Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: 2010
Website: Wikipedia Page

The Hunger Games Trilogy comes to an end in Mockingjay, and all I can think is, this would have been a pretty fantastic standalone. The first one, that is, because the third one is a continuation of the second in both plot and general literary failures. The pacing that was given so much praise in the first book is completely absent here, with the first third told entirely in summary and then a strange suspension of storyline with Katniss living and working with the rebels without a clear sense of where the story was going. She agrees to be the symbolic leader of the revolution, but so little is said about the actual fighting that there is no sense of action. Suzanne Collins is good at fantasy, but really not so capable of writing political thrillers. Then, in order to make the story interesting, Katniss becomes, as always, bored, restless and more than a little annoying. She then goes off to help the revolution, though it seems fairly random and forced, especially since she’s almost always surrounded by a camera crew. Finally, the end involves an exciting adventure into the heart of the enemy’s sanctum, and at the climax…we don’t know what happens for months. Had it been a movie, the screen would have blacked out and come back in blurry with an overtext saying (x weeks later). The ending is supposed to be sad but hopeful, but it really just ends up being sad and pathetic.

I don’t know what Collins was trying to do, but her heroine spends most of the story drugged up, asleep or complaining, the revolution takes place around her rather than with her, and she is completely unable to deal with her personal issues. The man she ends of not marrying she never reconciles with; he’s just off somewhere, and it’s explained that what he has to offer she doesn’t need. That’s exactly it, though. She needs. The clever, damaged, strong girl who connects so strongly with Gale and cares for her family at the beginning ends up a snivelling, indecisive wreck who needs all the help she can get. Her experiences have hurt her, of course, but that is a story about the destructive power of human evil to the soul, not a science fiction story about overturning dominating, ruthless hegemony. The heroine is simply missing in this story, popping up only occasionally in some all-too-rare moments of courage.

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One Comment to “Mockingjay”

  1. I have to agree that Collins’ use of Katniss in Mockingjay is quite boring, but I don’t believe that in itself makes Mockingjay a bad sequel. Instead I think the claustrophobia of Panem is evident as travel from district to district seems incredibly short. I think Mockingjay fails the ‘create a fantastical world which remains interesting’ test; a test which the first Hunger Games book passes with overwhelming success. I just thought that in Mockingjay Panem got boring and predictable.

    -Ezra

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