Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The conclusion to The Hunger Games series is aptly named “Mockingjay” after a bird that we are introduced to in the first novel which quickly becomes the symbol of rebellion and the struggle to overthrow the Capitol.
In some ways Mockingjay is extremely predictable and boring. I had already guessed from the second book that Katniss would become the face of the revolution and Mockingjay. elaborates on the journey of a girl from a young nobody to a mature leader. However, what occurs in that change is perhaps the most boring nature of the novel.
Following her rescue from the Quarter Quell games, Katniss is told that District 12 and everything that was once her home has been destroyed. A small amount of people were able to escape under the capable guidance of her friend Gale, but the future still looks dire. Peta has been taken by the Capitol along with a few other friends and Katniss must face her true feelings about who she loves and will choose to be with.
Here we are, faced with what could be an epic showdown between the Capitol and the rebellion forces, but for some reason Collins chooses to drag out the romantic triangle and examine Katniss’s every emotion and feeling, swinging for fear to confidence to anger to sheer stubborn will. Instead of creating a sympathetic character, I found myself growing increasingly annoyed with Katniss’s constant ruminations and introspective behaviour.
I might even speculate that the reader is more likely to become attached to the minor characters (Finnick, Beetee, Johanna, Leeg 1 and 2, Boggs etc) than Katniss herself. By the end of the novel I probably wouldn’t have minded if she had somehow lost her narrative voice and died. Instead, we are subjected to a brief round of excitement as the rebellion truly gets underway and then once again the plot is lost as Katniss sinks into yet another crisis and shuts down.
In the end the story played out in a strange momentum of slow, fast, slow, and fast. The slow parts consist of Katniss pondering and considering, the fast parts are when the plot truly speeds along. The difference between the speed of the plot is almost incredible; possibly it may have been more effective if Collins had maintained a better balanced plot.
However, what remains is an interesting story that I finished in three hours. What will compel the reader to finish the novel will be an interest in the fate of the characters presented to them. Even though many of my friends have told me they have not finished the novel because “it’s boring”, I found it titillating enough to get through and I give it four out of five stars because I found it a reasonably satisfactory conclusion to a great series.
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