Heather's Reviews > Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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Dec 04, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: 2010

How do I begin to convey my disappointment? I suppose it all comes down to expectations and as mine were not met, I feel vastly underwhelmed, and a little bit devastated. When I read HungerGames, I was enthralled. I thought Katniss was intelligent, resourceful, and displayed tremendous strength in character. Moreover, Katniss’s arc appeared to parallel with the overall arc of the story/series. As Katniss grew more bold, so did the remaining characters and the uprising initiative. I expected this to continue in Catching Fire. However, Katniss appeared to stagnate, whereas the remaining characters and overall story arc continued on without her. By the end of book 2, Katniss was still in “survivor” mode, and failed to deliver anything beyond demonstration of those already proven survival instincts that we readers discovered in book 1. Nonetheless, my love for HungerGames left me with hope that Katniss would finally step into her role as not only a symbol of hope and rebellion against tyranny, but as a leader in an uprising that opposes oppression, and emboldens freedom of choice and will. Much to my dismay, it never occurs.

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I was under the impression that this series was meant to be about revolting against a corrupt, freedom suppressing government and replacing it with a new government that not only condones freedom in all its forms, but fosters it, allowing it to thrive. For this to be an achievable story arc, Katniss has to develop into something more than a resourceful hunter, shooter of arrows, and unpredictable pawn. She has to embolden herself, as the districts have had to embolden themselves, grab her title as MockingJay by the balls, and make her own choices, cut her own path, and shoot down those who stand in her way literally and figuratively. Otherwise what is the point of revolution if the very person who made it possible doesn’t follow through?

But in MockingJay we don’t get an emboldened Katniss, we simply get more of the same, actually, we get less than the same. When Katniss isn’t hiding in closets, passed out from injuries, strung out on morphine, or walking around the compound in a near catatonic state, Katniss will exert herself in her typical yet unpredictable brash reactor form, always manipulated by those around her. She still lacks control over her life. She isn’t a warrior in the rebellion, she is a weapon, a tool, a pawn. Other times she is completely useless all-together. She is dictated to and she may or may not deliver. Where did the potential leader go I ask you?

This late in the game, Katniss needed to grow as a character, to complete the story arc, if not her own character’s journey, properly. Katniss has been used to spur the other districts into revolution because she is supposed to possess strength in character as seen in the Hunger Games. She is now the face of the revolution, whether she meant to be or not. The districts have become inspired by the ball busting Katniss they perceive her to be, and it’s a lie. Turns out she isn’t opposed to being used as long as it’s people she knows calling the shots (District 13). I would have been fine with this course of events had they appeared in CatchingFire. But by the final installment, Katniss needed to be in charge of her own fate, to understand her role, to be a role model. Instead I felt as though I was reading the POV of a mentally unstable drug addict.

Then there is the rebellion itself. I was expecting carnage, war, suffering, and terror seen through the eyes of our previous heroine (Katniss) and hero (Peeta). Instead we suffer through ad campaigns and one unnecessary adventure that doesn’t occur until the last portion of the book, and even that is unsatisfying with all its useless deaths (Finnick and Primm). Frankly, Finnick was the best part of MockingJay and I couldn’t even mourn him properly as his face time was so minimal and his death so swift. But back on point, what was the purpose for Katniss’s man killing mission? Is she really so daft that she can’t see the bigger picture? Can’t she rise above baser human emotions, and the events that pertain only to her? Can’t she at least attempt to be worthy of the responsibility that has befallen her? Can’t she at least strive to earn it? And what’s most pathetic is that the revenge attempt that cost the lives of Finnick and Primm was all for nothing. Snow lives, until TB takes him. At least that’s what I assume happens, it never is very clear on how he died.

But my biggest question is, why does Collins hate Peeta? When she wasn’t making him an invalid in books 1 and 2, he shined. Now in book 3 he has forgotten his love for Katniss and has been programmed by the Capital to kill her. What the hell? Why? Why not let him finally prove his worth, achieve his greatness? Why did she have to make him someone’s bitch?

This book is a sham. A cop out. And it destroys the integrity of the previous books in the series. The characters fail to develop and even digress into wretched states. The ending is a crap shoot, and that epilogue was bullshit. I’m Team Peeta through and through, but I feel ripped off. Katniss didn’t choose him, she resigned herself to him because he was the one who came back for her. There was no declaration on her part, no acceptance or confession of her feelings. Peeta deserved better. We readers earned better.

To those of you reviewers who will scoff at my review, claiming that this book was perfect because it was "realistic", I say give me a break. This series was never meant to be a war documentary. It is a Young Adult Sceince Fiction book. This book contains mutant animals and insects for Christ's sake. In what reality other than "make believe" does a teenager fuel a rebellion? Millions of girls adore Justin Beiber but he isn't going to become the next president. We didn't wait on pins and needles for realism. That's not why readers devoured The Hunger Games. We fell in love because the plot grabbed a hold of our minds with an enthralling story filled with worthy engaging characters. Sadly, somewhere along the way, Collins lost track of the story she was telling and got off course by deciding to get preachy. I didn't want a victim for a heroine, I wanted a victor.

After two rather epic books, I expected more, these characters were worthy of more. It’s terrible what was done to them and to us for having to read it. While reading MockingJayI felt like Katniss, a pawn.
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Reading Progress

December 4, 2009 – Shelved
Started Reading
August 24, 2010 – Finished Reading
August 25, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010

Comments (showing 1-50 of 88) (88 new)

Heather I'm pretty excited about it too, even though I was a bit disappointed in book 2, Collins can still write a fabby book.

Hannah I can't wait for August!!!!

Tatiana Pretty cover. Didn't expect it to be blue...

Heather Oh wow, I hadn't even noticed. And I wasn't expecting blue either, I thought it would be white.

Tatiana Me too. Not sure about the title though...

Heather I don't like it. It seems much to meak and mild compared to the other two titles.

Tatiana Yeah, they could have come up with something more exciting. It's like calling a book "Katniss." Just doesn't go with other titles

Heather How about "Breaking Wind" ? Goes with the two word titles of previous books ;)

Kristen "Kirby" I heard it was going to be called "The Victors".Hmm.The title stinks, I agree. The cover isn't great either and doesn't really go with the other two, I think.

Heather The Victors would have suited just fine. It doesn't bode well for the book for it to have a bad cover and crap title. Dang.

Kristen "Kirby" Yeah it has a better ring to it and the mockingjay thing was already used on Catching fire. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be decent. Better be with the long wait. (:

Heather She has some redeeming to do for me. I wasn't too pleased with Cathching Fire, but I'm oh so hoping that she pulls out a fabby book with this last one. I have my doubts about how she will be able to do this though with this title.

message 13: by Hannah (last edited Feb 11, 2010 01:31PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hannah Waaaa! Looks like I'm in the minority here in liking both the cover and the title (although I did like "The Victors" alot).

I'm more concerned about what's in between the cover! Please, please, please - no more Epic Fails.

Heather In a study, conducted by myself, testing myself, books with shite covers and lame titles tend to blow, lol.

Fingers crossed that this one is an outlier...

Tatiana I am OK with the cover. Maybe would have preferred white, but blue is OK, a hopeful color:)

And yes, I can get over the name, as long as what's inside is good. Sick of Epic Fails...

Hannah Heather wrote: "In a study, conducted by myself, testing myself, books with shite covers and lame titles tend to blow, lol...."

LOL! OK, you need to stop stealing my unscientific research techniques!

Hannah Tatiana wrote: "And yes, I can get over the name, as long as what's inside is good. Sick of Epic Fails..."

So sorry. I just read your review for "Gone" and saw it was a wallbanger for you. Don't have an interest in this series, so just as well it looks like.

Heather Well, it was just too good to pass up, what good are big sisters if you can't filch their studies from time to time? ;)

I was so disappointed. I don't even want to put it in by bookcase :(

message 19: by Hannah (last edited Feb 11, 2010 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hannah Heather wrote: "Well, it was just too good to pass up, what good are big sisters if you can't filch their studies from time to time? ;)"

Just don't borrow my little black dress.....

Heather Oh have too many of those anyhow,but sadly, nowhere to wear them. I'm just a collector, lol.

message 21: by Kristen "Kirby" (last edited Feb 11, 2010 02:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristen "Kirby" Heather wrote: "In a study, conducted by myself, testing myself, books with shite covers and lame titles tend to blow, lol.

Fingers crossed that this one is an outlier..."

Even books with gorgeous covers seem to suck nowadays lol. Note Hush, Hush, Fallen, Another Faust, Need, Wings, and a bunch of other new YA books . :P

Why did Catching Fire disappoint you? Was it the ending or the fact that they had to enter the arena again. (actually liked that twist, myself)

message 22: by Kristen "Kirby" (last edited Feb 11, 2010 02:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristen "Kirby" Hannahr wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "And yes, I can get over the name, as long as what's inside is good. Sick of Epic Fails..."

So sorry. I just read your review for "Gone" and saw it was a wallbanger for you. Don..."

Yeah, me neither. Didn't like Wake. Just felt too rushed and unrealistic or something.

Saw your guy's reviews. That stinks Gone was such a disappointment to ya'll.

message 23: by Tatiana (last edited Feb 11, 2010 02:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana Yeah, we actually loved Wake and Fade, but Gone was a downer.

And publishers have seduced us into reading all kinds of crap with beautiful covers:)

Heather It's terrible. I hope they have trouble looking at themselves in the mirror :)

Albie46 Tatiana wrote: "Yeah, we actually loved Wake and Fade, but Gone was a downer.

And publishers have seduced us into reading all kinds of crap with beautiful covers:)"

I heard Gone has an "appropriate" ending, so now I don't really want to read it. I will though, but it's not out here for another month-6weeks.
Is your review spoilerish? I will read it now if it's not... but I don't know if I want to read the spoilers...

I am hoping Mockinjay is not a let down too. I could end very badly I think. Someone's got to die don't they?

message 26: by Tatiana (last edited Feb 12, 2010 01:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana Albie, there is nothing to spoil. There is no story in Gone, sorry to say. I think you can safely read both mine and Heather's reviews.

Albie46 Oh well that is just plain sad. I need a series that ends on a high note, not one that makes you a bit fed up with the whole series.
I wasn't really the biggest fan of the second one at all, but for Cabel.
I'll lower my expectations to floor level then to hopefully counteract the inevitable dissappointment.

message 28: by Tatiana (last edited Feb 12, 2010 04:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana That's the right thing to do. Unfortunately, I had to kiss Cabel good-bye after Gone. He is just not the same fabby lad:(

message 29: by Albie46 (last edited Feb 12, 2010 03:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Albie46 I actually think he lost some of his fabness towards the end of fade when he went a bit 'distant' on Janie after the whole highschool bust thing.

Kristen "Kirby" Albie46 wrote: "Tatiana wrote: "Yeah, we actually loved Wake and Fade, but Gone was a downer.

And publishers have seduced us into reading all kinds of crap with beautiful covers:)"

I heard Gone has an "appro..."

Not Peeta! Gabe can go, but I'd really hate the book if Peeta died.

message 31: by Anna (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna I actually think the cover and title is suitable. I mean, the Mocking Jay IS the symbol in the whole story...? Anyway, it's the last book and the title has always had something to do with the story in the past, so maybe its about the mockingjay somehow. I abosolutly love this trilogy and I could care less about the cover. I cant wait for it to come out. Bring on the action!

Angie OH NO!! 2 stars!

message 33: by Penny (last edited Aug 25, 2010 04:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars


Two stars? What!?

Okay, so while I'm shocked that you didn't like this book, I respect your opinion. When I finished it, I thought, "WOW!" Then I thought, "this book is going to piss a lot of people off".

You're right, Katniss doesn't ever really become the Mocking Jay, but in my opinion, she wasn't Mocking Jay material. She never wanted to be. That's why she never quite became what district thirteen wanted her to be. But, in the end, she did what she felt was the right thing to do, and I can't say I disagree with what she did.

The new President was as much a tyrant as President Snow, if not more so, because she was claimed to be different from what he was. And she wasn't. She didn't want a better life for her people, she wanted more power, pure and simple.

When it comes to the unfortunate death of Primrose, well, I can't say that I was shocked. Suzanne Collins isn't afraid to do what most authors are, kill off favorite characters.

Some might say that Primrose might as well have died in the arena. In fact, I think Katniss did think that--I'll have to reread the book because I read the book so fast that I already forgot some of the finer details. But I think by repeating the words to the song The Hanging Tree, and having Katniss think about the meaning, Suzanne Collins is trying to get us to ask ourselves the same questions.

I've gone a little further and asked myself, if Prim hadn't died like that, would Katniss have followed through and killed President Snow? Would killing him have made up for all he'd done to Katniss, not to mention countless others? What would have happened under the rule of President Coin (I listened to the audiobook so I don't know if it's spelled different)? I don't know, like I said, I think she did the right thing.

And President Snow died anyway, so I have no complaints, although he didn't have TB. He had some sort of chronic condition that gave him mouth sores, because he drank poison that was meant to kill someone who stood in his way. That's why his breath always reeked of blood. That's why his lips were so puffy.

She didn't pick Peeta because he came back, she chose him because he's who she needed to survive, like Gale said. Peeta isn't just the boy with the bread, he's the dandelion she saw that day on the playground.

Plus, Katniss was never really a romantic at heart, though I could tell throughout this book and most of Catching Fire that she loved him.

And anyway, Gale's right, she would always wonder if the bombs used to kill Prim were his invention. Which, I'm sorry, when he was talking about it earlier on in the book, I was disgusted. I was sad that he felt the need to stoop to President Snow's level in order to fight back.

Krista (I remember you, Min) (Critical) Katniss did say she loved him...it definitely wasn't romantic or anything, but I wasn't expecting much from Katniss. She wasn't exactly the warm and fuzzy touchy feely type. I mean, I love Peeta and sort of agree that he deserves better--but I've hated Katniss since book one. Just something about her, I don't know.

And I agree about the pointless deaths. I felt like she put them in there because she didn't want to have to kill either Gale or Peeta, so she figured she'd have to kill a bunch of the other likable secondaries. Finnick :( :( I was really upset about that! He was the only light in this book for me, and then he had to die in that awful way. So annoying. I kind of wish now that I'd never read this. I want to pretend it doesn't exist and make up my own ending.

Kathy * Bookworm Nation Great review, I totally agree!

oliviasbooks Great review. I will put off reading it for a while.

Natalie Lundberg I agree with the review, but enjoyed the book. I am annoyed that anything good that happened in this book were in such small doses, almost to the point where I wanted to put it down. Peeta never seemed to get 100% better.. or even 80% back to himself. He was just so matter of fact about everything.. so robot like. I am sad that we didn't see the warm "loving" side to him at all in this book. The deaths weren't even descriptive... they just.. happened. The ending was mostly on stupid Katniss's emotional state. If Peeta was really back to normal (or mostly back to normal) he would have been there helping her get through all of this, not just living next door minding his business. EH.

Krista (I remember you, Min) (Critical) ^ Peeta has been through just as much as Katniss, so "helping her get through all of this?" They should be helping each other. Ugh, God, I don't even want to think about this book anymore. Katniss pisses me off, but not as much as Suzanne Collins does.

Natalie Lundberg yeah.I agree..

Heather Penny, I'll have to agree to disagree with your points, I think you are giving Katniss entirely too much credit. She most certainly would have killed Snow, it was the only thing she seemed willing to get out of bed for. The only agenda she appeared to care about and I have to agree with Krista that Collins killed other characters because she couldn't bring herself to kill Peeta, Gale or Katniss. I thoought the way Collins slaughtered Peeta's character was a travesty, but the biggest travesty was the way she crafted Katniss. She wasn't even a glimmer of the girl we saw in the arena and I can't help but wander if the other characters in the story would have supported such a sham of a girl had they known how weak in character she truly was?

Heather I also have to disagree that Katniss did what she felt was right. IMO, she killed Coin because Coin killed Primm, plain and simple. Katniss spends the entire book being dictated to by district 13 and while she chafes at it, she doesn't really do anything about it. Had Coin not have been the cause of Primm's demise, I doubt very highly that Katniss would have been the cause of her's. Instead, Katniss would have aimed that arrow straight for snow. Katniss is blind to anything that doesn't effect her directly.

Krista (I remember you, Min) (Critical) Exactly! I was really expecting Katniss to step up to the plate in this one and actually grow as a character, but instead she became less strong and less empowered and more self-centered.

Sunday Your review was perfection. Exactly how I felt.

Victoria Betts You just read my mind - seriously. I thought the exact thing about Katniss... she became whiny and self absorbed in Mockingjay
In the Hunger Games and even Catching Fire she showed herself as being resourceful, smart and brave and I expected her to use these qualities to lead the rebellion or at least help it along!
And I also agree with what you said about what happened to Peeta - completely unnecessary.
And Finnick dying? Just after he married Annie? I mean common, completely pointless.
This book was just... ugh.

Joyzi I agree, that's the reason I'm still undecided if this book is worth 5 star or a 1 star. Katniss break apart in this book.

message 46: by Annalisa (last edited Sep 14, 2010 12:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa That's what I've been trying to say. I feel like by not loving this book, I'm saying that I don't like books to be more realistic or that I can't handle it, when that's not it at all. I keep going back to the Hunger Games and asking myself what was different because that one was just as gruesome. But the way Collins delivered the story isn't. I feel like she's calling me out for liking a story that's so horrific when the only reason I did is because she made it fascinating. She made me care about the characters. None of the characters showed up for this book and without strong characters and good character development, all you have are some cruel sequences of war that mean nothing. Everyone applauds her for not being afraid to kill off characters or be cruel to them, but there's a difference between not sheltering your characters in giving them what the story requires and destroying your characters beyond reasonable expectation. You can go to the extreme the other way.

Oh, and by the way, you should put a spoiler warning on your review.

message 47: by Tina (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tina Your review was well-written and thought-provoking, I enjoyed reading it and I agree with the points you've made

Heather G I came on here to express my disappointment for the Mockingjay, but saw your review first. Your summary is dead on, and I couldn't voice my opinion any better.

Throughout this book, I felt as if the author had handed her pen over to a 10 year old with ADD - the descriptions were choppy and all over the place, and she never seemed to stay on a subject long enough to quite get a visualization or a real feel for what was going on - notably once the team had begun the trek to the capital.

Katniss had such fire and passion in the beginning of the trilogy, but Suzanne Collins wrapped up the final pages with no emotion and lacking depth. It just makes you wish both Peeta and Katniss had died fighting for the rebellion - at least this would have given their characters a chance to remain memorable.

Saniya ughh...i feel the same way believe me...i finally thought that Peeta's gonna be a hero or something worth that makes Katniss go crazy over him...but no he just becomes mental...ugh ugh ugh...I love Peeta...i mean she didn't even go to tell him how much she loved him when he became hijacked...it was like all she cared about was herself in this book...in hunger games atleast i felt that she cared about her sister and family..i liked gale...i was like ok they cant be GF/boyfriend...but they can still be best friends...i had no problem with that...but ugh...i hated Gale in the end...i was like i wish i would have been Katniss then i would have been like PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA PEETA...!!! :[

Janine I loved your review. Well thought-out and on point. Collins completely betrayed the reader in MJ. She set you up for a revolution, but Katniss was no revolutionary. I liked that Coin was evil; many revolutions end by putting worse or just different despots in charge. But, there is hope for humanity, is there not? Apparently not in Collins' world. She took the characters with the most humanity and stripped it of them (Peeta, Finnick, Primm) by killing them off or, in Peeta's case, torturing them. And Katniss ends the book as more of a pawn than when she started HG.

Badly done, Collins.

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