Here is my husband's review for Mockingjay - it does contain minor SPOLIERS!
Kevin's review of The Hunger Games & Catching Fire HERE if you want to read that first.
I just finished reading Mockingjay……..and, well, I have to say I was disappointed. It was written well but was just missing… something. Maybe it’s just because I read all three books in the series in a row, or maybe I was just expecting too much, caught up in the hype. All I know is that I didn’t feel satisfied.
The first two books were so intricately laid out with each scene, each moment meaning something and leading to something greater. She concentrated on all the little things. Here in Mockingjay she completely abandoned that style and jumped to the big picture but without tying in to anything she had laid out earlier. It was almost as if she had this epic Shakespearean story planned and then turned on CNN’s war coverage and said “let me write about that and insert these characters into that narrative.” Every issue relating to war is covered. Bombs, traitors, torture, propaganda, waterboarding, the media…you name it – it’s there. As an anti-war, anti-terrorism novel it works, as a bookend to this series it does not. The series started as a dystopian future and then swapped over to a commentary on current events.
There was some sort of fire in Collins writing when she penned The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. That wasn’t continued in this book. Katniss is the same self-doubting girl we were left with in Catching Fire. Everyone else around her has changed for better or worse. Even her little sister Prim has grown up and matured into a strong young lady. The storyline focuses so much on war & rebellion to the point that the character development is lost.
There is a lot sadness and bleakness in this book but no heart. I should explain……………
In the first two books there are scenes/events that rip your heart out. You go from the depression of dealing with the death of Rue to the comfort and tender moments with Peeta and even Gale. You felt the swings in emotion. In Mockigjay there are really no scenes that “stab” you in the heart. Yes, I knew that I was supposed to be happy or sad but I didn’t “feel it” and, no, it’s not because I’m an unfeeling guy. I teared when Katniss adorned Rue in flowers. I thought of my little sister and how I would feel in that situation. I felt the safety that Katniss and Peeta felt when they were holding each other.
As everyone has said there is a decision in the Peeta/Gale situation………. Yes, there was logic in the decision but, once again, there was no heart. Now I stated in my previous review that I am Team Peeta. And I stand by that. He is the yin to her yang, I think she needs Peeta’s calmness to balance her but whatever…that’s not the point. What she does to these two boys – now men, is on the verge of cruel. She asks everything from them and gives nothing back. Now I know she’s young and hadn’t had any romantic feelings at all before being pushed into the games and that forced the issue. On that level I’m ok with that. She doesn’t NEED to pick anyone. But Collins wrote it this way – that a choice had to be made. I believe she loves both Gale and Peeta for different reasons but the she way she treats them is just wrong. She won’t be happy until there is nothing left of them and one of them dies for her and then she will cry about how it was her fault. Some of the things she says to Peeta (my god girl – what does this guy have to do for you??) and does to Gale…..Grrrrr. ****SPOILER**** Peeta was tortured to the point that he has almost lost his humanity and she’s upset because he doesn’t think she’s beautiful. Then being spurned by Peeta she runs to Gale and uses him as her rebound guy until he pisses her off, then she goes to Haymitch and then the cycle starts over. Maybe I have problems with this because I’m a guy – maybe I just see it more from the guys angle than hers but it really rubbed me the wrong way at just how selfish she is when everyone has been through so much – not just her. ****END SPOILER****
The end was kind of like a “Scooby Doo” episode in the sense that you learn about what happened to everyone in the last part but because you are told about it – you don’t get to see it. As Karen said in her review, pivotal scenes and conversations were missing. It was tied up with a neat little bow but the package was empty.
I still had a lot of questions at the end……and we all know what that leads too…..fan fiction.
I plan on reading it again to just make sure of how I felt. Who knows….practice makes perfect….oh wait, that doesn’t work for reading, does it? Well, I’ll read it again anyway and see if I can make more sense of it. It did upset me so that’s good right? I felt something. Yup, that’s what I’m telling myself.
Team Peeta? Team Gale? Team Katniss? Nah – I’m Team Buttercup!
Rating: as a stand-alone novel I would give it a 3.5 out of 4 but as the ending to this series I give it a 3 out of 4.
Here's Karen's review: HERE