Like everyone else in the blogosphere, we believe we can add something to the discussion of the last and final book in the "Hunger Games" trilogy by the genius Suzanne Collins. Here's our take on some of the issues in Mockingjay, as we don't necessarily agree, despite both enjoying this book and the rest of the series.
*Spoilers are included, so please beware
One of the things I loved best about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the fact that I read it at the exact same time as thousands of other people across the world. Reading, an inherently solitary act, became - in a way - a social act as well. I felt like my own excitement mingled with the world’s - the build-up to the release, the feeling of finally holding the book, turning the first page and delving in - and it made the whole experience that much richer.
I've got to get off my chest immediately that Catching Fire bored me. I read it the day it came out, and I reread it in an attempt to make myself like it a week ago, but I still felt the same way. It's not that it's not a good book or that the tension doesn't develop more. It just felt a little bit like cheating to me, as the Quarter Quell happens, and it feels like The Hunger Games rehashed a little bit.
I was excited when my expectations for that were shattered at the beginning of Mockingjay, when Katniss decides to bite the bullet and be the symbol for all things anti-government. Kind of, at least.
If I were to rate this series, Mockingjay would be my second favorite, but it still didn't quite captivate me the same way that The Hunger Games did, and here's why: Katniss. Katniss throughout this book felt like a bit of a whiner to me. For the first two books, she's a strong, independent and absolutely astonishing main character. She's a revolution, if you will. But when Katniss steps up to truly take on the part of the revolution, she becomes a little too whiny for my tastes.
Not only that, but we know she's been told straight out that when she's not being fed lines or moves and she acts on her own accord, she's a much more interesting, strong, and brilliant person. Yet, throughout the book, Katniss doesn't WANT to act of her own accord. This is particularly evident, I think, in the end when she returns to her old home and proceeds to spend an inordinate amount of time sitting around and being inactive. Obviously she has a lot on her mind, but it felt to me she'd rather feel sorry for herself and wait to be told how to act than to be the Katniss we knew and loved. I just felt let down that she couldn't listen to the fact she's such a powerhouse; I saw Katniss as more of a person to take that compliment and move with it.
I did quite enjoy the growth of Prim throughout this book, but it left me longing for more of it in the other two books. I liked her a lot as a character and seeing her come into her own was worth the wait. And Gale? Loved seeing his transformation. As far as Peeta went, I thought he was perhaps the most dynamic character in Mockingjay, as we got a glimpse of someone truly impacted by the games to the point of (imho) PTSD.
I'm a little sad Katniss ended up with Peeta. I was Team Gale, if I had to pick one, if for no other reason than the fact they'd been buddies forever. But I'll also say that the romance in this book never worked for me, as I like it a little hotter and heavier, but for a book aimed at teens of all ages (it's on a middle school awards list in Illinois, even), I think it strikes a good balance of reality and fantasy.
Overall, I thought that the third volume answered a lot of questions burning from the other two, but it didn't *quite* live up to what I was hoping for. I still wish I could know more about Panem and how it came to be, and I wish that Katniss would have grown a little more as a character, rather than wither. The anti-war and government message grated a bit on me, as well, but I don't believe it's as much as political statement as other readers may have believed. Maybe that says something about me, too.
What did you think? Share your comments with us, and feel free to post spoilers in the comments.