Friday, September 10, 2010

Mockingjay Review (spoilers alert!)

I finished Mockingjay almost two weeks ago but have been unable to force myself to sit down and write a review for one reason only:  I did not like it.  I am an avid fan of the first two books in The Hunger Games series and had been looking forward to this book for over a year.  The end of book two left so many possibilities!  As a YA series it had been particularly gruesome- think Ender's Game to the nth degree but I thought, I hoped, that the third book would bring some peace to a society so deperately in need of it.  Instead Mockingjay felt more like a piece of anti-war, anti-government propaganda.  I felt like Ms Collins chose the absolutely worst possible route to resolution for the series.  If resolution is what you can call it.  While I appreciate her anti-war sentiment and the fact that she worked her charcters through the emotions of shock and trauma that accompany war, she did it in such a way that I lost almost all of my enjoyment of her main characters and the story itself.  I found Katniss to be self-absorbed, indecisive and willfully ignorant (which is one of the worst traits anyone can have if you ask me!), Gale was obsessive and cruel and Peeta only a shadow of his former self.  Of course, that was all intentional on the author's part.  About halfway through the book I reached the realization that Prim was going to die.  I was so upset that I almost put the book down and didn't finish.  (I had the same sort of realization with Grey's Anatomy when they killed off Denny- but that is a whole 'nother post.)  Can someone please explain to me the virtue of killing off Prim?  Granted it was a way to finally put the kabosh on the Gale/Katniss relationship.  Granted it was a surefire way to get Katniss to kill President Coin.  But didn't it also negate the whole point of the first book in which Katniss sacrifices her own life to keep her sister alive?  I thought it was totally unnecessary and cruel to the readers to kill Prim.  I actually did put the book down after it happened.  It took me a day to go back to it to finish the last few pages and quite frankly, at that point, I didn't care what happened.  In general I was and still am horrified by the callous way in which the author unceremoniously killed off so many of the main characters.  I am all for creative license and following your heart where the story goes.  But at some point as an author you have to sit back and think about the impact of what you write will have on your readers- as far as I'm concerned this goes for fiction and non-fiction alike, especially when you are writing for young adults who are particularly impressionable!  While I appreciate that the author had some practical applications to her story, especially in today's tumultuous hyper-political, war-ravenged society: sometimes the best choice is the lesser of two evils (or neither as the case may be), I feel like there are other ways she could have gone about it.  There must have been some way to maintain at least a little bit of the characters we loved and still acheive her goal.  For me Annie and Finnick's baby and a much altered Peeta/Katniss relationship doesn't really count as a happy ending.
I will probably reread this at some point to see if I can regain my love for the series.  In the meantime, "May the odds be ever in your favor."


Steph said...

I would love to talk to you about this book in a book club setting. I agree with you about the casualness in which she killed off main characters. It was like she was in a hurry for a deadline and just wanted to emphasize her agenda as much as possible. C'mon let's give us some closer to Finnick. I think he was more of a major character, then to just kill him off with no mention of him again (except through Annie's baby.) Actually, I'm surprised Annie didn't just kill herself after hearing the news. She definitely is not the most stable--what kind of mother is she going to make. This is not a happy ending. I can go on and on. Thanks for your review. It made me smile to read it.

At Home Mom said...

I think what it really did was make it possible for Katniss to kill Coin.
To see that the next form of government was going to be run in the same way for revenge.
I agree I was upset with Prim's death.
I did put the book down and then had to finish the book.
I Loved the first and the second.
I was prepared however for the last book, I was warned that it was darker and sadder then the other two.
I was relieved very relieved when Coin became the target of the assasination. It would have been a worthless war and countless lives taken for another barbaric government, under Coin.
It was in my opinion a way for Coin to show that she had power over Katniss, but it was Katniss who had the power. Katniss in her experiance could not allow revenge to drive her to allow the Hunger Games to be done with the Capitol. GO KATNISS! This was an act of mercy.
I Loved the series. I am sad to see it end. But hoping the MOVIE is going to be good.

Emily said...

I've been waiting for your review, Erin! I SO wish I could have been to the last book club to hole up in a corner with those that had finished MJ and just chatted it out. I agree completely with your review. You must be quicker than me because I totally didn't see Prim's death coming. In fact, I was initially confused as to who had been killed (until I stopped long enough to think Prim was the only one that could have elicited that response from Katniss). I totally agree that she ruined all the characters and left whatever "happy" ending she was aiming for inadequate in the least. Great review! And, despite the poor conclusion, I owe you an overdue thanks (I believe I already apologized) for introducing the series to me in the first place! :)

yamsey said...

Steph, back at you. We have bookclub on the 2nd Thursday of every month. You could always jump on a plane!
Emily, I almost called you to apologize for getting you to read the series after I finished Mockingjay. Glad you are still talking to me! =)