9 October 2010

Review: MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins ***

Hi there! As you can see, there will be no IMM as I only got one book this week and it seems a bit silly to feature just that (although I've done it before). So I've decided to save that for next week and post a review instead!
Things are still pretty boring around here, but that's because I'm just finishing up the book I'm translating. It's due in a week (massive eeeeeeeek, still so much to do) so I have to focus on that to make it happen, which means I have to neglect blogging and reading for the time being, sorry. But I promise to be back very soon! :)

Anyway, moving on to the review ...
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge... The thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
As you may remember, I absolutely LOVED the first two installments in The Hunger Games trilogy (my reviews here and here). The Catching Fire ending was spectacular and I couldn't wait to read Mockingjay – there was just so much potential, but I'm afraid that Mockingjay left me a tad disappointed and I made me go ''HMMMMM …'' instead of the usual ''WHOOOA''.

Why, you might ask? Well, I'm afraid I can't answer that without SPOILERS so please don't read any further if you don't want to know what happens in the book. Consider yourself warned!

So you're OK with spoilers? Right, well, the main reason why I didn't enjoy the book as much as I expected to is that it just felt too … different. Nothing like the other two books, which had a strong psychological element to them, but this one was far too military to my liking. It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – another book where everything changes and it's all about war. Mockingjay certainly portrays the physical and emotional effects of war very convincingly and realistically, but somehow the book just felt too different from what I was used to.

Another thing this book has in common with HP7 is that everyone dies. That's not a massive surprise when there's war going on, but I felt that these deaths were brushed off too quickly … For example, Cinna was one of my favourite characters and I was convinced he was still alive and I kept waiting for him to show up – but he never did. I really disliked how death was never properly explained and it really touched me the most. Overall, there were too many important deaths too quickly and the author just made them feel unimportant when I was like, HELLO, something major happened here, why aren't we paying it more attention?! I honestly didn't like that at all and I would've prefered more respect to be paid to the deceased characters that I grew so fond off (Finnick & Prim among others). I know this is nothing new for Collins since the deaths before (e.g. of the tributes) were always quickly brushed off, but those were some random people and this were actually important characters ... But I guess that's my problem since I'm too sentimental whereas Collins handled this the proper way without dwelling on what you can't change.

Not only did the story feel different, but the characters were changed too, which was to be expected based on what they've all been through and I suppose that made them even more real. But somehow I couldn't warm up to them and I just felt like I was following the whole thing from a distance rather than being engrossed in the action like in the previous two books, which was a shame. I honestly can't explain it, all I can say is that it was all too different. It was a logical shift from the previous books, but I struggled a bit to adapt to it.

As for the ending … I've always liked both Peeta and Gale so I didn't really care who she ended up with, they were both nice guys (well, for the most part). I was surprised by Gale's move and sorry that their story ended so abruptly – this was again another thing I wanted more closure and explanation on. I suppose the ending was nice and bittersweet (I'm talking about the epilogue here, the scenes before that were quite horrendous, yes), but not quite as mindblowing as I expected.

On the plus side, the novel was typically realistic - perhaps even too much so if you're squeamish like me. It's brutal and not a single gory detail is spared and there's no place for sentimentalism. As I said before, these books are definitely not my typical reads, but they're just so well written that they just suck you in, take you on one hellouva ride and then don't let you go easily once you're done with them - oh no, these are the kind of books that stay on your while for a loooong time ...

All in all, this was an OUTSTANDING series, it's just the final installment that didn't really live up to my very, very high expectations, but I still think it was a spectacular and a very powerful read, just different to what I expected. You'll find a lot of people who were completely blown away by the conclusion and thus I urge you to give this series a go if you haven't already as it's most definitely worth reading!

overall rating:
plot: 3/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 3/5

6 comments:

Melissa said...

I've seen a lot of people who feel the same as you did about Mockingjay, and I truly understand. While I was saddened by the final book, I thought it was a very fitting ending with just a wee glimmer of hope, though I (like you) kept waiting for Cinna...I'm still heartbroken about that...and Finnick :( Either way, great review!

Aisle B said...

Loved this series too. Had sleepless nights trying to gobble up the books and had really wished Katniss had chosen the ONE, instead of the ending being the way it was. LOVED FINNICK! Team Finnick all the way... here's hoping Collins might write about Finnick and his soulmate....

Great review girl.

Blueicegal ♥ said...

Oh no!! so tempted to read the review, but i have yet to read the book! :(

chickilista said...

will buy as soon i get my pocket money next month....for sure....

100smiles said...

I felt the same about this book, the first two were definitely better.

Jenn-ay said...

You summed this story up very well. I felt the same exact way. I kept emailing my niece telling her that I was disappointed and that I felt no closure with some of the deaths (like the ones you pointed out). *sigh*

But the book still captivated me, even though I was left disappointed. Great series!

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