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923 of 1,068 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Torn about this book..., August 30, 2010
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This review is from: Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) (Hardcover)
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Okay, on the one hand, I liked this book. Liked it enough that I couldn't stop reading because I NEEDED to know what happened--specifically to Peeta. I also liked what happened in the end...but...well...

From the first page of The Hunger Games to the end of Mockingjay, the one thing, the one character that kept me reading was Peeta. I liked Katniss alright, but she wasn't what drew me into the series. Katniss, like many reviews are saying, was a pawn in this awful war. In the first 2 books she acted against the 'control'. She rebelled--which is WHY so many people looked up to her. Which is why they wanted her face to be the seal of their rebellion. It made sense. But here's where I feel Ms. Coillins made a grave mistake in Mockingjay...she eliminated the 'goodness' that had motivated Katniss to move forward even when she didn't want to during the games from her life.

True, this whole series has been about fighting oppression and power. About fighting against a government set out to only make their own lives better, and I felt the first 2 books did that nicely. They were so dark, so horrifying, but inside all of that horror there was a spark of light, of sunshine, and that spark was Peeta and Prim--but mostly Peeta since he was there with her to remind her time and time again the type of goodness that was there to save.

Peeta represented true goodness, love, compassion. He was what kept Katniss from falling over the edge into total darkness. He was her rock, her friend, and no matter how confused she felt--she loved him, even if she didn't know it yet. The failure in Mockingjay was that, Ms. Collins took that light away from Katniss. There was no goodness anymore, and therefore Katniss lost her own 'personal spark'. Yet, this was never alluded to in the story. We just saw Katniss growing weaker and weaker, and were never given a reason as to why. People are complaining about how 'soft' her character went and I completely agree. But what isn't being talked about is the reason why. The reason is that Ms. Collins all but removed Peeta from this story.

I don't know about everyone else, but he was the only bright spot in this entire series for me. Everything was so dark and hopeless--except him. HE was the one the masses clung to. HIS words, HIS light, HIS goodness. He is what made Katniss look so incredible. It was his presence and words that did that. It is my opinion that she could not have risen to the level she was at without him--which is why she fell short in Mockingjay. The dynamic between them and what they accomplished together at both 'Games' was what drove the series for me. It wasn't even so much about the romance--although that DID add another human layer to this story which made it all that much more gut wrenching and true.

All across the review boards, message boards, etc...the main thing people mused about was 'Who is Katniss going to choose? Gale or Peeta?' (And really, was there even a doubt as to who it would be? Who it needed to be?) Yet, we get to Mockingjay and the author COMPLETELY obliterated that theme. Sure, we all understand that the war was the main plot, but the HEART of any story is it's characters and their personal journey. Love being one that drives most stories. The love was all but absent here. Sure, we get a resolution, Katniss chooses in the end, but it doesn't FEEL good to the reader. We were given no 'reunion' scene. We were given no 'love-filled' embrace. We were TOLD, 'and this happened.' Not fulfilling. Not in the least. Readers need closure. It doesn't have to be a 'happily ever after' which would have been completely off base for this story. But we need to see that in spite of everything that had happened, everything that the characters have suffered, that it had been worth SOMETHING. That everything they fought for, everything so many people died for, was worth something in the end. I'm disappointed because it wasn't like that. It was more like 'Yes, I finally admitted to myself that Peeta was who I loved, then I had some babies with him because he wanted them.'

Why, Suzanne Collins? Why? Why couldn't you let Katniss and Peeta be content afterward? Why couldn't it have ended with Katniss feeling at least somewhat like what they'd suffered had helped in some way. It ended with Katniss sounding just as depressed and unhappy as in the beginning--even though she had a wonderful husband and beautiful kids. I'm just...incredulous, I guess, that there couldn't even be a kernel of hope in the end. We all know this story wasn't a fairytale, and I prepared myself for bleakness. I just never imagined that I would get the ending I wanted (I was actually convinced Peeta would die and I'd be so incredibly mad that I'd throw the book into my fireplace), but that it would have such a sour note that I couldn't even be happy about it. I missed the dynamic between Peeta and Katniss so much. Only twice in the entire book did I feel ANY of that old spark (when he asked her, "You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real?" and when she kissed him to help him stay sane.) Twice in 400 pages. Characters and their relationship trump any and ALL fighting/gore/death--even in a war story because without that, readers don't care about the outcome of the war! This is where this novel fell short. The character relationships were completely annihilated. Gone.

Ok, I guess I've ended my rant. I just feel like she could have ended the book the same, but could have made that hopelessness feeling go away just a little. Because what is life if there is no hope? This novel left the reader feeling empty, drained, and hopeless. Not even being able to care about what happened to those characters we'd grown to love.
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Comments

Tracked by 19 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 158 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 31, 2010 9:55:13 PM PDT
I completely agree - you hit the nail on the head about what was missing from the book.

Posted on Sep 4, 2010 11:11:19 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Dec 6, 2010 10:10:36 AM PST]

Posted on Sep 13, 2010 1:17:56 PM PDT
I agree 100%. Well said!

Posted on Oct 11, 2010 6:37:32 PM PDT
LMS says:
"I don't know about everyone else, but he was the only bright spot in this entire series for me. Everything was so dark and hopeless--except him. HE was the one the masses clung to. HIS words, HIS light, HIS goodness. He is what made Katniss look so incredible. It was his presence and words that did that. It is my opinion that she could not have risen to the level she was at without him--which is why she fell short in Mockingjay. The dynamic between them and what they accomplished together at both 'Games' was what drove the series for me." THIS IS SO RIGHT ON THE MONEY! HE MADE THESE BOOKS FOR ME AND TO LEAVE HIM OUT OF THIS BOOK WAS ITS DOWN FALL.

Posted on Jul 21, 2011 11:04:38 PM PDT
Absolutely perfect review. The ending could have been written SO much better. I was wishing the story was like a DVD where there is the possibility to see an alternate ending. I was hoping Peeta could return to his pre-trackerjacker state and that there could be a satisfying interaction between the two that was heartwarming. I agree that SC tried so hard to make it not a fairy tale that she forgot that the reason that I, the reader, spent 72 hours glued to the story was because I HAD to see Katniss end up with Peeta. For it to FINALLY happen in the last two pages of the story without any real development in the broken state of their relationship was just awful. I found the ending depressing and hollow and it pretty much ruined the series for me. I only hope that when they adapt the story for film they don't make the same mistakes SC did in Mockingjay!

Posted on Aug 18, 2011 8:50:53 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2011 8:52:21 PM PDT
lward says:
Thank you so much for clearing what's been bugging me about this book. After I finished the book, I felt depressed and hollow but didn't know why. Peeta was what made me keep reading the trilogy but after he had been "hijacked", I was hoping for Katniss to help him or some kind of closure in the end. SC did not offer that but left the readers emotionally drained and unfulfilled.

Posted on Sep 27, 2011 8:43:43 AM PDT
J. Fink says:
Maybe I need to go back and reread it, but I thought it was mentioned, if not elaborated on, that Peeta was the one people really looked up to, that he was Katniss's strength, that he made Katniss look good to the people (Haymitch DID say that)...

I do agree, though. Peeta was one of my favorite characters. (I also liked Prim and Finnick) I actually did like the whole hijacking, though, because I appreciated the journey back to him being himself (or the damaged version of himself that he became). I really appreciated when he saw Katniss as she was rather than seeing her while (possibly...I was never sure if he was ignorant of her faults or just accepted them) blinded to her faults because of love. I felt how it was THAT moment which made Katniss grow as a person. She had to realize that she took him for granted, she felt the hurt when he no longer loved her unconditionally, and then finally felt humility when she had to open herself up to him to try to earn his love back.

Hmm. I think I went on my own tangent.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 27, 2011 8:59:41 AM PDT
bklvr says:
"Maybe I need to go back and reread it, but I thought it was mentioned, if not elaborated on, that Peeta was the one people really looked up to, that he was Katniss's strength, that he made Katniss look good to the people (Haymitch DID say that).."

Erm, that's exactly what I said, here:

"Everything was so dark and hopeless--except him. HE was the one the masses clung to. HIS words, HIS light, HIS goodness. He is what made Katniss look so incredible."

Katniss was the "figure head" because she was rebellious and Peeta's words and impressions of her made the masses look and listen. They looked up to her because, well, he was good at making them see her possibility. I still maintain Peeta is the hero of this story. Haha. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2012 5:29:00 PM PDT
J.C. Burns says:
No, I think Katniss and Peeta - the team - were the heroes of the story. Katniss was the survivor, the fighter, the doer. Peeta was the idealist who gave her something worth fighting for. The two were like Yin and Yang - 2 parts of a whole. They complemented each other, while Gale was her mirror image. A survivor and fighter - who utterly lacked the light she needed.

Posted on Apr 9, 2012 11:26:07 AM PDT
XCRunner13 says:
I couldn't agree more, the closure just wasn't there. Depression and complaining are two things that if overdone, can ruin a character. I think that is why at the end of the book I came to despise Katniss. I was just fed up with her mental behavior.
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