Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review - Mockingjay

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)
by Suzanne Collins
Date: 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 390
Format: e-book
Source: bought from Kobo

Katniss has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now the Capitol is furious, and it will do everything in its power to stop the revolt that Katniss has unwittingly set in motion. Katniss joins the rebels, becoming their inspirational Mockingjay in an attempt to overthrow the corrupt and decadent regime headed by the evil President Snow.  It's a dangerous mission... but the people of Panem have had enough, and the rebellion grows stronger by the day.

Will Katniss be able to protect those she loves? Or is the Capitol still powerful enough to destroy everyone and everything she cares about?

And after all that... I have to say I'm pretty disappointed.

Beware of spoilers ahead!  Stop reading if you do not want the ending ruined!

I did not enjoy this book.  After flying through the first two installments in the series, I thought I was in for another treat.  I was wrong.  Instead of the rather unique and unusual circumstances of the first two books, we're instead given this mish-mash of combat scenes and Katniss crawling into various corners to hide.  The whole book seemed slapdash to me, thrown together at the last moment just to make a trilogy.  The tight plotting of the first book was gone.  The pacing was off.  And the characters grated on my nerves.  I think what bothered me the most was the lack of character development of Katniss.  But it's understandable because, when you get right down to it, she's really not that great of a main character.  She doesn't really do anything; she's basically used, abused, and kept in the dark throughout much of the series.  Things happen to her... but she doesn't really have much control over the situation.  She doesn't even handle these things very well.  That's not exactly what I like to see in a main character.

There were some things that I would have liked to see in this series.  One major thing that I wish Collins had written about was what went on behind the scenes of the Hunger Games.  Instead of Katniss going back into the arena for a second time (as she did in Catching Fire), I would have liked to see her act as a mentor to another tribute... and then perhaps proactively do something to start bringing down the government from the inside.  That would have been an interesting story.

Instead, we got a very depressing, very graphic depiction of war and resistance.  I finished the book last night and then had nightmares about watching people die for entertainment on reality TV (I'm not kidding).  While I get the underlying messages of the books, I just wish this third book had been a little more interesting (and perhaps a bit more optimistic).  It reminded me a lot of John Marsden's Tomorrow, When the War Began... only it didn't hold my interest nearly as well.

All in all, I quite liked the first two books, but if I had to do it over again, I would have stopped reading after The Hunger Games.  I probably would have been more satisfied than I am now... even with that first cliffhanger ending.

Plot: 1/5
Characters: 3/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Overall: 2.4 out of 5

7 comments:

  1. I have all 3. I don't know if I could stop at one. Even if they aren't potato chips. ;)

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  2. I'm sad to hear you didn't enjoy it. I personally loved the book. Yes, it was hard to read and yes, it was ugly in many ways but that's what it boils down to. Nobody's a winner or a hero in war. Great review, though.

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  3. I was let down by this books too. I still have mixed feelings about it. All the points you didn't like about it, I had felt the same way too. It was almost like Suzanne Collins just gave up after the first too and didn't care.

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  4. I was very disappointed as well. I echoed your thought that Katniss brought the government in a clever / smarter / more strategic way. Here is my review:
    http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/2010/10/book-review-mockingjay-3-of-hunger.html

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  5. I was wondering if you would like this book or not. I kind of was thinking no, but wasn't sure.

    You mentioned about Katniss not being one to do much. And I think you are right about that. And even in the first book Katniss herself did not catch the eye of the followers/supporters. It was the secondary characters that caught the eyes and hearts at the games. Great point though!

    Thanks for the honest review!

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