Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) - Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA dystopian/sci fi
# of pages: 390 (hb)
Recommended for: ALL AGES
Thoughts Did I enjoy this book? Well, that's hard to say. I was highly anticipating Mockingjay's arrival, for it would settle all the conflicts of Panem, Katniss and ensemble once and for all. And while I did get closure, I didn't really get resolution. There is a difference! And I honestly can't say that I enjoyed myself while reading this. It wasn't a particularly "fun" read, but it was emotionally jarring.
I’ve had a few days to reflect, and with Mockingjay, my feelings have to do with what I was expecting vs. what I got instead. Since this is the last book, I was prepared for Katniss to settle the love triangle thing once and for all. I was expecting her (and Gale and Peeta) to spend some time on the love story issue, and to bring about the fall of Snow and all that. What disappointed me the most about Mockingjay is that I feel like I never got the resolution that I was looking for. I would argue that by the end of Mockingjay there IS no resolution. Katniss never had to make a decision – it was pretty much made for her.
And even with my “reflection time” I still believe that Collins committed (at least) partial hari-kari with her characters. Katniss’ lack of emotional depth, her distrusting and cynical side, were very understandable in The Hunger Games. Partway through Catching Fire, I was starting to tire of her attitude, but I kept thinking, “Okay, she’ll undergo a character change in Mockingjay. She has to.” And she didn’t – in fact, she got worse. To me, Katniss’ treatment of the people around her in this book is for the most part unacceptable. She is disloyal, especially to Peeta and extremely insensitive of everything that happens to him. I’m not going to go into it, but she showed some series personality flaws that, this late in the game, can’t be excused or explained away. If your MC is not likable, it's hard to hold on to the story. And once again, you had important, emotional, and heart-wrenching deaths happening OFF SCREEN, which makes it even harder to have an emotional reaction. I kept a tally of how many major characters get offed in this installment, and most it was OFF SCREEN! This whole BOOK is emotionally dehydrated. Readers are supposed to feel something, but none of the characters seem to!
And then…there’s the last chapter. After 300+ pages of Katniss refusing to deal with her issues, it seemed like an ending that was undeserved. It would have made the ending and the epilogue so much more fulfilling if it had felt genuine, but it didn’t. I’m still not convinced that Katniss is capable of love… but still, I do appreciate Collins giving us closure.
And of course, there’s non-stop action, which has always been the strength of this series. But when books 1 and 2 emphasize action over character development, emotional exploration, or romantic angles, it leaves a lot of necessary ground left to cover for book 3. And once again, there was lot of action…but not a lot of anything else. And that just doesn’t cut it at this stage.
With all this in mind, The Hunger Games is still one of my favorite series of all-time, and Suzanne Collins is still one of my favorite authors, someone I highly admire and look up to. It’s a shame that Mockingjay didn’t deliver on ALL levels, but I love books 1 and 2, and the ending here. I guess that's good enough. Now I will say that my age has a lot to do with how I felt about this book: I’m 21 and you know, I look for character exploration and emotional depth, while my teenage friends sometimes don’t. I do have the word of my 13-year-old cousin backing me up that Katniss’ attitude was hard to stomach, so I don’t feel quite so alienated on that ground. Regardless of my disappointed feelings with this book, I still say that The Hunger Games series – all 3 books – are among the best Young Adult literature on the market today, and that everybody needs to give this series a try!
Final Rating:Still a pretty good grade, but unfortunately it didn't earn an 'A' from me.