Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A fantastic, action packed and emotive end to the brilliant Hunger Games trilogy.

To read my review of the previous book from The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire click here)Mockingjay

Over two weeks ago on a Friday night at just past 4am, I slowly turned the last page of Mockingjay with tears streaked down my face.
As you may have noticed, it’s taken me a lot longer than normal to get this out to you. I seem to be having trouble articulating what I want to say in terms of this review, as there’s so much to say. In all honestly I felt almost shell shocked after finishing this book, I didn’t know what to think, and it’s taken me a while to process the ending but I think I’ve finally got to grips with it. I’ve also found it hard to comment on the book without revealing spoilers, however not to worry I’ve managed it now. 🙂
There is a lot of disagreement about the final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy. Many people absolutely loved it, but a large proportion of others were extremely disappointed. As I fall into the former category, I will be arguing this view below.

Please note: For those of you that haven’t read the previous books, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, skip the blurb and the first paragraph as it will contain spoilers. However, for those of you who have read the previous books, this review will not contain any major spoilers about the book Mockingjay. 🙂

 “IF WE BURN
YOU BURN WITH US”
Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – everyone except Katniss.
And yet, she must play the most vital part in the final battle. Katniss must must become their Mockingjay – the symbol of the rebellion – no matter what the personal cost.

Mockingjay begins shortly after the destruction of District 12. Katniss walks through the rubble of the desolate landscape that used to be her home, filled with nothing but grief. Many people she knew and loved. Gone. The few remaining survivors have fled to District 13, the centre of the growing rebellion. But if anything, Katniss feels more trapped than ever. The hours of her days are planned out from sunrise to nightfall, areas are off limits, meals are miniscule and carefully monitored and she’s beginning to wonder if District 13 is any better than the Capitol. Horrified, she realizes she is still a piece in their games. Everyone is after her for their own personal vendetta’s; especially Coin leader of District 13, desperate to enlist her as the symbol of the rebellion to help them overtake the other districts. Even Gale is acting differently, consumed by his need for revenge, and with Peeta captured, Katniss feels lost and alone with no idea who to trust.
But Katniss is sure of one thing. She will kill president Snow, if it’s the last thing she does.

Looking at the Hunger Games trilogy objectively, Suzanne Collins is not a great technical writer. She doesn’t use big scary words or spend hours creating complex sentences. Nor does she use a massive range of vocabulary. But what she does have, is the extremely important talent of being able to convey to the reader every emotion with striking clarity. Finishing Mockingjay left me feeling sad and hollow, which just shows the true power of Collins storytelling. She had an important message to share with the world, and she manages to get it across beautifully, forcing the reader to stop and contemplate, to reanalyze their existing views on war. Does anything ever change? Or are we as a human race doomed to repeat our mistakes again and again? Even now Collins last words are still echoing around in my head, and I will not forget them anytime soon.

I would say the plot of Mockingjay is slower than The Hunger Games but faster than Catching Fire; in other words, it’s a healthy medium. It has much more of a focus on war than the previous installments and I think this is why so many people’s views were divided by it. For those that can appreciate subtlety, this is the book for you. Suzanne Collins has carefully structured her book so that we’re fed tragic events that help show the realities and unfairness of war. These tragic events gradually increase, gaining momentum until they reach a crescendo at the end of the book, the impact of which for me was incredibly emotional and left me feeling dejected. However, those that are less interested in the war, may find the plot slow. From reading several other reviews from both blogs and Amazon, it seems to me the people who were disappointed with it were those that completely misunderstood the point of the books. The Hunger Games trilogy is not a love story. It’s about war, and how it can change people.

However I do still have a couple of critiques of the plot. Since the main plot point of this book is trying to work out how the rebels can possibly overthrow the Capitol I was disappointed by the fact that we as readers, weren’t actually given much information on how they were achieving it. We are always told by characters in the book ‘so and so’s overthrown that district’ or ‘so and so’s lost ground in that district’ (See how I carefully avoided spoiler there eh? 😉 ) but we are never told how they have achieved it. It looks like Collins has got a little issue with telling rather than showing on her hands in certain aspects of this book. The only other criticism I have of the plot is that the ending is a little vague, but maybe that is on purpose, and Collins wants her readers to make their own minds up about certain events, and why Katniss makes certain choices.

I thought that characterization in Mockingjay was fantastic, just like the first book. I love the fact that Suzanne Collins characters really leap off the page because they’re so realistic. It annoys me when authors get lazy with their characters, sometimes after laying the groundwork in the first few books it’s like they tick characterization off their list and don’t feel the need to develop them any further. Collins characters evolve, and that’s what makes them so realistic.
However, I know a lot of people disagree with this from looking at other reviews. Some argue that the characters became out of character. (sorry I know that’s a rubbish sentence, trying to avoid spoilers here.) I completely disagree. They evolved and changed due to necessity and because they were casualties of war. People do not go through traumatic events and come out unscathed. And even then their changes in character did not come out of thin air, the groundwork was set in previous books foreshadowing the possibilities of how there personalities might change with war as the catalyst, and Collins is simply following these through.

I would recommend this book to everyone because it is such a fantastic trilogy and I think everyone should read it, both teens and adults. However, I will mention that the last book is slightly more gory than the previous ones, and deals with some more serious issues, but it’s not really any worse than something you would see on TV. I think I rated the  previous books 10+, but for the reasons above I will raise the age limit for Mockingjay to 13.

If you’ve already read Mockingjay please feel free to give your thoughts on the book below as I’m really interested to know people views on it! However please make it clear if there are any spoilers in your comment, as I would hate to ruin the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet! 🙂

Writing Style: 4/5
Originality: 5/5
Entertainment: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes!

Overall 5/5

P.S. Only 10 days to go until The Hunger Games is released for cinema!!!!! May the odds be ever in your favor for getting your tickets to the early screenings. 😉

The-Hunger-Games-trilogy

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34 thoughts on “Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins Review 5/5

  1. —————————SPOILERS—————————
    I read the trilogy and I loved them! I can’t wait for the movie! I agree that the ending of mockingjay was very vague, especially as soon as Prim died. I would have like to read how it all ended but instead Katniss decided to sleep through the entire thing!

    • ———————– SPOILERS ———————–
      Yeah I hated that about it too! All that build up and then BOOM she falls unconcious and when she wakes up it’s suddenly all over. I found that so dissapointing. It also meant that all those people in her group pretty much died for nothing because Katniss didn’t even get the chance to stop Snow. :/ But again, I think that was one of the ways Suzanne Collins made a point, that in war, a lot of people do die for pointless reasons in the grand scheme of things, and that’s part of the tragedy of it all.

  2. ——————————-SPOILERS——————————
    It comes across to me that you’ve assumed that everyone who didn’t like the book only did so because they realised it wasn’t a love story. If that was the case, they would have stopped reading it after book 1. I read the Hunger Games trilogy before the hype about the film, before the obsession with Peeta vs Gale, yet even then I didn’t enjoy the last book. I felt like Katniss deserved a good ending and she didn’t get that and I felt it was really out of character that she would still go with the person she went with even after what he did. I know that you’ve addressed this point but I didn’t feel the way you did. I also hated what they did to the baker because it felt like Collins just ruined him for no reason. I didn’t feel like that storyline had much reason to it, other than to keep Gale fans happy. Idk. I didn’t feel emotionally invested in it at all even when people died and I did not cry at all, yet I had at the end of the first book. I feel like Collins’ faults as a writer were evident in this book. If anyone else had written this I think I would have adored it but I don’t think she’s a good writer and as you say. She tells rather than shows, which made it impossible for me to feel what she wanted to. Not to mention the sentence structure’s weren’t spectacular. OKAY. I just have a lot of feelings about this book because it disappointed me so much. Bleaugh.

    • ——————————-SPOILERS——————————-
      Ahh yes, rereading it it does sound like that. I don’t by any means want to suggest every single person who had a problem with it didn’t understand the concept of the book, but more that they wanted something out of it more traditionally YA (romance, happily ever after etc) rather than what I think Collins wanted to portray. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people out there that do understand that, but didn’t like the book!
      Yeah I don’t particularly get the obsession of Peeta vs Gale, I actually didn’t feel that strongly towards either of them, surprisingly, I wasn’t even that interested in the romance part of the book which is a first! I just wanted to know more about Katniss and how she could possibly overcome the Capitol.
      I agree Katniss deserved a good ending, I wanted her to have one so bad, for her to find some sort of peace, it was why I felt so numb and sad after I finished it. It just wasn’t what I wanted to hear. And yet after I had time to ponder it I understood why she did it, (casualties of war etc) and it kind of felt like the right ending, even though it wasn’t the one I’d hoped for….
      Ahh the who she ends up with thing, I know that is definitely up for debate, and personal opinion! To be honest I wasn’t really sure who I wanted her to end up with until the last book. But in Mockingjay I though with the way Katniss character evolved she was more suited to Peeta, whereas the original district 12 Katniss belonged with Gale. I’m sure that part of the ending will cause debates forever! Why did you feel she should end up with Gale? Do you think they were more suited or did you just prefer him to Peeta? 🙂
      Also I agree! Her flaws as a writer were much more evident in this book! I must admit it didn’t ruin it or me, but I know for a lot of people, this would be something very difficult to overlook.
      Thanks for the imput, it’s great to hear a fresh opinion! 🙂

  3. ALSO I AM SORRY FOR NOT COMMENTING ON ALL YOUR OTHER POSTS. I’m a lurker when it comes to blogging. :L

    • Ahaha no worries, it’s not compulsary, although I always love a comment! 😛 Stop by again soon and thanks for letting me know your point of view, I always enjoy hearing different opinions! 🙂

  4. I definitely agree with the whole telling vs. showing issue. The Hunger Games trilogy is one of those stories that I really enjoyed as I read it – in fact I literally couldn’t put it down, it was a reading marathon for like 4 days – but looking back after finishing the last book I realized there were some pretty big disappointments. Collins definitely put together a great story, lots of thrills and emotional dilemmas, but for me the ending kind of fell flat and, like Katniss I suppose, I felt like I was missing the main action of the story through the second and third novels.
    I really enjoyed your review!

    • I was exactly the same as you! I was enjoying the story so much I didn’t really stop to nitpick at her writing style, so it didn’t ruin the book in any way for me. But when I stopped to think about it afterwards, I realised how many issues there actually were with her writing.
      I completely understand what you mean by it falling flat, Mockingjay didn’t for me personally but I can definitely see why others felt it did. Even I myelf was really dissapointed with the part where it kinda skipped the end action. I felt Catching Fire was the weakest book of the series though.
      Thank you! Thats so great to hear 🙂 Stop by again soon!

  5. SPOILERS AT SOME POINT
    I too feel hollow and empty. I’m still suffering now. It might sound dumb but it’s like they kind of became friends and now suddenly they’re out of my life without warning (granted the dwindling could probably count as one) and god knows what I’m supposed to do without them. So I agree her characterisation was great, even for the characters you don’t know well. I wanted to protect Rue as much as Katniss did. When Cinna was attacked and later confirmed dead my heart broke a little, the same with Prim and Madge and Finnick and…well the list could go on.
    Also, I quite like Katniss, everybody else seems to hate her but I think she’s a wonderful character ( I always like the ones everybody else hates) because she might come across as naive and hurtful and selfish but you have to remember how the whole thing started anyway, she volunteered to go in her sister’s place. She did everything because she wanted her sister to live and then the whole reason for her surviving so long is gone and destroyed, I think Collins is the master, or perhaps mistress, of the bittersweet and if the triliogy had ended any other way it wouldn’t have been right.
    Excellent review, totally worth the wait and I cannot wait tp see our ‘friends’ come to life on the big screen

    • —————————-SPOILERS—————————
      I completely agree! God I actually cried when Finnick and Primm died, my eyes even watered when Bogg? I think his name was Bogg not too sure, the leader of their group guy anyway, got killied.
      You know I think that is the main problem! I became so attached to the characters, and I haven’t been drawn to any like this since Harry Potter, or possibly Kelly Armstrong. I just don’t know how Collins does it! But I seriously envy her gift for character development. For other people, I guess it’s just personal preference because so many people were dissapointed. I too, loved Katniss’ character, I though she was the perfect mix like you said above! 🙂
      Bittersweet – you completely hit the nail on the head. There’s really no better way to describe it.
      Thank you so much! 🙂 It took forever to get this review out, I just wanted it to convey the right things about the book, but it was so difficult to summarize my thoughts!Agghh yeah I can’t wait to see it! But what the heck are we going to do after that? The wait for the next film will be impossibly long. Awwh man it’s going to be Harry Potter torture all over again! :S
      Thanks for commenting, always great to hear from you Summer 🙂

  6. I have a theory as to why we didn’t hear much about the rebel strategy: this is told from Katniss’ POV, and she’s not really interested in all of that, right? I mean, her main goals are a) keep her family and friends alive, and b) do her part in order to help the cause. So I’m guessing Collins didn’t put that in there because even the parts Katniss might have been privy to weren’t relevant to the overall scheme of things.
    I really love this entire series, and I never really understood why Mockingjay gets such a bad rap. Sure, it’s very different from the first two in terms of plot, and yes, it’s heartbreaking, but that’s the point. As you said, this is about war. It’s not fun. It’s brutal and people get hurt and at the end of it all it’s not as if all the sadness just disappears. I think Collins did an exceptional job of representing that, especially in this book.

    • That’s a really great theory, I’d never considered that thanks! That actually makes perfect sense. I’m also wondering if maybe she was concerned about making to books too long because it was YA? I don’t know if that would be a factor at all, because all the books are a very similar length. Or maybe she had a word limit to work within….
      Mee too! I can’t get enough of it right now. I am a woman possed I tell you! 😛 Are you looking forward to the film/planning to see it soon?
      I do understand why people didn’t like Mockingjay, and a lot of my theories about that are explained in my review, but I really disagree like you, I loved it, and you’ve summed it up so well.
      How did you interpret the ending? With the whole Katniss voting for the new Hunger Games thing? I’d be really interested to know 🙂
      Thanks for commenting, always great to hear from you!

      • As for the film: yes, I’m seeing it on opening day with a whole bunch of my friends. I have my tickets and everything. I’ll definitely be posting about that on my blog the day after if you want to see that. I’m very much looking forward to it, as I have great faith in the makers, especially director Gary Ross, and I’m quite certain it’ll be a very faithful adaptation.
        SPOILERS BELOW FOR ANYONE ELSE READING
        As for the future Hunger Games: I listen to this really great podcast (The Hunger Games Fireside Chat) that discussed this very topic, and I agree with the participants’ take on it (mostly because I’m really not good at deciphering all the political aspects of books like this). Essentially, they said that Katniss realized that this was just another part of the games. She had to stay on Coin’s good side for the moment, so she voted yes, knowing that at some point in the future she would have the chance to do something about it, as we know she eventually did. Hence, Haymitch saying that he’s with “the Mockingjay,” not with Katniss. She realized that nothing would change, that the Games would keep going, as long as Coin was in power, and so she needed to keep playing her part in order to get her chance to change that. Anyway, I always had the sense that after the assassination, the new Games never got put on. It really was Coin’s idea, after all. So that’s the best theory I’ve heard or been able to come up with. Sorry for the long comment!

      • SPOILERS
        Haha me too, and a blog post will definitely follow!
        Oooh I’ve never heard of that, it sounds really cool, I may have to check it out.
        See that’s exactly what I thought when I first read it, but then I went searching around the interenet and a lot of people seemed unsure, so that made me more unsure. Because the more I thought about it I begun to think, why did Katniss need to do that when she already kinda had access to Coin? But the way you’ve described it below makes a lot more sense, and I really don’t think the alternative could be right….Katniss would know another Hunger Games would not be what Primm wanted. So I got very confused haha. Thanks for the insight! 🙂
        Also, no worries about the long comment. I love long comments haha 🙂

  7. I somewhat agree with the telling not showing. She really separates the reader from the brunt of the action, but it might be okay because she is imitating what Katniss is going through. I could compare the feeling to Ender’s Game, but not really because the purpose there was somewhat different. Also I feel like this is a problem at the end of the novel as well. I understand that this is not a love story, but the end fell flat for me somewhat because of the lack of conversation and description.

    • I’m glad you agree, and I understand what you mean by the ending being quite flat. But I think maybe it’s supposed to be flat? Because Katniss is deflated, battered, and hollow so if we go with the theory that Collins is imitating what Katniss is going through, this could apply for the ending as well maybe? It’s definitely up for interpretation!
      Oooh thanks for reminding me, I really want to get my hands on Ender’s Game since you last suggested it to me! 🙂

  8. What I usually tell people is that the idea for these books was spectacular, and that the execution was really weak. When I read them, I remember being completely swept up into them- it wasn’t until looking back that I remembered all the problems with the writing and the huge infodumps and the weak description and all the problems with narration. On re-reads they feel like a polished first draft- something that needs to be gone over again and have some more thought put into it- I think the foundation for a story was excellent, but it got rushed in the telling, and it became even worse when it became big and she had all this pressure to get it out faster. That’s my guess, anyway. But I think they’ll make spectacular movies, since Collins was originally a screenwriter, and this story has a lot of elements that are just made for film. I’m really excited to see it.

    • That sounds like a great way to sum it up Maggie! Also, I didn’t know Collins was a screen writer, thanks for that little tidbit of information 🙂
      I was exactly the same as you, I loved them, but I did think her flaws were a lot more noticable in the last book. I’m really glad it didn’t spoil the books for me, but I know it may put other people off. I think your analysis of the whole situation is probably right, very insightful of you to come up with it!
      Also here’s a thought: what exactly does it say about the book industry and the readers of the world when we look at the fact that two of the most popular recent book series; The Hunger Games and Twilight (and I shiver comparing the two) were both written by seriously flawed writers?

  9. I agree, it would have been nice to hear more about how the revolution was being achieved. This was one of the things that grated for me – in a book about revolution, I wanted to get stuck in the middle of one. I also agree that Collins isn’t a great writer, but this didn’t bother me too much in the first two books (a little, but not to spoil my enjoyment), here it really annoyed me.

    My review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

    • Hey Matthew, nice to hear from you again. 🙂
      I’m glad you agree, I really wanted to get stuck into the revolution too, I was much more interested in that aspect of the book than I was in the romance. I think she could have made the book longer to incorporate it.
      You’re right, her writing was much more noticable in this last book, in the first two I was so swept up in the story that I didn’t particularly notice. However it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the story, I hope it didn’t ruin it too much for you!

      • I could have done without the romance completely. The way it panned out it added so little, that is to say a love triangle was unnecessary, Katniss and Peeta gently coming together could have been subtle and worked just as well.

        Sadly, Mockingjay did more or less ruin the series for me. But on the plus side, there’s the movies to look forward to – I reckon they might be an exception to the rule, and actually be better than the books! The story just seems to translate to the big screen so well.

      • Haha yeah, it’s strange, my favorite books from a series often make my least favorite movies e.g Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, whereas my least favorite books from a series e.g. Goblet of Fire are turned into films I love. So I hope you will find the same thing and be able to thoroughly enjoy Mockingjay the film version. 🙂
        Thanks for commenting. Oh, and I also read your review, although I disagree with a lot of what you said (because I loved Mockingjay) I can completely understand where you are coming from and I understand why a lot of people dislike the last book. So great review!

  10. Yep, fingers crossed for the films – I’m planning on seeing the first one in the next couple of weeks. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Potter films, although I think I gave up too early with them.

    Thanks for stopping by to read my thoughts in a fuller format. I definitely like hearing differing opinions – it’d be boring if we all agreed after all 🙂

  11. ________ Spoilers ______
    I have to say I am one of those people who didn’t really like Mockingjay. My favourite out of the trilogy was easily The Hunger Games. I think the main reason why I didn’t like Mockingjay was because the ‘madness’ that Katniss decends into at the end seems like a bit of a cop-out. Almost as if Collins is saying “I don’t know how she’d react so I’ll just make her thoughts confused”. The review was a very interesting read, though. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    • My favourite of the trilogy was The Hunger Games as well. 🙂 Yeah, it seems that people are very split on this book, they really do tend to either love it or hate it. Luckily I was one of the people that loved it, but I can also understand a lot of the reasons why people didn’t, there are several things I wish could have happened differently. The ‘madness’ that you’re talking about is definitely one of those things! I was so annoyed by that! But I couldn’t really mention it in any detail in my review because I wanted to avoid spoilers.
      The emotional impact it had on me though, was undeniable and I just got so much out of it in terms of social commentary about war, love and friendship etc that I was able look past it. Maybe you will enjoy the film better when they eventually get round to making it. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I’m off to check out your blog now! 🙂

  12. ————-SPOILERS—————
    I can’t believe Prim was killed off! After all Katniss had been through for her! (I get way too into books haha) Very good trilogy and I’m enjoying reading your reviews 🙂 Definitely going to have a read of some of the other books you’ve recommended!

    • —————— SPOILERS ——————
      I can’t believe she was killed off either! It was so horrifying! (I get way too into books too 😉 ) I couldn’t believe it was happening when I read it, I was like NO she WILL be ok dammit! But alas, it was not to be 😦 This is definitely a trilogy that will stay with me for a long time.
      Aww thank you so much! 🙂 If you do, let me know what you think about them. And thank you for subscribing as well! Looking forward to chatting more in the future, and I think you have a great blog, I was laughing my head off like a looney. 🙂

  13. I didn’t like Mockingjay; if you have a heroine, please don’t let her sleep / be unconscious through the climax of your trilogy of books! I never went for the Peeta vs Gale thing either, but Collins amplified it as the stories went along.

    I did spin a short story out of the quote, “Some walks you have to take alone.” Resonated with me, that one, and I even wrote to her agent to ask permission to use it at the top of the story (They were nice enough to say yes).

    • Hmm, I always find the drastic split of opinions on this book interesting, however that was the one thing that did really annoy me about it which I didn’t mention in this review because it counts as a spoiler. It was really frustrating!
      I wasn’t that into the Peeta/Gale thing either, I found both of then intriguing as characters but I didn’t really mind who she ended up with.

      Ohh really? That’s so cool!

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