Book talk: ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins

There are many things you probably need right now.

A sandwich, maybe; you skipped breakfast again and wow, does that make you ravenous come lunchtime. Maybe a nice nap, too, after eating that big meal. And I’d wager you could really do with an extra thousand bucks to put towards student loans, a mortgage or your addictive book-buying habit.

What you probably don’t need right now? Another review of Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay.

But before you mark this post as “read” in Google Reader or immediately skip past it to look at photos of cupcakes and baby cows, I’ll say this: I’m not going to review Mockingjay. Not the way I typically review books, anyway, with a good ol’ summary and my extensive thoughts on a novel.

Because honestly? I don’t really have extensive thoughts on this novel — and definitely not those already covered extensively by far more intelligent, comprehensive and devoted fans of the series than yours truly.

So here’s how I felt about it. After months of hearing about some crazy young adult novel called The Hunger Games, I finally broke down and snagged a copy off BookMooch. I read it — devoured it, really — and was in loooove. Out came Catching Fire and, you know, that one was pretty great, too. Action, adventure, a weird love triangle — I was hooked.

And then we have Mockingjay, the third and final book in Collins’ best-selling series. And while I liked the book, there were many things about it that just . . . made me feel very ambivalent. And it took me almost two weeks to finish it, which is crazy to me. Especially since I put aside everything else I was reading when it was released in August.

Spoilers below.

So we have Peeta. And we have Gale. And Lord knows I love me a good love dilemma, but really? This didn’t even feel like a fair fight. Stuck in a District far from home after his own has been destroyed, Gale has turned into some blood-thirsty psychopath hopped on stereoids. And while I don’t blame him for his attitude, he isn’t exactly the Gale we’ve grown to know and love. That guy definitely disappeared.

And Peeta? Well, Peeta isn’t in a position to be asserting his male dominance and snatching our girl Katniss out of the grips of broody, sexy Gale. Peeta is . . . brain-washed. Crazed. Weird. Creepy. And at first I thought, “Oh, awesome. Collins conveniently makes Peeta a member of the walking dead so that Katniss has no choice but to pick Gale!” And even though it didn’t really go down that way, it still felt . . . easy. A little too tidy, maybe. I liked Gale’s progression in some ways, sure, but in other ways? It felt very unrealistic to me.

The book lacked a sense of immediacy for me. Everything I loved about the originals — mostly the nail-biting adventure — had evaporated in this one. And it was dark! So very, very dark and depressing.  Without the anchor of the Games themselves, the novel seemed to meander along without any real impetus. There’s fighting going on, sure, but I had to continually remind myself what Katniss was doing: trying to storm the Capitol and kill President Snow. But there were so many weird detours along the way, I felt like I needed to scribble that on my hand as a reminder that there was, in fact, a reason for all this.

Of all my qualms with Mockingjay, though, the biggest and most irksome was this: like a Greek tragedy, all the action happened off stage. Katniss was so removed from most of the plot — coming to after the real battles had gone down — that I grew incredibly frustrated by our own distance from what was happening. I might have been able to get over the love triangle and the fact that everyone is dying and it’s all just so doggone depressing if I could have actually felt like a part of the craziness.

But I didn’t.

Now I’m not a hater. I’m not going to sit here and mouth off about how this one sucked! and the whole series is ruined! and you should just quit after the second book! because I don’t believe that — and anyway, you can’t stop after Catching Fire . . . even if you wanted to. That cliffhanger is crazy.

But was it my favorite of Collins’ stunning novels? No. Did I hope for much more from our final installment in a much-loved series — and my first introduction to the awesome, frightening world that is young adult dystopian fiction? Yes. But I’m not sorry for having taken this ride — and fans of the first two books shouldn’t be sorry to have read the third one, either.

One of the best wrap-ups/discussions/reviews of Mockingjay comes from Beth Fish Reads — definitely check out that post for additional information. Candace captured many of my thoughts perfectly!

3.5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0439023513 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

10 thoughts on “Book talk: ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins

  1. I’ve read elsewhere that this one was not the best in the series. I kind of felt that way about the last Harry Potter book. Yes, they were still hunting for those bad guys but without Hogwarts and many of the characters that we had grown to love to anchor it all, it wasn’t as good as the previous ones. Satisfying in its own way, but not as compelling.


  2. I haven’t finished the audio yet, and I’ve been avoiding spoilers, but I just said what the hell and read yours. I’m sorta over it. The kids and I listen when we are in the car, but there always seems to be some reason why they don’t want to listen. It is taking about a week to get through a disc or two, and is just feeling awfully SLOW. I’m not digging it at all, which is a disappointment after the excitement of the first two. So I’m with you. I will be writing my “non-review” sometimes before the end of the year. HA!


  3. I felt quite disappointed as well, but I would never say I regretted reading the series due to it. The first were well worth the effort, I thought, and I still liked it. I just had issues with it.


  4. What does it say about me that until the 3rd book came out and the NYT did some articles about the series, I had never heard of these books. That I’m out of touch with the YA section of the bookstore/library? That I’m really tired with everything being “The Next Harry Potter” or “The Next Twilight?”

    Eh, I might try to get these from the library, then again, I might not.


  5. Thanks for linking to my review. I definitely agree that the book lacked the immediacy that the first 2 had. I was also bothered by the fact that Katniss was so out of it all the time.

    Great wrap up of thoughts. I agree it wasn’t my favourite, but at least it was a good finale.


  6. I’m with you on this one. The first two books had an immediacy that I didn’t feel here. Katniss was also difficult to root for, with her being all whiny and drugged up all the time. But, I agree, the worst for me was this whole: ‘and then, while I was asleep…EVERYTHING happened’. Well, isn’t that nice?! Makes for a great read. 😉


  7. I completely agree. I gave the books, in order, 5,4 and 3 stars. I didn’t get how she wrapped up the love story. How did Peeta even go from wanting to strangle Katniss all of the time to bearing children with her?!?! Grrr. I soooo needed more.


Comments are closed.