If you haven’t read/finished your copy of “Mockingjay”, stop right here. Do not read any further. I will not be held responsible for ruining your reading experience. Plus, all of us that are already finished really want to point and laugh at you. Erm, I mean…
(This is not starting out very well at all.)
I have a confession to make. About two summers ago, I was completely and utterly absorbed in the Twilight Saga. I ate, slept, and breathed Team Edward and Team Jacob, and had a countdown calendar for “Breaking Dawn.” I even went so far as to purchase two copies of the book, because my Amazon pre-order wasn’t going to arrive in time for our vacation to Lake Placid.
Whew, I feel so much better.
Shortly after I’d finished the four-book series, I was desolate. Where could I go from my adventures in Forks?!
Fortunately, Stephenie Meyer, the author of the series had the perfect suggestion for me on her blog. She passed on a reading recommendation of a still under-the-radar novel called “The Hunger Games,” that she had been so absorbed in she’d read it under the table in a restaurant.
Perhaps propelled by the leagues of Twi-Hards hanging on her every move, and perhaps based on word of mouth for its own incredible writing, “The Hunger Games” quickly became a phenomenon. Everyone that read it (that I know) promptly recommended it to a friend. And so on.
I purchased my copy of “Catching Fire” the day it came out, and did the same with “Mockingjay.” (After the “Breaking Dawn” fiasco, I’ve decided it’s worth hitting a bookstore when a book I just-can’t-wait-for is coming out.)
I have to be completely honest- I finished the finale to the Hunger Games series feeling slightly lost… I fully blame that feeling on my own expectations for the conclusion, not on the wonderful writing of Suzanne Collins.
She brought her saga to a close in a completely logical and realistic way, yet after all that Katniss and Peeta had been through I think that everyone was rooting for them to have a happy, peaceful ending at last. Collins makes brilliant points about human nature and the corruption of power, and we wouldn’t be in Panem if the series ended with our heroes riding off on a unicorn into a cloud of sparkles.
(Spoiler alert!) (Again!)(I am so conscientious)
My issue with the third novel is this: The main plot device used in all 3 books was essentially the same. Katniss and Peeta survive the arena in the first novel only to be sent back in the Quarter Quell. At first I was turned off to the idea, but reading and meeting the victors from the other districts was completely addictive. I was also eager to get a further taste of the relationships cultivated in the first book, between Katniss and Peeta and Katniss and Gale.
When “Mockingjay” begins, Katniss has been rescued from the arena and taken to District 13, which everyone believed destroyed. She is then persuaded to continue her role as the mockingjay, or the symbol of the revolution. Peeta has been captured and is being held in the Capitol, and Katniss has suffered a mental breakdown. This causes her to trust in her own judgement of reality, and the goals of the rebellion never quite ring true. By the time Peeta is finally rescued, it has become clear that the Capitol has tortured and brainwashed him, and all of his memories of Katniss have been tampered with. He is now a danger to her and to himself, and anything but an asset to the rebel cause.
The rebels gear up for one last assault on the Capitol, which itself has been designed liked a Hunger Games arena as a defense. For the third time, our heroes are forced to deal with traps, muttations and never know exactly who they should trust. This time, however, the romance subplot (which softens up the harshness of reality in Panem) is missing until the very end. Oh, and practically EVERYONE EVER is killed in a horrific way.
In addition, Katniss is forced to watch her sister, who she tried to save by going to the Games in the first book, die at the hands of another power-hungry government. To the observer, it feels that her journey was for nothing.
Though I was ultimately disappointed in the end of the series, Collins remained true to her characters and the world that she created, in which there are no “happy endings,” only learning to be happy with the peace that you can find for yourself.