Mockingjay

After I reviewed the second Hunger Games book, Catching Fire, two readers exhorted me to skip the third book because they said it would only disappoint me.  Naturally after that sort of intriguing comment I could not help but read it anyway, but I must say that I found Mockingjay to be a satisfying and appropriate end to the series.

Mockingjay continues the fantastic setting and premise of the series, presenting the contrast between the Capitol and the rebels and questioning the nature of government, rebellion, war, cruelty, and love.  Those are not light themes for a YA novel, but the author handles them well.  My only quibble with the book is that the structure of throwing the main character into yet a THIRD redux of the original Hunger Games construct was a little tiresome.  That part was not belabored though, and I thought the ending provided a good twist and a satisfying resolution.  Perhaps the readers who were disappointed were pulling for the guy who did not wind up with Katniss?  I wasn’t pulling for him.  I was pulling for the guy who got her.  So I was happy with how things turned out.

If you’ve read this trilogy and you have a different opinion of the outcome, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think I overlooked!  I’d love to discuss this with someone!  Just put “spoiler” in caps at the start of your comment if you’re going to give something away, just in case anyone else hasn’t finished the series yet.

Gee, for someone who claims not to like YA, I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately, huh?  :)

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4 Responses to Mockingjay

  1. Sheila says:

    Spoilers below!

    Well, I was one of those two who recommended against reading the third so I’ll have to defend my issues with it. But I definitely did not mind the guy she would up with – he was my pick from the beginning so that’s not it at all. I did somewhat mind HOW she ended up with him – not because she decided he was the one for her, but because he was the only one left available for her, and because it felt like she was trying to prove she could still have him after his experiences while captured.

    Just to be clear, I loved the first in the series. It was violent, yes, but there was hope in it as well. The second book I didn’t like as much, in part because it felt like such a placeholder for the third. But the third… I was really really disappointed in it. I usually read fiction to be entertained, and this did not entertain me.

    The violence felt so much more extreme (despite there being significant violence in the first two), and so unnecessary – just like she was throwing it in there because it was expected. Some of the deaths also felt that way. Katniss did not feel believable to me at all – for someone who in the first book lived to keep her mom and sister alive, she seemed completely disinterested in them and spent no time with them. I wanted Peeta to realize he could do better than her (actually, I felt like that before the third book).

    I feel like the author was trying to send such a pessimistic message about the terrible costs of war in the third book. I think she could have conveyed this without it being so unrelentingly bleak. There certainly didn’t feel like a successful outcome in any way – there is no hope or joy in the lives they lead, just dreary existence.

    I like to read books where characters grow and are changed by their experiences, and do not feel like this took place at all. I do not mind characters (even beloved characters) dying, but I don’t want to feel like their deaths are just thrown into the story because it’s time for another gruesome death scene.

    Naptime is ending soon, so I don’t have time to finish fleshing out some of my other thoughts about the book (especially my dislike of Katniss during almost all of it). I found a review online that, other than her rooting for Gale to “win” Katniss, I think I agree with her completely. Not all that surprising, since I touch on some of the same ideas she details.
    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/118740546
    Warning to anyone super sensitive towards language that she does use some words that my mom wouldn’t like.

    Hope this all makes sense as I’m rushing a bit…

    • Thanks for taking time to reply, Sheila! I agree with several of your points, especially about not liking Katniss (she’s such an unrelenting whiner and has the same struggles over and over again) and I also agree with the review you linked about how Katniss actually declined instead of improved as a character. I guess I just felt like Mockingjay wrapped up the series in the sense of what was going on in the socio-political world so I didn’t feel like I was left hanging. After the first book, I was really reading for the setting. I guess I wasn’t expecting much out of Katniss or the love triangle thing so I wasn’t terribly disappointed.

      • Sheila says:

        I definitely think that Mockingjay wrapped up the series well from a socio-political standpoint, so no complaints there, but I guess I *did* expect more out of Katniss. (Not so much the love triangle aspect, again, I wasn’t thrilled with the how, but if that had been my big problem with the book, I’d have still been satisfied with the story.)

        In the first book especially, Katniss was such a great character – strong, resourceful, intelligent and caring – and in Mockingjay she was a prop. I typically do read fiction for the characters, and will forgive an author many iffy plot devices or weaker settings if I like the characters, so to start with a great character and have her fizzle out was the biggest letdown for me.

        I’m glad you weren’t disappointed in it though. :)

  2. Ainsely says:

    Catherine, I am sorry not to have responded sooner…We have had endless sickness at our house, and I kept meaning to sit down and reply, to no avail. Now that I finally have a moment, I see that Sheila has already typed out, word for word, my intended response. Thank you so much, Sheila!

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