!

Yeah, the end left me feeling depressed too, & also wondering - what's the point of it all? I understand if Suzanne Collins wanted to point out the bleak & brutal realities of war, but I agree that this started out as an epic trilogy, & it deserved an epic heroine & an epic ending - that could give a sense of true hope & change, for all the hell that these characters had to go through.

Thanks for a well-written, detailed, thoughtful & thought-provoking review!


Gunne "I read all this build-up and didn't get rewarded for it. And even though the rebels triumphed, I didn't feel anything for them, not relief, not happiness, just nothing. I was just detached. And none of it was thanks to Katniss: her only role in the Capitol's defeat was watching Prim die, getting burned, and waking up in a hospital, where we're TOLD instead of SHOWN how the Capitol fell (all while she was unconscious, an occurrence that's way too common in this book)."

and Janelle's comment:
" was on Gale's side too and I felt that he deserved a much better wrap-up than, "Oh he went to district 2 and got a job and sometimes he's on tv. " WTF is that?"

This.


Gunne Let's commemorate the Katniss from Book 1:

"The idea of being strong for someone else having never entered their heads, I find myself in the position of having to console them. Since I'm the person going in to be slaughtered, this is somewhat annoying."

I have trouble imagining Book 3 Katniss saying that, at all.


Rachel Exactly! The things that bothered you, bothered me too!


message 17: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily I completely agree! This book was so disappointing and depressing. I could have even done without the epologe because by the end I honestly didn't care what happened to katniss. I just wanted the suffering to end!! It sucks that prim died though. I liked her a lot.


Kelli Well written review :)

I put the book down and took a break after Finnick died because it was so unnecessary and such a let-down. Especially since in the end the good guys won, the evil Capitol was defeated- for what? It seems that if Collins wanted to portray any example of "it was all worth it" she would have let at least one family survive to show the bright side, life's worth living, etc. etc. Finnick and Annie had their Hunger Game scars too, but they didn't drug themselves and hide in empty pipes feeling sorry for themselves. They found a way to overcome what they had been through in a touching and inspiring way.

But we were left with Peeta, pining for a girl who has used him for 2 books and turned her back on him -to the point of saying she'd be down with killing him!- the second he wasn't there for support, and Katniss, lulled into loving him back because he's there and convenient.


message 19: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Why did she bother writing a third!! The whole point of fiction is so that you can manipulate the story and effect the reader in a such a way that he/she will never forget the book. This book is unforgettable alright... unforgettably disappointing. The first book captured me, the second was weaker but still pulled me in the third was sort of like 'i cant really be bothered so im gonna kill a few people, make them fall in love and im done.'Whilst i was reading i thought maybe Collins had come up with some amazing ending that would blow my mind.
Sure the ending is realistic and probably quite accurate about how most people would feel but i honestly could care less. I wanted an ending that would keep me in love with the Peeta, Gale and obviously the main character, Katniss. I REALLY dont want to say it but it is definately a fail!


message 20: by Andy (last edited Sep 02, 2010 02:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andy I didn't feel as negatively as you did, but I liked your review. I think Collins got too caught up in making the point that all governments are the same -- they use people, they are about obtaining and maintaining power rather than serving the people, etc. But yes, Katniss wasn't allowed to be enough of a heroine. That's why we read the other two books -- Katniss, the unwilling heroine. And yes, I think Prim's death does sabotage the trilogy. The trilogy exists because of Katniss' desire to save her sister. And when Prim does die, it's at such a cruel moment -- at the very end of the war. If she could have survived another minute, she would still be alive.

I'd like someone to explain to me why Katniss voted FOR the new Hunger Games. Yes, it was reprehensible for anyone to suggest continuing the Hunger Games. But it was put to a vote, which was good, and those who were against it had the opportunity to vote it down. So why not do so? Did she think she would lose her chance to kill Snow (and therefore, Coin) if she voted no? Maybe, but why?

Yes, a little more hopefulness would have been nice. We suffered with Katniss through three books. We wanted her to be happy.

Maybe Collins will redeem herself by writing a future trilogy about Katniss' children. ;-)


message 21: by Tina (last edited Sep 02, 2010 02:28PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tina In trying to be as realistic as possible, I think Collins chose a pessimistic extreme of "realism" to portray. There are perfectly human people in real life in real circumstances who are able to fight through obstacles and hardships and come out on top without relying on drugs and hiding in closets. They can find more constructive and positive ways to deal with their problems. Sure, it obviously has an effect on them (they're not invincible) but they don't lose themselves the way Katniss does. Those are the kinds of inspirational stories I wanna read about when it comes to these kinds of novels, not this "Diary of an Emo Puppet."


message 22: by Tina (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tina Actually, I'm gonna edit this review and stick in that comment I just wrote haha :P


message 23: by Andy (last edited Sep 02, 2010 02:46PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Andy If I ever come across "Diary of an Emo Puppet" in the giveaways, I will have to seriously consider it -- if only for the title.


message 24: by Cami (new) - rated it 2 stars

Cami I agree with your review 100%. I was extremely disappointed in this book. I loved Hunger Games and thought Catching Fire was a bit of a letdown but I still enjoyed it. I was confused with Katniss's character in Mockingjay. She definitely turned into a whiny obnoxious character and reminded me exactly of Bella in Twilight. The love triangle was similar as well, which drove me crazy too. And I was upset with the ending. I felt it was rushed and I wan't her to end up with Gail. Although I was fed up with the back and forth between Peeta and Gail as well. And I was very upset about Finnick's death too. Well said. I'm glad I'm not alone on this.


Alicia Young All I can say is: DITTO


message 26: by Karen (new)

Karen Andy wrote: "I didn't feel as negatively as you did, but I liked your review. I think Collins got too caught up in making the point that all governments are the same -- they use people, they are about obtainin..."

Andy, Janni Lee Simner had a good explanation of why Katniss voted for the Hunger Games, basically thinking she did it because otherwise Coin would have realized that Katniss knew she was responsible for Prim's death. This gave her the chance to face Snow and kill Coin. If Janni's right then this was one of the few times that Katniss acted with that decisiveness we all loved in her in HG.


Kayla I'm having a hard time understanding why everyone is calling for "the Katniss from book 1." Did you actually pay attention to what she went through? She even acknowledges for the reader in this book that once you've experienced so much trauma, you can never go back to the way you were before. You can only go forward, which she did. She grieved her many, many losses, dealt with her confusion in a way that any teenage girl would, and ended up right where she needed to be--home. And yes, with Peeta, who loved her unconditionally and didn't go flying off the handle every time she disagreed with him (ahem, Gale). I was a little disappointed that Gale was written off somewhat hastily at the end because I was pulling for him through most of the story, but you knew it was coming after the scene when he hands her the bow and arrow to kill Snow. She could never have been with him knowing that he helped create the weapon that killed Prim. I think this book does an excellent job showing the gravity of war, not some happily ever after just because it's fiction. I would have found it rather unbelievable had Katniss simply brushed it all off and carried on with her head held high.


Malika L. i read only half of this review but i completely agree with it all.


Laura I agree with your review and with your comments, while I was reading I was feeling like all of you. Thanks for putting it down in so much detail.
It really is a pity. Katniss was never a perfect saintly person, but in this book she is selfish, defensive, aloof, disorientated, manipulated, cruel... I was really disappointed that she didn't even, bother to help Peeta with his rehabilitation, even if she didn't love him at that point. In fact, she seems to act very little throughout the book. I am a bit mystified as to how things have gone so wrong in this final part of the trilogy. Peeta and Katniss feel here like completely different characters, even if they are damaged...
Thanks again for your review and all your interesting comments.


message 30: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy I feel the exact same way! I was so disappointed. As I was bored reading, I would day dream and imagine what might happen next! Something exciting, daring. But then the complete opposite would happen. To satisfy myself, I might have to delve into the world of fanfiction and write a new ending.

The beginning was okay to me, and like mentioned, I fell in love with many other characters! Finnick, Boggs. I always love Gale, but he was barely in this book!

Sigh.
Thanks for writing such an excellent review and even mentioning Bella's boringness as a comparison. I feel the exact same way.


Dorothy Tina - Your review was great and brought words to a lot of the things I was thinking. I also kept thinking, throughout the book, about how much Katniss reminded me of the ever self-pitying Bella Swan. Really well done.


Chelzee This is the best review of the book I've read. I agree with it 100% (except maybe the Harry Potter bit at the end, which I think was also a major let-down of a book, but that's another story).

The one thing about the book that completely pissed me off that you hadn't mentioned was when Katniss said yes during the voting for another Hunger Games, but with the Capitol kids instead. Had she not been completely disgusted with the Hunger Games the ENTIRE series?! Didn't she freak out when someone accidentally gunned down the little girl in the yellow jacket when trying to shoot the peacekeepers? I mean, how could she vote "yes, for Prim" when she never wanted Prim to go to the Hunger Games in the first place? I think that ultimately made me want to toss the book out the window, or at the very least, burn it. It was completely out of character, and made absolutely no sense.

Also, another thing- Haymitch's drinking problem. They put forth so much effort in all three books to keep him sober, but in the end, he's right back in 12, wasting away. Why not just kill him? I think his death might have been a much better write-in (happier, in fact) than Suzanne Collins' ending. I mean, he's just right back to where he was, alone and drunk. With geese. Geese don't make things better.

I think Suzanne Collins owes us a re-write. Or a slap in the face for being a lazy writer who's too busy taking in the glory (or, rather, cashflow) of writing an excellent first book and a halfway decent second book to attempt any amount of decent writing, plot development, and character building. I mean, she knew she had a giant check coming, and apparently that must have distracted her from her duties. Perhaps she couldn't write anything good because she was too busy rolling around in a pile of cash, naked with a martini. Who knows?


Kayla She didn't vote yes because she agreed with the Games, she voted yes to make Coin think she was in line with her thinking, knowing Coin wanted the Games. Makes it a whole lot easier to carry out a surprise execution when the person you're killing doesn't expect it. When she says she thought of Prim and voted yes, I really think she thought of how District 13 killed her and how she wanted revenge against Coin, even more than Snow maybe.


Katie I agree with you 100%!


message 35: by Julie (new)

Julie Rose OMG I agree 100%. great review!


Stacy I think it is BECAUSE Gale loved her that he left. Katniss chose Peeta, and Gale couldn't stick around and watch the two of them go on with their lives together...so he chose to leave.


message 37: by Four (new) - rated it 2 stars

Four Eyes I to strongly agree with this review. I was so angry at the end I wanted to throw the book away. I was about to give my on review but felt yours said everything I need to say. What a let Down.


Kerry Zielke I would have been angry if there WAS a happy ending that was all tied up with a pretty little bow. There was no way for that to happen in this series. Katniss' life was forever changed by what she saw and did. I think if Collins made the end of the book "and they lived happily ever after" she would have ruined the book. The theme of war and how war may be necessary but changes everyone involved, would have been trivialized if she made the end about the choice between Gayle and Peeta. Katniss' love for Peeta was natural because they shared so much tragedy. That is how love is. True love comes from familiarity, and I believe that Collins showed that Peeta was the one person who balanced Katniss' fury by showing her people can be kind. Gayle knew that was the way it should be because he never came back for her; the anger he felt was not good for Katniss. It would only fuel her's. Peeta brought her children and normality. Collins couldn't let Gayle and her do that because it wouldn't be believable.


message 39: by Lindsaypj (new)

Lindsaypj Kerry wrote: "I would have been angry if there WAS a happy ending that was all tied up with a pretty little bow. There was no way for that to happen in this series. Katniss' life was forever changed by what sh..."

Good points, Kerry. Makes me feel a tad less disappointed overall--but not much. It was way below my expectations.


message 40: by Tina (last edited Sep 08, 2010 10:59PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tina Kerry, thanks for your feedback, I love hearing people's views and opinions :). Now, I never said there had to be a happy ending, or that the novel should revolve around Gale vs. Peeta. I even said I'd rather have her be alone, if it was her OWN choice, not a choice someone else made for her. The entire novel she doesn't do anything with conviction and of her own accord. The issues I have are with Katniss's indifference, lack of control, and lack of .. well .. heart and passion in this book. She was a lifeless puppet and it was boring and annoying to read the story through her POV. The ways she dealt with her problems (drugs, shirking responsibilities, acting selfish, hiding in closets, endless self-pitying) are not admirable and I wouldn't want anyone emulating her. It would have been fine had she overcome all this at some point, but she never did, and the entire novel revolved around her mental breakdown instead of the story. Technically, on the surface, she did get her happy ending: she got her man, and she got kids. But none of it was her doing and her choice; and by then, she's already so dead, none of it matters and it just felt like a cop-out to attempt to satisfy readers. I didn't necessarily want a happy ending for her; I wanted her to grow and mature and take control of her life. The overall feeling of the ending was soulless and empty, and that's the main problem I have with this novel: the lack of HOPE. I have no problem with tragic/sad endings, if there is some underlying hope and some meaning to it all. In Mockingjay, I felt like Collins was so focused on her anti-war propaganda and "humans are evil" propaganda that she neglected the story and forgot there was a plot and characters to attend to.

Also, you said Peeta showed Katniss people can be kind. That was true in the previous books, but you can't say that for Mockingjay because he was hijacked and brainwashed the entire time, and Katniss was plotting his death half the time she was near him. Didn't feel any love growing there, and how they so easily fell back into each other's arms out of nowhere at the end is not believable to me.


message 41: by Lydia (new) - rated it 1 star

Lydia THANK YOU
This book was such a let down that when I finished reading the last page I thought Collins had given up on this book half way through and she was just going through the motions. So many deaths like Harry Potter had, but at least the deaths in that book caused an impact. I felt nothing for most of them, and I felt Finnick's death was random and came out of nowhere. Katniss doesn't give Finnick a second glance after she blows him up. Then Gale ditches (which is not like his character at all, he's supposed to be the steadfast one), and Peeta suddenly appears so Collins doesn't have to write the "choice" scene every reader has been waiting for.
Anyway, thanks for the review, it made me feel better. I shall stop complaining and ranting now.


Candace Petersen Martineau You expressed everything so perfectly- exactly how I felt. What a disappointment.


The Sweet Bookshelf What a perfect review. Exactly what I felt. My mom said she though Katniss took a stupid pill during this book.


message 44: by Emma (last edited Sep 06, 2010 10:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma I will have to disagree. I thought Collin made Katniss realistic. In the first book, she's very strong - she knows it's the only way to survive. But troughout the books, she looses just about eveything that matters to her. Her home, her sister, her friends. On top of that she's being used by a various number of people, all trying to gain something trough her. I have been trough my fair share of hard times, which is one of the reasons I relate to Katniss in so many ways. To know, with all your heart, that you'd do anything for the persons you love most in the world. To fight for your life. To comfort other's, even if you're the one who actually needs it. But still, as I said earlier, she has been trough so much. She has the death of I-don't-know-how-many-people on her concience. I'll ask you this, how would you feel?


message 45: by Tina (last edited Sep 06, 2010 01:12PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tina Emma goes Green wrote: "I will have to disagree. I thought Collin made Katniss realistic. In the first book, she's very strong - she knows it's the only way to survive. But troughout the books, she looses just about eveyt..."

I believe it was a pessimistic extreme of realism. There are strong, inspirational people in real life who are "realistic." They're not admirable because they have no faults or that they're fearless, but because they overcome their fears and problems to do what has to be done. I believed Katniss to be one of these people until Collins decided to kill her off and bring in some annoying clone to take her place.

All of the pain and misery and self-pitying she goes through is understandable and expected .. but at some point in the novel, her character has to step up and work past it to take action. Her character has to take control of her life, and has to have that story-changing moment ("ah, the winds have changed!") where she actively realizes she can't let these obstacles get in the way of achieving her goal. Instead, her decay was the focus throughout the entire novel and there was no resolution. The problem is that Mockingjay renders the series almost .. meaningless, because Katniss doesn't grow and change. She never takes control, she never makes active decisions and choices for herself. She is a pawn all throughout the series, there is no character development. The way the first two books were going, by the final book, she should have become a heroine, not an angsty, whiny little girl. Hell, I would have accepted her angst and whininess if she actually DID anything in the book. If you take out all the time she's incapacitated and hospitalized and whining and meandering and drugged (and you get my point), you'll see she doesn't do anything. We've spent so much time with Katniss (I was pretty emotionally invested) and it's disappointing to see her character at a standstill. I guess I just strongly dislike whiny, helpless protagonists.

I believe we'll have to agree to disagree in that respect :)


Alayna I know so many other people are saying the same thing...but thank you for this review! I was very disappointed with the book, and still am, and with Katniss, and with Gale's departure. And how far we were from the action. And with her constant mental instability and confusion.

Not well done at all!


Meredith Like most everyone else, I completely agree with your review. I feel like this book was rushed into production and it shows in the writing, the characters, the ending - everything. The presence of an outside editor's hand is so obvious it's downright disappointing: Gale's story was a complete afterthought, the epilogue was a poor stab at "wrapping everything up," and the character of Katniss rang untrue. There were so many missed opportunities to create meaningful scenes for the reader that I really can't say anything in support of this book.

Thanks for the thoughtful review - I'm glad to see an intelligent, devoted reader who feels as cheated as I did.


Lindsae I completely disagree with your review.

I find it disturbing the degree to which we sometimes expect our protagonists to be unbreakable. I will agree that some aspects of the story did feel a little too neatly tied-together at the end. Where there should have been political instability, a democracy suddenly sprung out of the chaos, which I found implausible. And Katniss was completely left alone by the politicians and the public, which I also found difficult to believe. She had acquired a level of fame that would have been difficult for the power-hungry to ignore indefinitely.

However, I believe Collins achieved exactly what she wanted to with these novels. And that was to demonstrate that everyone is vulnerable to would-be tyrants - even tyrants themselves. Collins grew up with a PoliSci PhD for a father, an air force pilot, who brought his children up with a healthy respect for the motives that underlie political facades. No matter how sharp, passionate, ethical or well-meaning you are, in a political arena you become forced to wield the power you have in ways you initially deplore simply because that is the game. The only way to win is to fight fire with fire. And the risk is burning alive.

Katniss knew this would happen to her. She knew that, like anyone with anything to lose, she could break. And she did. If that is to be labelled pessimism, then I think those who label it that way have a distorted and unrealistic view of reality. Everyone has a breaking point. And this was not a fluffy bunny story. Katniss broke by design.

That being said, I would argue that Katniss proved herself best not through the games or the political tactics, but at the end of the story by pulling herself out of the physical and mental damage done to her (and I think that to expect a protagonist to emerge from such experiences unscathed is ridiculous). It was a war she had to continue to wage the rest of her days. But she did it - she did the thing she feared most from the very beginning. She believed in the possibility of peace. It wasn't as glamourous or exciting as the Hunger Games. But it was the most taxing and difficult battle of all.

People break. That may not be what we want to read, but it is reality. And this story does honour to every soldier, every citizen, every person who is damaged over the course of doing what they believe is right. There is a cost to peace, and it comes at a price the average onlooker is uncomfortable to acknowledge. And the truth is, these are the real heroes. It is easier to die for peace than to live for it.

I applaud Suzanne for being brave enough to write a story that is true to its purpose, at the expense of eliciting warm fuzzies in her readers. The story is not pessimistic or depressing if the reader is careful enough to see past the tragedy to the real miracle of perseverance, and the beauty of finding solace and healing in each other even after all has been lost.


message 49: by kari (new) - rated it 2 stars

kari Terrific review. You said everything that I thought, too. Terrible ending, just not good at all.


message 50: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Lindsae wrote: "I completely disagree with your review.

I find it disturbing the degree to which we sometimes expect our protagonists to be unbreakable. I will agree that some aspects of the story did feel a lit..."


I agree! This is exactly how I feel. Sure, there are some places in the book that could have been different, but then again, isn't there always? And Katniss is put trough so much! She sees her little sister burn to death, for crying out loud! And you mentioned the morphin; being heavily sedated like that, so many times and so much- that alone is enough to change her for ever. With all the people who hate her, use her or die because of her- I would've broken way before Katniss did. I'm very impressed that she handled it the way she did. And she did come out in the end, realised that Coin was corrupt and shot her. This is realistic. This book. What happened to Katniss. After a war like that, what person could go on? I don't think anyone, no matter how strong, could live trough that and not have an unstable mind. In the end, Collin shows us what wars do to people. And I thank her for that.


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