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?