Customer Review

76 of 86 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unrecognizable and unresolved, December 27, 2010
This review is from: Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) (Hardcover)
SPOILERS!!!!
The title of my review sums up my feelings about this novel. I was addicted to the first two books. I could not put them down. When it came time to read the last book I kept saying that I needed to pace myself since I knew it was the last but instead I read it in a day. In the end, there was no need to rush. Now, that I've finished the trilogy I feel as wronged and empty as Katniss felt at the end of Mockingjay.

First of all, after reading the first two books I viewed this as a story about an incredible character named, Katniss. I felt that the war was a backdrop to the character. This was was what shaped her, matured her, tested her. But, by the end of the series it changed. It became about war, war is bad, blah, blah. Everyone knows this. This is nothing new. I do not need Finnick to get chewed to death or for Prim to incinerate for me to know this. But, what I didn't know and what I wanted to know was how Katniss would resolve this issue of war, this issue of being a pawn, of loving two different boys. These things were never told to me because she spent the majority of the book hiding, getting injured, being unconscious, staying drugged, or half insane. It was horrible enough that the usually dependable character of Peeta was hijacked but so was the character of Katniss. Her character and her reactions to the Games and the war were what made me invested in this story. There was none of that in Mockingjay. She just simply existed. Gale and Peeta were both seriously injured at the end and she didn't even try to find them once she healed. Really? These two men she would die to protect she suddenly could care less about them when one got shot and the other got burned? The author seemed too focused on throwing in as many tragedies as possible instead of showing us any genuine reactions or dialogue from the characters the readers cared about. Also, when Peeta was struggling to find his old self back in 13 she did nothing to help him but just kept avoiding him. In fact, that was really what she did the whole story which was such a change from who she was in The Hunger Games.
The second thing I didn't like was there was just so much pointlessness. When the heroes leave for their mission to assassinate Snow I think that we are finally going to see Katniss take control and stop being a pawn. We are finally going to see her mature and figure out who she's going to love. I'm waiting and waiting for this pivotal moment. I've got no time to grieve for Boggs or Finnick because I'm just trying to hang on to the climax that will make everything worthwhile. It never happens. Peeta and Gale get injured "offscreen". Prim who stayed in the background for most of the book suddenly gets plopped literally right down into the middle of all the action only to die. I'm still thinking there's time for this great climax BUT NO! Once again, Katniss gets injured only this time it's worse. Not only does she watch her sister die but she gets to forever carry scars that will remind her of how her sister died. But, that's not enough. Apparently, Peeta will also carry the same scars, too, only the readers don't even get to read what happen to him. All of this just seemed so pointless. I understand that war is bad and unpredictable but it did nothing to move forward any kind of plot or character development. I just felt like the author was trying to hammer home how terrible war can be but people already know this. This story in my mind should have stayed on track with the character of Katniss. Also, just how many people in a book can be "losing it" at one time? You have Katniss, Peeta, Finnick and Annie all having mental problems??? That's a bit too much.
Third of all, there were so many things unresolved. The resolution between Katniss and her two men just simply happened by chance it seemed. Gale invented the bomb that killed her sister so she simply picked Peeta. It helped that Peeta moved back to 12 and Gale did not. Would she have tried to find him if he didn't? Did she pick him because he was the only one there? Would she have picked Gale if he moved back? She was never proactive with her choices in the end. Everyone else made all her choices for her. Then there were other characters never fully resolved. Effie suddenly appeared at the end with little written about that. The style team just went away. Gale never really said good bye. There was no scene to find out about how Annie was coping. Her mother had nothing to say to her in the end other than a letter that was never read. Haymitch barely got mentioned once they were back in 12. Johanna had no ending. Peeta should have had plenty to say after what he went through and how Katniss treated him but there was nothing there to reward the readers in the end there, either. Also, the character of Katniss ended up doing pretty much nothing with her life after she stopped being the Mockingjay. Did her life peak at the age of sixteen and after that she did nothing that was meaningful? It seemed she married Peeta because he never left her side and had children for him because it was what he wanted...not her. In the end, she became this hollow shell compared to the girl her took her sister's place in The Hunger Games. She became her mother whom she hated so much in the beginning for "losing it". I didn't even understand why Peeta would want to stay with her in the end. She was nothing like the "Girl on Fire" that he and Gale fell in love with.

After I read this book I could not stop thinking about it. I couldn't decide if I even liked it or not. I was glad she chose Peeta in the end but that was all I was happy about. I had problems shaking off my feelings of depression. The book itself was depressing but I finally figured out my depression came from how drastically different this book was from the other two. It changed from a story about a unique character put into an impossible situation (Hunger Games and the war),deciding between two equally great men and instead changed into a lame After School Special on how war is bad. I already know this. What I wanted to know was how someone as great as Katniss would handle it. I never found that out because the character that I fell in love with never showed up in this book.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 10, 2012 2:13:36 PM PST
I listened to "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" on audiobook (I read "Hunger Games" in good old-fashioned book form). The narrator was TERRIBLE!! The books went on and on ad nauseum but I felt I should finish the trilogy. There were too many gruesome scenes that reminded me of any number of video games filled with carnage. Do young adult readers really need to be hammered over the head with this portrait of post-traumatic stress disorder? I knew the book had "jumped the shark" when Prim forces her way through the closing doors to retrieve the cat - just like the scene in "Alien"! A cheesy way to add suspense. There were many other examples in the plot that were illogical and minor characters who were poorly fleshed out.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 5:00:10 AM PDT
Hayley says:
I couldn't agree with you more.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 8:05:32 AM PDT
Really? You didn't like the audio version? I think it's because you didn't start the series with the audiobook and instead, had already established your own "voice" to the series. After seeing the movie, I also think a lot of the voices from the audio series were used with the characters in the film. Much like the Harry Potter series (recommend audio version of those!) I remember reading where Emma Thompson (who plays Prof. TreLawney) "borrowed" the characters impression read by Jim Dale.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 10:31:38 AM PDT
V. Planchon says:
I agree with your review of Mockingjay. I loved the first two books, but the third left me disappointed, and by the end of the book, frustrated with Katniss and the author for this take on the main character. Not that everyone has to live happily ever after, but what a waste of a great story! And why wasn't there more character development on Snow and the president of 13? Maybe the movie will be better:)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 2:59:59 PM PDT
L. N. Bauman says:
I completely agree about the narrator being bad. I am blind so I don't have the option to read it (in the traditional way) I still loved the first book. I just wish the book had ended with more about all the characters. I like to believe she still talks to Gale, because he is still her family.

Posted on Apr 1, 2012 12:59:08 AM PDT
Suzanne G. says:
You make many wonderful points, and I completely agree. I especially like your question, "Did her life peak at the age of sixteen, and after that she did nothing that was meaningful?"
Fifteen years later, she's done nothing of interest to rebuild her country or her community. I'd love to see that she had developed some leadership skills and goals in that time, especially since she was a static character in the entire rest of the book. The most interesting part of the story--not winning the war, but who they all become and what they create for themselves afterward--was utterly neglected so we could have a lot of boring strategy sessions and a boring revenge campaign where they are chased down by mutts (I'm assuming a limited page count, the only excuse I can come up with for that rushed, incomplete ending).

You may like what another reviewer, Tina N., said in her two-star review:
"The post-traumatic stress, the mental breakdowns, the self-pity, the self-loathing, the nearing of insanity .. all of these things are realistic, yes, but a bit tiresome and not very interesting to read when it's all the same and the narrator is drowning herself in it in the face of much greater things to the point where it detracts from the plot. These feelings shouldn't be the main focus throughout the ENTIRE novel. There has to be a turning point when she overcomes all of this and actively decides not to let these obstacles stand in her way. Now, many people will say her breakdown is more true to life, and it's what any normal 17-year-old girl would feel and go through. But, maybe I'm weird here, but for some stories, I don't WANT to read about the average, normal teenager. I want to read about someone who's a bit special, who's different, who displays traits (like courage, heart, perseverance) greater than the norm and accomplishes more than the "normal, average teen" even during the most difficult of times. Something that, when you close the book, makes you feel like "Wow, they're amazing. Inspirational. I want to be like that." & to be honest, I didn't sign up to read a war documentary or some nonfiction account of how war affects its victims. I came in expecting a break from reality, a fantasy sci-fi young adult novel about a girl who becomes a hero."

And I think you said it just about perfectly: "What I wanted to know was how someone as great as Katniss would handle it. I never found that out because the character that I fell in love with never showed up in this book."

Posted on Apr 19, 2012 10:56:57 AM PDT
gilenh20 says:
I was depressed after this book too! I completely agree with you!

Posted on Jan 26, 2014 9:38:37 PM PST
Horrible end to a great setup. You're right!

Posted on May 26, 2014 10:31:10 AM PDT
Jayne1955 says:
SPOILERS TO MATCH EARLIER SPOILERS

Totally agree with you. We are told so much when we should have been SHOWN. All the characters we loved were either glossed over, ignored or just not themselves.

Prim was the reason for everything, and getting plopped down as you say, is not satisfying! Annie having a baby doesn't make me regret the lack of attention Finnick's death got. Peeta and Katniss were never the people we came to love and thought we knew and there wasn't a happy ending for them because Katniss was not happy. Probably he wasn't either, although I can see him being content. She merely survived and in that sense she WAS exactly like her mother. She marries Peeta because he remains a constant but there is no passion there. She never follows up on Gale when he leaves her, even though they shared so much history? She waits fifteen years and then finally has kids because he wants them, not because she does. Totally unsatisfying. Why do so many great book series start out amazing and then turn to trash?
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