Review: Mockingjay (…or where I blast certain characters for disappointing me in a big way)

Mockingjay Book Cover

***SPOILERS!***     ***SPOILERS!***   ***SPOILERS!***   ***SPOILERS!***     ***SPOILERS!***   ***SPOILERS!***   ***SPOILERS!***     ***SPOILERS!***      

Mockingjay
By Suzanne Collins
Scholastic, Inc.
August 2010
400pp

The Short of It:

Although I enjoyed the series as a whole, this last book was a total letdown.

The Rest of It:

I imagine that the pressure to write a satisfying third installment to this series was great, but from the get-go the book sort of limps along with poor pacing and writing that was so forced in places that it actually made me wince.  I  mean really, what happened here?

In my opinion, I feel as if the author did not event attempt to deliver with this one. Why bother? People will buy it, good or bad just because of the popularity of the series itself. I am so angry over this book that I would have thrown it across the room had it not been on my Kindle.

Things that contributed to my dislike of the book:

-Katniss. I never got the “girl on fire” thing. To me, that title belongs to a heroine that blazes a path to victory. Katniss is SO not that. The constant self-deprecating, the wide-eyed innocence, etc. Girl!! Get a grip. Get it together and kick some ass!

-Gale. What happened to my lovely Gale? Bitterness! Although a lot of you may think differently, this is the only character that I feel was true in the end. Yeah, he was a bit more violent in this book and seemed to have a blatant disregard for human life, but I could see where he was coming from. His eyes were on the prize, so to speak and that prize was not Katniss. I can’t fault him for that. I  mean, how many times can a guy be turned down? My issue with him is that if he really wanted to end up with Katniss, he should have fought for it as he did for everything else.

-Peeta. Good lord. What the hell happened to Peeta? I know he was brainwashed but come on, even before the brainwashing he was…meh. He always seemed so juvenile to me and not as mature as some of the other characters. Supposedly he was a good-looking hunk with curls but it seemed as if he was sort of vacuous in my book.

-The suicide pill. So much mention of the pill yet no one took it. I sure wish some of them had.

-The entire book had this detached quality to it. Big things would happen but there would only be a little bit of description about it. Usually a startling image to send it home instead of a paragraph or two and then the chapter would predictably end with a shocking sentence like “…and then his legs blew off.”  Ugh.

-The pomp and circumstance. The costumes and make-up and base zero beauty were all too much for me. Perhaps if I thought they were going on a true hero I’d think differently, but for Katniss? Seemed like a waste of good lip gloss to me.

-Prim. Killing off Prim in a one-liner seemed like a pot shot to me. She was one of the few characters that seemed to have her act together.

-Finnick. Sort of the same feeling here. No future for the good ones I guess.

-Katniss deciding to have kids just because Peeta wanted them. What? So now you are breeding weak-minded, ambiguous little darlings to boot?

Overall, I found myself cringing throughout the book. The story itself, the plot to destroy the Capitol had promise but with such a weak crew carrying out the orders, it’s no wonder it fell apart.

When they put that crack-pot team of snipers into one special unit I couldn’t help but think they were leading the lambs to slaughter. I suppose at the end they succeeded in taking down the Capitol and that could be interpreted as success but I would have preferred a true battle of the wits instead of them putting on wigs and going undercover.

Source: Purchased for Duckie (my Kindle).

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37 Responses

  1. There is nothing more for me to say. You’ve summed up how I felt about it. Katniss just let life happen and that didn’t work for me.

  2. Totally disagree as I loved the book and found it moving and powerful, but it’s interesting how differently we all felt about it.

    • I wanted to like it.. I really did but for me, the author strayed from the characters too much in this one. I didn’t find any of it moving.. even the death of Prim. So sudden. I mean, she was the whole reason why Katniss ended up in the arena in the first place and I feel as if the author should have given her a bit more page time. It was just hard for me to like any of the main characters.

  3. Amen! A good reminder for me not to get caught up in the craze, as I hated this book. I took a break from my Booker longlist reading for it, and that was a mistake!

  4. What a bummer that this one didn’t work out for you Ti. I haven’t read this series and I definitely won’t be including it anytime soon.

  5. [...] tour coming soon] 40. Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes 41. Invisible by Paul Auster 42. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)2010 Summer Reading List [...]

  6. Sorry to see the series ended on a downer for you. I haven’t even started it yet. My husband said the first book was definitely his favorite.

  7. I forgot about the suicide pill! Yes! all that talk about it and how they could reach it with their mouth even if their hands were tied. The giving up of the pill. And then nothing. Sigh.

    As you know, we’re in agreement.

  8. Yep. That about sums up my feelings. I am still wondering why the snipers were sent in one group – was it just a distraction? To clear the pods? They had hovercrafts but not IEDs? The more I think about it, the more the plot doesn’t make sense, the more the characters don’t make sense, and the more I am outraged at having read the series.

    I understand the message Collins wanted to send, but I don’t think the writing was good. I guess it’s the author’s choice to write a bad book, but it’s very disappointing to me how much of the book was detached and nonsensical.

    I wanted a better book, and I feel cheated. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt this way before.

    • I’ve read bad books before but with the hype over this one and then seeing all those great reviews from the Times and EW and the like, I got really angry. I mean, someone is not being honest there.. The Times even commented on the beautiful prose. Really?? I must have been reading the wrong book.

      • A lot of bloggers whose opinion I really value disagreed with me completely on this book. I’m not sure what to make of that. I keep trying to make things make sense, and I tried to force myself to write a more even-tempered review, but I couldn’t. I guess people are different, or something. :P

        • Or they are just so in love with the characters that they choose overlook the problems. I’ve heard a few mention too that it wasn’t great but they are loyal to it because of what it’s done for young readers. Okay, it may have gotten kids to read. I’ll give it that.

  9. You may be right about that, Ti.

    I guess it’s good for kids to get into reading, but I prefer they read good books that have clearer messages, including strength of character – the will to do what you know you should and aligns with your values, for instance – and I’m not sure this book does that. That’s the kind of review I wanted to do, but c’est la vie!

  10. Good point about the suicide pill…I had forgotten that they all had them. It is indeed a shame that no one took them. Or, like Beth pointed out, that Katniss didn’t shoot Gale when he was captured. Either would have provided some sorely needed angst. Katniss kept moping for no good reason!

    • I agree! If she had shot Gale, I swear my heart would have stopped! It would have been tragic, but it would have been okay since she pledged to do just that should he be captured. In the end I think the author was trying to please all of the fans at once by keeping the main three alive when realisitically, it just wouldn’t have happened that way.

  11. I love your synopsis of Gale, Peeta and Katniss and I completely agree with you on all three counts!

  12. I have to say I liked it MUCH better than you did, but it’s my least favorite of the three. And I agree with you that Gale, in particular, seemed to stay true to character – I really didn’t get the sense that some people did that any of the characters were significantly out of character.

    On the other hand, my 15-year-old was VERY displeased and would agree with much of what you said here – I’m posting a guest review from her tomorrow.

  13. Agreed on all counts. I was just jotting down some notes today for my review and had a lot of the same issues you had. Especially about the characters.

  14. Oh my gosh, I agree with you completely on this one on every point! I was laughing out loud while reading your review. I agree, Peeta was meh character and killing of Prim and Finnick that was just too much! Just the whole, whole book was so off? What was she thinking?

    • And the thing is, I really wanted it to be good. With every ridiculous moment, I thought… okay, this is gonna get better, just keep plugging along. The disappointment reminded me of how I felt after reading book two in the Twilight series. I was into Twilight, but then theseriesgot all weird on me. I never got past book two with that one.

  15. It’s funny because I agree with a lot of what you said but in the end, I liked the book. Definitely my least favorite of the three but I had no desire to throw it across the room.

    The hatred people have for this book is so fascinating to me.

    • Someone asked me if my expectations were too high for this one. Well, yeah…I expected quite a bit from this one but I would have been okay with it if parts of it were more plausible. I didn’t expect it to be perfect. Especially since there is no way to please all of the fans. I’m glad you enjoyed it though.

      • I feel a lot of people out there think those who didn’t like the book – or hated it – had too many expectations or were unsatisfied because it didn’t play out the way they wanted it to. I don’t think that’s true. A lot of the people who didn’t like it just didn’t find it plausible, or found the structure of it to be lacking, or didn’t think the message was exactly wonderful. Those are big-picture things of substance and not as banal as “I expected too much” or “I wanted Gale to end up with Katniss!”

        I’m just fascinated at all the bloggers I read who usually I’m on the same page with but in this case are polar opposites. Weird!

  16. I’m totally with you on this!! I’m going to have to link to your review and Beth Fish’s review when I write mine. I’m glad I’m not alone in not caring for it.

  17. See, I totally disagree with you about the suicide pills. I think they should have figured out how to transport them to the past, so that they suddenly appeared on the breakfast table besides Cathy and Heathcliff.

  18. I’m sorry this book was a disappointment – I can’t comment on the details… haven’t read one book in the series.

    I wonder if others feel the same (or if they are completely honest with their thoughts). There had been so much anticipation for this book that it was due to not deliver for some.

  19. Okay, what I really think: I did not think Gale stayed true to character. I think he got more violent and nasty, and he was always so caring before, even if a little rough around the edges. I think Katniss was much more into herself even than in the previous books. She was very focused on what she saw as everyone doing to her, instead of seeing what was happening to everyone else, and that she had it relatively good. I always saw Peeta as manipulative. He knew Katniss loved Prim, and so he would do things in honor of Prim to impress Katniss. But did *he* feel these things? And at the end, how was it he overcame the conditioning? What was his personality at the end? Who was Katniss? All very unclear….

  20. lol! i love the review and like you WANTED to love this book. i really enjoyed the other two and felt there was such promise for the final installment.

    the prim debacle was just ludicrous and it felt like collins killed off a character for the sake of the plot.

    the one thing i can’t get past is just how reluctant and almost recalcitrant katniss is. she’s the reluctant symbol of freedom but seems almost static because she hasn’t much changed from the first book. she doesn’t shoulder the responsibility gracefully or with any sort of aplomb. she’s a renegade but has too much of a chip on her shoulder for me. :(

    and the BOYS! please. i’m not even talking about them right now. i’m on TEAM HAYMITCH. he cracks me up.

    • We need to have a memorial for those that were lost…the worthy that should have lived on, or at least been given the dignity of a proper death.

      Prim Cinna Finnick

      Live long..

  21. [...] of drops major revelations into our laps nonchalantly. Too nonchalantly. Ti touches on this in her review at Book Chatter [...]

  22. I enjoyed it way more than you did. I think you bring up some very valid points, but I guess I just went with the flow with these books and didn’t think about them too much. LOL

  23. [...] have already captured so much of what I thought about this book–particularly Beth Fish Reads, Ti at Book Chatter and Jill at Fizzy Thoughts–so it seems silly for me to repeat stuff that they said already. [...]

  24. [...] by George Orwell 38. Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes 39. Invisible by Paul Auster 40. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 41. Fever Dream by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child 42. The Unit by Ninni [...]

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