Like the rest of the book blogging community (or was it the world?), I couldn't wait to read the last book in the Hunger Games series, MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins. I know I'm not alone in my adoration for this series; however, as excited as I was, I also found myself a little sad as I read this book because it's the end of a wonderful ride!
I finished MOCKINGJAY almost a week ago and, like many of you, I couldn't put the book down. For some reason though, I haven't rushed to write my review. And I'm still not entirely sure that I can articulate my thoughts about this book in writing (although I have had a great time talking about this book with a friend.) While I definitely enjoyed MOCKINGJAY and I admit that the novel affected me a great deal, I think it's my least favorite of the entire series.
Now, there are probably a number of reasons for my feelings that have nothing to do with the quality of MOCKINGJAY. The first being that I loved THE HUNGER GAMES so much because I thought it was such an original premise for a novel (my review.) Neither MOCKINGJAY or CATCHING FIRE (my review) were quite as good as the first book in my mind. I also think that the "letdown" of the series ending might have played another role. And, I set some my pretty unfair expectations for this novel because I got caught up in the excitement surrounding the book's release. So I guess what I'm saying is that I really liked this book at face value, but when I started to analyze it bit-by-bit, I found that I had a few issues with it. Lesson learned: sometimes it's possible to overthink a book!
Since there are already tons of wonderful reviews out there for MOCKINGJAY, I don't really feel that I have much more to add. So instead of a traditional review, I guess I'm just going to share a few of my thoughts:
- I love Suzanne Collins' writing style and storytelling abilities, and MOCKINGJAY didn't disappoint on those fronts.
- I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns as well as the many surprises that were thrown into the story.
- I think Ms. Collins' social commentary on war and power are brilliant!
- I thought that having Prim become a casualty of war was perfect (even though it didn't come as a total shock for me.) The entire reason that Katniss entered into the Hunger Games and became caught up in all of the "games" was to protect her little sister. When Prim dies anyway, I felt as if it really hammered home the idea that so much of what Katniss did was in vain and that war affects so many innocent people.
- I appreciated that Katniss eventually found some sort of peace in her life, even though it took many years. I would even go so far as to say that ending showed me that Katniss was resilient and strong and realized that life must go on despite all of the tragedy. I even felt some glimmer of hope for Katniss!
- Katniss is one of my favorite female characters in any story and I just love her for her intelligence, loyalty and strength. What kind of bothered me in MOCKINGJAY is that I didn't feel like Katniss exhibited those traits in much of this book. I realize that Katniss had been to hell and back, but I really wanted to see more of the "old" Katniss.
- I loved both Peeta and Gale in the first two books and I had a hard time picking a favorite. In my mind, I guess I expected that Katniss wouldn't end up with either one of them. It's not that I wasn't happy that Katniss ended up with Peeta because I do think he truly loved her. I was just disappointed with how Gale was portrayed throughout the last quarter of the book.
- I felt as if there was a great deal of violence in the second half of this book. Of course, I realize that all of the books were violent to a degree, but this one seemed to affect me more than the others. At times, I became almost numb to all of it (maybe feeling a bit like Katniss?) and found myself not reading parts as closely as I should have.
- There were a few storylines that left me confused and I would have liked more of an explanation. I still don't think I understood Peeta's condition or his recovery. And I have no idea what caused Gale to have such a major personality change (or at least it was major to me!)