Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Book Jacket Summary:
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
Well, let’s start this off honest: I’m glad I own this series on my nook. Because honestly? Better bang for the buck. There are definitely some facets of the third book which are similarly underdeveloped as in the second — particularly the character development! So, let’s get it out of the way: my two biggest complaints about the third installment of the Hunger Games trilogy are as follow:
1) Katniss never really grows as a character. She is never included in the war meetings, and she’s really honestly only the face of the revolution — nothing more, despite my desire for her to grow as a participant and leader as well. While I think her position outside the war meetings is logical given her age, there was a lot of unused potential development of her character.
2) Collins has a really hard time making the build of the war towards its climax interesting. In fact, it just seems rushed — but since the war is supposed to be intense and dramatic, it reads more as a sixty-ish page summary of the war, with bits of action involving Katniss’s role as the face of the revolution to placate our boredom.I think if Collins had given herself a bit more space to really build the drama of the war, the entire series would have fared better.
But as the novel progresses, the action appears more than the summary and the book regains its gripping narrative of a girl struggling to take revenge the only way she knows how: by fighting to the death, as trained by the Capitol (irony!). Not because she was forced to, but because she wanted to. Here, Katniss’s character finally begins to grow again, and I began to love the story again. Which leads me to a much more exciting part of this review to write: what I loved about the conclusion of this series! And in reality, the facets that I loved are considerably more important in the long run, because they really make the series worthwhile.
1) HOLY MOLEY, THE ACTION. While Collins builds the drama of the war poorly, she does a fantastic job with action scenes. Like I’ve said before, she has a knack at writing scenes as if you are there, rather than just reading an account — the smells, the sounds, the feel. All the senses are woven into the narrative to help you understand things as if they are happening at that exact moment, instead of as if reading an account of what happened just a short moment ago.
2) REALISTIC (AND SURPRISING!) CONCLUSION. I thought Collins created an ending to the trilogy which was entirely satisfying — it resolved all the tension of the three novels, tied up all the tangents in neat (and believable) little bows, and created a sense of catharsis without being overly idealistic or unrealistic (both extremes of which I hate, and even more when combined — cough, cough, Harry Potter, cough). Simultaneously, it was also surprising! I really, really won’t give it away…but it was well worth sifting through all the mild summary for that conclusion to the series!
3) OH HOW I LOVE THE LOVE. Resolution of the love triangle! I won’t give it away, again…but I was unsure how Collins would wrap this up, and really concerned that she would leave some facet of the triangle unresolved. While I do think she took the decision out of Katniss’s hands…well, she did it well. And actually, I was surprised, which was even more impressive! It usually doesn’t take me long to determine which pairing I prefer, and I get annoyed when the other is chosen (because lets be honest: it’s usually the more poorly developed relationship).
While there are a few things that frustrate me about this series, I am overall very happy with the series. In the end, it was worth both the money and time I spent, which is all I really ask. Moreover, the conclusion of these three novels is very well executed, in a way that leaves me almost content — the series is wrapped up, no tangents left un-addressed (even the mutant tributes in the first book were addressed!), and I thought the epilogue both necessary and adorable.
Overall, I would give the series 4 stars — the first book is definitely a 5, and is a must-read for anyone who loves action / adventure / fantasy / romance / young adult (or any combination of those themes); however, the first book is almost better as a stand-alone novel, as I think the second two almost drag it down as a series.
On my mental bookshelf, this is the series you own in all paperback — and while you go back to read the first book once or twice, you might never make it through the second and third books again. Still, they are well-worth the read!
More reviews tomorrow!