Mockingjay and the dread awaiting fans of the Hunger Games #BookReview

Hunger Games

UPDATE: I haven’t seen the film yet, but plan on doing so after finals…

So I finally sat down and read the full Hunger Games trilogy. Let me start by complimenting the author on a splendid first two books – the first covered just enough go not keep for in on about things I didn’t care to read about while covering just enough of the stuff I did to make me turn to the next page. Overall, a great book. The second, Catching Fire, was a little slower, with more background information. But you know, at the end of the day, it was my favorite book. It really captured the beginnings of the rebel unrest and made me feel like I was really a part of the action. Of course it didn’t hurt that my favorite character became a reality in this part of the series (Finnick Odair). Overall, I thought the whole book was a great read. And it really set up the third book well… So much so that instead of taking a break from the series and reading The Fault In Our Stars, I chose to jump into Mockingjay immediately. And boy was that a terrible mistake.

Finnick just being Finnick.

From the beginning there was a difference in the quality of writing. Whereas Katniss could be pretty whiny and “poor me poor me” for a little but but then actually do something about it, a lot of Mockingjay was about Katniss relinquishing her control to others. This is not the Katniss who we knew to kick ass when someone challenged her. The one who would regularly challenge the Capitol with displays of defiance (see berries in hand and shooting the apple in book 1, shooting the arrow into the force field and creating a Seneca Crane dummy in book 2). This was a subdued Katniss who reflected way too much on her actions and how they affected others. And while that is always honorable to live that way, it is pretty obnoxious when done to this extent. We see a Katniss who is very unsure of herself, so much so that the whole time she is told by others what to do. No action is truly her own. No thought is really something she thought up herself.

Katniss just being a badass and shooting apples.

Instead, we see her latch into others’ ideals and become a follower in leader’s clothing. And while this would be okay if it were the first or second book, this is the third one. She can’t be acting so wishy washy the last time we see her in action. The only time I felt the book come into it’s own and stayed on par with the others from the trilogy was when Katniss took control of the mission in the Capitol and went AWOL. And that was only because she was directly told to do so seconds beforehand from the general who had just died.

Lastly, WTH happened with the end and her love triangle? It seemed like they were content to make Katniss out to be delirious from the pressures thrust upon her and not totally mentally stable. I mean, while I am truly glad she ended up with ______ (I’m not going to ruin that part for you), I was just surprised at the extent to which they were going to demoralize and discredit her to allow her to enjoy the rest of her life. It’s almost as if no matter who is in charge (District 13 or the Capitol), things will always be the same…

That was actually a theme I thoroughly enjoyed. Collins did great at showing how the two rivaling power-hungry groups were essentially similar in the amount of terror they planned on expelling. This sentiment was handled well by Collins and I commend her for not messing it up. I will not forgive her (as I still haven’t forgiven JK Rowling) for how she managed to kill and dispel many noteworthy characters. She literally just left them to rot in areas ravaged by war. I understand to an extent that many people perish within a war, but to have had so many characters lie wasted away for alligators and other Capitol creatures to eat? It was just too sad. And that was another thing: Collins just mentioned that the characters who ended up living suffered from PTSD and other mental illnesses, but she did not go into detail about how it affected them. If you’re going to screw up so many people’s happy endings, at least show how they are getting the help they need. Don’t make the book soooo depressing.

This is why I (along with many other readers) felt that Suzanne rushed through writing the last one due to the difference in quality observed. Hopefully the director will take creative license and make the movies more worth watching. Because as of now, I know I’m not going to enjoy it. (FYI I still haven’t seen the film. This is just a critique on the book.)