325 of 386 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games) (Hardcover)
I enjoyed Hunger Games a lot, and Catching Fire as well (though I thought that Catching Fire had some flaws). These flaws became all the more apparent in Mockingjay, where the fast pace and any character development was quickly derailed. The main problems can be summed up thusly:
1) Limitations of the point of view. In Hunger Games, Katniss's first person POV helped keep up the suspense. You only knew what she knew in the arena, and you read to find out what was going on. When were the Careers going to find her and try to kill her? What were Peeta's motivations? Etc, etc. This also worked in Catching Fire. However, much of Mockingjay is spent with people explaining what happened off-screen to Katniss. She gets told things second hand a lot. This really bothered me. I wanted to see the action take place, not be told about it. What little action there is in the beginning is the awkward, staged propaganda pieces which make little sense. Which brings me to the next point.
2) The action in the back third of the book was poorly written. I think it was rushed. At no point in Hunger Games did I have trouble understanding what was going on. I had to reread parts several times to understand what had happened, particularly Finnick's and Prim's deaths. The last part was basically one big swirl of confusion, choppily written and edited. What's more, the constant need to tie everything back to the Hunger Games got old really fast with the "pods are like being back at the Games!" thing. Uhhh no.
3) Gale's rather odious character derailment. I was indifferent to who Katniss ended up declaring her love for, but all the ploys that Collins used to get Gale out of the picture just felt cheap to me. Him possibly having a part in the bomb that killed her sister? Katniss needed that to realize that he wasn't right for her? That's cheap. She should have had to struggle to reach that conclusion on her own, rather than making Gale not only uncomfortably, if indirectly, responsible for Prim's death on top of having Gale be a jerk to Katniss through most of the book. Collins set up a perfect plot for Katniss to realize she loved Peeta. Taking his love away from her should have really finally opened up her eyes to what she felt, and had her try to earn him, but this is relatively glossed over.
4) Collins seems to have forgotten that the readers see the world through Katniss's eyes. And hollow, inactive, depressed, and drugged up eyes are not really the best eyes to see the world through. A different writer might have been able to make this work, but keeping Katniss's depression and lethargy compelling was just outside the scope of her gifts. She's much better at other things that she didn't capitalize on. Katniss is horribly traumatized -- as she should be -- but wandering, self-centered thoughts about how traumatized she is don't make for very interesting reading in Collins's hands. After a while, I was really starting to hate Katniss, and how she seemed unwilling to sacrifice anything for the rebellion. Everything seemed to come back to her. Oh, Haymitch manipulated me in the arena! How terrible! It's not like he wasn't trying to do something good for the world at large by doing so! These thoughts, all of which we're privy to, got wearing fast.
I think Collins needed more time to write this book. The ending in particular felt extremely rushed. In the end, it wasn't the worst book I've ever read, but it was so far from living up to the promise of the first two installments that I just hated it.
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Showing 1-10 of 28 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 12, 2011 12:15:59 PM PDT
SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!! Why did you mention the deaths of certain characters without a SPOILER ALERT? Thanks.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2011 10:46:16 AM PST
A. Reser says:
You know, any kind of review is, in effect, a spoiler alert. You should go into each review with that in mind.
Posted on Feb 1, 2012 4:30:38 PM PST
Amanda B says:
It would have been nice of you to warn about plot spoilers in your review.
Posted on Feb 9, 2012 8:49:50 AM PST
Brian Ganas says:
A review doesn't help someone if they can only read it once they've read the subject material. I think people need to be aware that some minor spoilers may occur in reading a review, like a large arcing plot point, but specific events, like the death of characters, don't need to be included in detail.
Posted on Feb 16, 2012 7:03:15 AM PST
S. Bock says:
You have many absolutely accurate points:
"[Katniss] gets told things second hand a lot." So true. I didn't even think to put that in my review, but now that you've mentioned it, I can't agree with you more.
"I think it was rushed." In a nutshell, I think this entire installment was rushed - in the case of the actual ending, unforgivably so.
"Hollow, inactive, depressed, and drugged up eyes are not really the best to see the world through." Perfect way to get that point across. To those of you who think us happy-ending-types wanted a fairy tale, I can tell you that I didn't. It doesn't have to be all daisies and bunnies and giggles. But it's kind of ridiculous that an overall fortunate ending was written with so tragic and downtrodden a voice that it feels "hollow" and hopeless, isn't it?
Posted on Feb 20, 2012 6:41:27 PM PST
Posted on Feb 22, 2012 9:50:37 AM PST
S. F. says:
I guess I don't have to read this now, since I already know what's going to happen.
Posted on Feb 23, 2012 9:18:08 PM PST
N. Heuer says:
If you want to talk about this book in detail really you should find a forum. If you had issues with the book and I don't totally disagree you should say that but didn't need to be so specific. This isn't the correct place at all.
Posted on Apr 1, 2012 12:12:57 AM PDT
Suzanne G. says:
I really like your reference to the pods and the whole "it's just like she's in the arena again!" set-up. I enjoyed Catching Fire, and one of the cool things about that book was that it seemed like it could go in so many different directions. Was Katniss going to start a rebellion? Run away and try to live in the woods? Mentor a tribute? I was actually really struck by that idea--of course in the first book you only think about her surviving the Games. How is she supposed to live, mentoring kids who are going off to die, year after bloody year? How are she and Peeta going to maintain their intregrity? There was so much potential, and then--BAM!--she's back in the arena. I was a little dubious at first--it seemed a little bit like a cheap gimmick to reprise the first book--but it worked out quite well. The third time, though, it was overdone (in addition to being poorly, bafflingly done.) I'm glad you mentioned it.
Posted on Apr 5, 2012 7:42:27 AM PDT
I'm just glad I'm not the only one who thought this when they read the book. It left me depressed for a while and thinking about how poorly it was done. I talked to other people that thought it was great and was beginning to think I was crazy for thinking it. Then I read your review which is spot on and explains what i couldn't put into words.