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Thoughts: Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

This review will contain spoilers for the entire series.  If you haven’t read these books yet, skip this post and read them!

I am not even going to attempt to summarize this, but I thought instead I’d just post a collection of thoughts now that I’ve finally managed to finish the book myself, before I go out and read all the other reviews that might influence my own opinion.

First of all, I had a harder time connecting with this book than with either of the first two.  I found it difficult to recognize these characters after the horrors they’d endured, and Collins just kept piling on the pain.  The entire world has become unrecognizable due to the rebellion, so I found that there were few points for me to hang onto as references; all I had was Katniss and even she is often drugged, suffering, and considered mentally unstable by everyone else.  Every time something happens to her, on come the drugs and the seclusion and I got very tired of it.  All of the other characters either die or become distant versions of themselves, so affected by the turmoil of war that they are fundamentally changed.

And I think that’s what I didn’t like about the book in the end, that it was basically war.  The Hunger Games certainly weren’t easy to take in either of the first two books, but there was a definitive goal, things I knew had to happen to get to the end.  I knew which characters were in danger.  This is just the horrors of war, over and over, and even though the Capitol is designed like a Hunger Games arena, I just found it that much more difficult to deal with.  I think it may have made it worse, reading all three in a row, because there’s just so much violence and pain and suffering.  By this point, I couldn’t take it.  She doesn’t soften anything at all.

I also really didn’t like how the deaths were almost glanced over.  Here I’ve gone and become attached to all of these characters and they just die over and over and there was no break in the book to mourn them.  I had this problem with another dystopia, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it bothered me just as much here.

That’s not to say I didn’t like the book, although it’s harder to say I like such a very dark book.  I thought most of what happened in it had to happen for the ending to come out the way it did.  We all could easily see the rebellion coming, that Katniss was the focal point of it, and that people were going to die to make it all come out okay for the rest of them.  The plot had a few surprises in store.  It was still just as absorbing a book as the rest of them, but I am not sure it lived up to my expectations.  About the only thing that completely satisfied me was the ending, which was just how I wanted it to be, and Katniss even shared my reasoning for her eventual choice.  I was worried that she wasn’t going to choose at all, based on some blog titles I’d seen around and the way the book seemed to be going.  I do kind of think the epilogue was unnecessary, but not entirely unwelcome.

I’m glad that, in the end, the book left me satisfied, but since I did a reread of the first two before launching into this one, I genuinely don’t think it’s as good.  I didn’t like it as much, it didn’t absorb me to the same extent.  I may change my mind if I do a reread of the whole series in a year or two, when my internal hype has died down, and I’ll see if the conclusion sticks as well as the first two did.

What did you think of Mockingjay?

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14 comments to Thoughts: Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

  • I also reread the first two before reading Mockingjay, and agree that the first two were better. I thought the third could have been called: PTSD in Panem!

    Loved Finnick and Johanna. Thought Katniss became too taken with herself and too self-absorbed. Wondered how Prim turned blonde. Wondered how Haymitch managed to run a revolution while passed out drunk all the time. Thought Gale’s character in the first two books deserved better treatment in the third. Thought Katniss unfairly blamed Gale for Prim’s death.

  • One of the first things I said to my boyfriend when I finished the book was that Katniss had way too many emotional break-downs. I know that sounds unsympathetic, but it’s a rather short book for someone to break down that many times, particularly when she’s the narrator! I could see her having 2–one at the beginning, and one at the end, but all the ones in-between, yech.

    Y’know, one of the things I didn’t like about the book was the ending. NOT because of who she chose, but because of the life she chose. White picket fence life? Really? That seems very un-Katniss like.

  • I completely agree with your review as well as Rhapsody and Amanda’s comments. I didn’t reread the first two and that was why I thought I felt so disjointed from most of the characters. I guess that really didn’t matter in the end. I’m not happy with the ending for some of the same reasons Amanda mentioned. It didn’t much feel like a choice to me. It seemed like a default reaction. I’m also not even sure I cared what happened to her either. I think that’s near blasphemy. The book was a let down for me.

    I want to “blame” my reaction to the book on my Grandfather’s passing and my general non-reading state, but it looks as though I’ve come to some of the same conclusions as others. That makes me sad.
    Literate Housewife´s last post …Leave of Absence

  • I actually think Mockingjay was my favorite of the series. I posted my review today as well. I had a pretty visceral reaction to the epilogue. Like you, I definitely thought it was unnecessary.
    Stephanie´s last post …Book Review- Mockingjay SPOILERS

  • ah well Mockingjay was my favorite. Admittedly, I went into the book with few expectations. I was actually immediately engaged which didn’t happen with the first two. I appreciated the darker, grimmer tone (and yes so much of this had to do with the absence of Peeta imo) I thought as an exploration of war and it’s effects on people, on the role of propaganda in war, the struggle to discern what’s real, the fact that there is never a clearly good guy, all of this really really worked for me. And I doubt it would have impacted me nearly as much if I didn’t love these characters from the first two books. I thought the construction of the book and trilogy as a whole was pretty amazing and the more I reflect on the ending, the more I love it.

    I’m of the very minority opinion that the epilogue was necessary. I love she brings us closure by including the Meadow song one more time, that it calls to mind the time during the Quarter Quell when Katniss thought of the Meadow song and dreamed of a place where Peeta’s child could be safe. And I do like that she included that they had children…I know a lot of people think that goes against her wishes, but really Katniss was just afraid to have children and eventually having them shows she finally came to a place where she believed life was worth continuing. And I love that she reminds us they play on a graveyard…freedom, hope, these things come at a tremendous cost and should never be forgotten.

    I didn’t expect such a serious social critique or such a message on war but it doesn’t bother me that’s what I got. This book moved me in ways a book hasn’t for a very very long time.

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it, though! I feel like I’m in the minority in my appreciation and love for the book.
    Amy @ My Friend Amy´s last post …The Vampire Diaries News

  • The more I think about the comparisons to CHAOS WALKING, the more MOCKINGJAY pales. Ness explored the war themes there so much more deeply and effectively than Collins. Of course, I still love Collins’ characters, even though, as you say, they were pretty torn up and unrecognizable here.
    Lenore´s last post …Book Review- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Spoilers

  • I think this was the best book of the series. I thought it was realistic. I don’t think that every book should have a happy ending. I think the characters should reflect what is going on in their lives.
    Bluestocking´s last post …For We Have Been Two of a Kind from the Start

  • I quite liked Mockingjay and it’s conclusion. Raced through it in one sitting, finishing it at 3 am.
    Elena Gwynne´s last post …Last Chance To Win! – Hand of Isis

  • Well you’ve read my thoughts, so I won’t repeat them here. I think one of things that makes this book so successful is that everyone has such strong reactions to it. I too was getting tired of Katniss being drugged and there were so many deaths with so little break that I just started glazing over and the deaths really had little impact on me. Even Prim’s.

    I’m glad that you loved the ending.
    Beth F´s last post …Mockingjay Tour- Whats Up with District 13

  • Amy

    I read the first two and loved them. I put Mockingjay on hold at the library and I’m #48 in line so I won’t be reading it for a bit. Oh well. I’m enjoying all the different reactions though.
    Amy´s last post …Teaser Tuesdays

  • You make excellent points, points that I agree with. This was definitely a very bleak book and I didn’t feel a lot of the hopefulness or perseverance that I had in the first two. That isn’t to say that the book was bad, just different. While realisitic (I suppose) Katniss was barely recognizable and as you’ve mentioned the drugging and such got old fast. Despite being a fan of Peeta I have to say that the end felt a bit disatisfying. I can’t quite put my finger on why at the moment. I think in time I’ll have a better handle on exactly what about it rubbed me the wrong way. For now I’ll just go with the idea that it seemed entirely too convenient.
    Michelle´s last post …It’s Time! KidlitCon and The Cybils

  • “I also really didn’t like how the deaths were almost glanced over. Here I’ve gone and become attached to all of these characters and they just die over and over and there was no break in the book to mourn them.”

    I could have written this exact same thing! It was definitely my biggest criticism of the book. It seems like in those last few chapters she all of a sudden started killing people off really quickly. I actually had to go back and re-read a few pages because I couldn’t believe that it happened so fast!
    Tricia Meyer´s last post …Hunger Games Movie Release Date

  • Jaimz

    I read the hunger games consecutively within three weeks and I have to say the first two books were better (in my opinion) by miles. Not because the story was a let down or the plot holes were just stupid but because it made me change my opinion about everything in the book. I mean it made me hate Peeta and Katniss’ personality change was ridiculous and Haymitch seemed a little forgotten in the book. Snow almost seemed to be a good guy once the war is over and Gale disappears afterwards too. I was completely unsatisfied. I’m sorry if anyone disagrees but its just my opinion.

  • katie

    It was too much of the same thing. It had me pulled in at the beginning of the book, but by the time they got Peeta back it was monotonous . More of Katniss acting like a robot. Collins needed to break up the endless cycle of despair a little bit. To keep it interesting. The ending was good though.