Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

(Cover picture courtesy of The Book Smugglers.)

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even through her home has been destroyed.  Gale has escaped.  Katniss’s family is safe.  Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.  District 13 really does exist.  There are rebels.  There are new leaders.  A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it.  District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol.  Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans—except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem.  To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust.  She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay—no matter what the personal cost.

I loved the Hunger Games trilogy up until this last book.  I wish it could have ended better, but it didn’t.

In Mockingjay, Katniss has transitioned from a strong, independent-minded protagonist to an annoying, whiny narrator.  All she really does throughout the novel is watch District 13 fight the Capitol and moan about how they’re using her as their symbol.  She dodges training sessions, which explains why the rebels are annoyed at her all of the time.  Katniss also angsts about how the rebels are using her, which I find annoying.  If you’re trying to overthrow an evil empire, which is more important: your independence or winning the war?  And if it takes being used to win, isn’t that worth it?

This might just be me, but I found the ending rather disappointing.  As if to demonstrate the total senselessness of war, Suzanne Collins kills of 90% of the characters we meet.  I can understand some deaths (after all, it is a war), but I don’t like how she killed off almost everyone, then wrote a ‘happy’ epilogue to stop her readers from tearing her to shreds.  To me, it’s reminiscent of how JK Rowling ended the Harry Potter series, then wrote a poorly-written hurried epilogue to placate her readers.

In some ways, I wish The Hunger Games had been a stand-alone novel.  What do you think?  Were you satisfied with the ending?  Or did it feel forced?  Please tell me in the comments below.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

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  1. Andrew P

    I definitely agree about the ending. It was really disappointing in many, many ways, and felt like she just forced it in there because she wanted that ending, rather than actually taking the time to write an ending that made sense.

      • Andrew P

        Yeah, which is just really unfortunate as the series was quite good, especially the first book. It could have made an amazing trilogy if she had tried to make the second and especially the third as good as the first, but as it is, is only a great trilogy.

        • Carrie Slager

          I think part of it was the unreasonable expectations on her for the second book and especially the last book. She wrote a great first novel, but I think the pressure got to her as her fame grew.

          • Andrew P

            Yeah, I agree, and I wish she would have thought more about that and tried to go about it differently — after all, it’s just like Christopher Nolan and Peter Jackson. Both were not at first interested in creating the Dark Knight Rises and the Hobbit respectively because they both had highly, highly unreasonable expectations, but only did so when they thought they could, at least partially, live up to at least some of the more reasonable expectations (and in my opinion, Nolan definitely did with a fantastic film, and I think Jackson will, too). So it’s just unfortunate, because it’s not like she was the first person to have unreasonable expectations; she just didn’t act on it in the best way possible.

            But then there’s Harry Potter, which was a fantastic series and all of the books were good, but the ending was still not anywhere near as good as it could have been, at least in my opinion (though I loved the epilogue). Not sure what the problem was there, haha. I guess partially the same — she could have been concerned about ending a series that was so successful, but still, she managed to do it slightly better than Collins I think (after all, it was, for the most part, just the ending — all the books had their own problems, but it’s not like there was a noticeable decline from book to book, in my opinion, just the ending).

          • Carrie Slager

            I loved the ending of Harry Potter and in some ways I wish Rowling hadn’t included the epilogue. It felt like she was placating her fans after a couple of unpopular deaths. However, I think the series just got better and better and the last book was the best.
            In The Hunger Games, as you say, there was a noticeable decline. I remember the first time I read Catching Fire I was disappointed. (“What? She’s breaking her own rules!” was the first thing I remember thinking) The ‘romance’ (if you can even call it that) with Peeta was more prominent, much to my disgust, and it felt like it was incredibly forced. When they ended up together in Mockingjay, I nearly threw the book at the wall. Really? Katniss never truly loved Peeta; she was just so emotionally scarred that she needed a human crutch. It was just not a well thought-out ending, especially since the rebels are worse than President Snow (in some ways) and Katniss is a whiny narrator that shirks her duties. It was just…ugh. Annoying.

  2. Andrew P

    I don’t know, I guess the thing I disliked most about it is just the fact that I wish Harry would’ve stayed dead or never died. It just seemed weird for him to come back like that (like “of course he didn’t actually die”). In some ways I wish she hadn’t had the epilogue either, because all it did is make me wish she wrote another series about the children haha. But yeah, the books were definitely fantastic (the movies, on the other hand, not quite so much, unfortunately — even little things like Peeves not being in them made me mad. But anyway.).

    I somewhat agree on the Hunger Games — I thought that Katniss getting with Peeta was poorly done, but at the same time I did wish that she got with him, as I liked him much better than Gale, but it should’ve been done differently. Or maybe just have her not get with either of them, haha. But instead Collins just makes it unrealistic and out of character, rather than using good character development to explain it (which was why the first book was great). But I definitely agree about the whole rebels thing. Overall it was mostly just the ending that annoyed me, and I still definitely enjoyed the series, but at the same time there was a definite decline from one book to the next.

    • Carrie Slager

      Normally you expect the second book in a trilogy to drag on a bit because it’s meant to set up the epic battle between good and evil in the last book. But you’re absolutely right about the decline; Mockingjay was the worst book of the series!

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