** spoiler alert **
This review originally appeared on http://bellesbookshelf.blogspot.com/
Mockingjay is a great end to an amazing series. But I have to admit I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong - it was a gripping page-turner, just as the previous two Hunger Games books were, but unfortunately I wasn't left with the feeling of being completely blown away, as I expected. I think what made it worse was that, for the first three-quarters of the book, that's exactly how I was feeling, but as I got nearer to the end my enthusiasm waned big time. While I think it's great Collins once again threw in totally unexpected twists that I, for one, definitely didn't see coming, I hated how grim it was. I know the characters have been through A LOT, but still, I was hoping after all that there would be more of a triumphant feeling in the end. Frankly, the anti-human message was rammed a little too hard down my throat. It was so incredibly, unexpectedly bleak.
It was horrible to see all the fight go out of Katniss. She started out as such a strong character, and while it's realistic that, after all she's been through, she's seriously damaged, I missed the fiery Mockingjay. Although the final pages and the epilogue hinted at her putting herself back together and leading a reasonably full life, the last paragraph about her inner turmoil kind of undermines that with its focus on the negatives. I guess I would have just liked a few extra pages, just one or two full scenes - full conversations, at least - of her and Peeta together, happy.
Which brings me to Peeta. Oh, Peeta. What happened to him was just heartbreaking. After spending two books firmly on the fence between him and Gale - and wanting to see more of the latter - I sped through Mockingjay, yearning for Peeta, impatient to see him - the REAL him - reappear. But once again, while he obviously gets better in the end, I would have liked a little bit more time with him. One or two scenes - instead of just a brief mention and vague references - would have been so much more satisfying. Just to see the real Peeta one last time.
As for Gale, after finally getting to spend more time with him, I was so disappointed. He was surprisingly hard, brutal and uncaring. I couldn't believe how he basically deserted Katniss in the hospital, and later in District 12. Of course, he's been through a lot himself, but still - Peeta has arguably been through even more and he fought his way back to Katniss. For Katniss. She made the right choice.
I probably sound like I hated this book, but I didn't. I liked it. Loved it even, for the most part. It was just the ending, really, that left me unsatisfied. Which is not a good feeling to be left with after such a brilliant series.