Monday, May 2, 2011
Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding. (Image and synopsis from goodreads.com)
While I liked the overall plot of Mockingjay, I thought the execution of it lacked some character development and details. For a significant part of the book, Katniss was unconscious and the reader was not privy to what was going on if Katniss was not there and taking part of the developments. Therefore, there are chunks of time that are skipped over for the reader. I didn't think Katniss needed to be taken out of the plot for it to move forward.
I also didn't find much of it surprising. For example (SPOILER ALERT!!) I definitely definitely saw that Katniss would kill Coin before the end of the book. I thought it was super obvious from the way we viewed Coin from the very beginning. Apart from the lack of surprise, I also thought that Katniss stopped developing as an individual. She wallows around too much and is indecisive. I admired her courage and determination in the first two books, but she loses a lot of it in the third. I understand it's probably more realistic that she feels lost through the third book because of Peeta's situation, but I wasn't reading this series because it was realistic. It was suppose to be an adventurous story with a strong female character. The end is especially telling for Katniss, and I thought was poorly done and unrealistic.
In the end, everyone deserted Katniss- Gale, her mother, even Peeta wasn't there right away. I could have dealt with this if only Katniss hadn't also deserted herself. If she had pulled herself together, then at least we would have seen her grow. Rather, she wallows in self-pity/loathing/etc. and it takes Peeta to pull her out of it into some semblance of life. But Katniss didn't choose Peeta. Peeta is just now left with making sure Katniss survives rather than having a life with a woman who chose him, who wants to be with him, who also makes sure that he is okay. I think Katniss probably did not give up her selfishness later in life. I understand that she went through horrible things and she will always be tortured by it, but I really believe that Peeta is more of her caretaker than a husband. Just that fact that it took 15 years for Katniss to agree to have children only for his sake shows that she is not living for herself- just going through the motions and finally giving in to Peeta for something he actually wants. Katniss starts the series as such a strong girl. I rejoiced over this fact since the last YA books I read (really since about Middle School) were Twilight, which had such a pitiful main character that I thought maybe this series would change my mind about how characters are portrayed and given real depth in this genre. But Katniss' lack of growth and awareness of the world and people around her in this final installment leaves me disappointed since I expected much more.
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars