Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

May 15, 2012

This review reveals important plot details. Proceed with caution.
Up until about page 250, I was wondering why everyone I talked to seemed somewhat disappointed in this book. I was loving it. Peeta’s changed nature, especially, completely threw me and was a genius move on Collins’ part. In fact, it was around p. 250 that I was just sure Collins was going to have him killed, and I was in agony over it. Although I liked Gale, my heart was always with Peeta, so of course, it couldn’t have ended better for me in that respect. Or could it have? Here is why the book went downhill for me during the last 150 pages, in no particular order:

First, Peeta. Although I felt like enough time passed for his change back to the old Peeta to be believable, as the reader, I was really left in the dark as to the whole process, especially in its final stages. One moment he still wants to be handcuffed to a pole, and the next (yes, I know it was weeks later) he is out planting primroses (which really was a perfect Peeta-like thing to do, but how did we get the old Peeta back? That’s what was missing.)

Next, Katniss. In the first two books, I didn’t think she could be a better heroine. She was determined, strong, kind, and brave. I don’t know what happened in this book, but she lost most of the qualities I loved about her. I understand that war and death and extreme hardship can change a person (and I thought Collins’ did an excellent job of helping us feel that pain…the image of Katniss cracking was very tangible), but it just went a little too far. I had two big disappointments: I wanted to see and feel more real grief from her for Peeta’s condition for Peeta’s sake and not so much anger for the way he was hurting her. We catch a few glimpses of her trying to reach him, but usually she’s just mad and hurtful. Second, I wish she hadn’t voted for another Hunger Games. I guess she had to help Coin feel a false sense of security, but I felt like this was Katniss’s chance to take a stand against the very thing she’d been fighting for the whole time…and she totally blew it.

Speaking of the government, I didn’t feel like that resolved well at all. Of course we know through the whole trilogy that President Snow is evil, and we have our suspicions that President Coin is just greedy for control as well, but we have no real evidence that Paylor is going to be a great leader. Since she was voted in by the people, there’s hope that things are changing for the better, but we really don’t know anything, and for one of the major themes of the book, it took too much suspension of disbelief to just hope that things were all wonderful without being told how they came to be that way. I just couldn’t believe that such a dysfunctional government didn’t have any problems anymore, but if it still had problems, then what was the point of the books?

One of the things that other people have commented on and that I agree with is that there was no closure with Gale. For someone with so much fight, he certainly gave up easily. And what made Peeta fall in love with Katniss again? She certainly didn’t do anything particularly redeemable.

It was difficult to see so many main characters die. But I can’t say I was surprised in that respect.

One of the things that bothered me the most was that Boggs’ final words, about not “trusting them” and “killing Peeta,” were never really revisited. We’re made to feel early on that we can trust Boggs, but he told Katniss to kill Peeta. And obviously Katniss didn’t really listen to him in either respect, so what was he really trying to say?

All in all, I just have to wonder how the book would have changed if Collins had done three, two, even one more revision. Because that was the main problem for me: it didn’t feel as well thought out as the first two books. I really think some things would have changed with a couple more rewritings.

Okay, that got a little too long and involved, but overall I have to say I actually really did enjoy this book, as well as the two before it. The fact that I only gave it three stars reflects the fact that I was somewhat disappointed with certain aspects of it, but doesn’t show how engrossed I was the whole time I was reading and how fascinated I was by the plot and how attached I was to the characters.

Last but not least, doesn’t Collins pick the most perfect names for her characters? Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Prim, Haymitch, Cinna…all just perfect.

I wrote this review before creating this blog.

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