Friday, September 9, 2011

And If That Mockingjay Don't Sing, Sarah Won't Buy You a Diamond Ring

If you haven't heard of The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, it's a better alternative to Twilight, but not quite epic enough to reach Harry Potter-like status. It is big enough, though, for MTV to make a big deal of a bunch of trees catching fire.

I enjoyed the first book, The Hunger Games, and really really, REALLY enjoyed the second book, Catching Fire. Mockingjay, however...

This book was seriously suffering from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End/Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Syndrome: a whole lot of talking and moving around but not a whole lot making sense.

There were just too much of Katniss moping over two boys and recovering in the hospital after some injury. It felt like Suzanne Collins had a word quota to fulfill, and having run out of ideas (or just not having enough to begin with in order to fill three books) she just wrote and wrote and wrote about Katness injured, in the hospital or hiding, napping somewhere in a morphine induced haze of YOU’RE BORING ME!

Another thing that bothered me was a ridiculous break down of a song and it’s meaning (another word quota moment) and the end, while somewhat dramatic, fell flat emotionally for me. There were altogether three action scenes (the third being extended over a couple of days) in this book that had potential but just felt lackluster and ended up with Katniss in the hospital.

I kept reading hoping it would get better. Nope. Even my two favorite characters, Finnick and Haymitch, could not save this. It was disappointing because I felt they were written well in Catching Fire and were actually the more interesting characters out of the whole series. They each had their moment in Mockingjay to remind me why I liked them in the first place. There was one Finnick scene where he stripped off his hospital gown, standing in nothing but his underwear and says:

"Why? Do you find this" - he strikes a ridiculously provocative pose - "distracting?"

Yes, I giggled. Especially when I imagined Chris Hemsworth as Finnick (I’ve been wanting to work this pic in somehow, somewhere. YOUR WELCOME.)

Really, that was the only highlight for me.

There was a moment I felt teary eyed as Katniss finally had her moment to mourn over the events of the three books. But it didn’t last long before it was wrenched away by Suzanne Collins uneven writing style. There were parts that were supposed to be emotional but you feel nothing and the action scenes were confusing and hard to follow.

A good example of writing about someone mourning and making the readers care: The Outsiders. That last chapter is perfection and written by a then fifteen year old S.E. Hinton! That is how it’s done.

There was nothing of the Katniss from the first two books. Maybe that was the point. She had finally broken down. But she was the face of the rebellion, she had survived so much already in the first two books. I wanted a strong heroine and Star Wars level of rebellion excitement and I got none of that.

My advice, read the first two, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Then, if you still want to know what happens next, I’ll summarize it for you, it’ll only take two minutes. And they want to make four movies from these books! But they might actually be able to improve on Mockingjay. The book was written from Katniss’ point of view, and there was some fun stuff happening without her around so maybe we'll get to see that in the movies.


  1. I don't know that I'll ever read these books, but I sure enjoy reading your reviews!

  2. This series doesn't seem all that interesting to me

  3. Great review! I loved the first two books, but I've been telling the guys who ask me about the series to skip the first 250 pages of the last book. I WAS satisfied with how she resolved Katniss. Without giving away any spoilers, I thought it was done very realistically, considering everything Katniss had been through.

  4. Thank you! Of course I agree about the first half of the book. And when I consider the fact that Katniss was manipulated into being the face of the rebellion, the ending does make a lot of sense.