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)
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
Character Development: 5/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes!
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. 😉