Having truly enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was disappointed by this one.
In Mockingjay, the tone and theme diverge drastically from the first two in the series, moving into what initially feels like the logical 'next step' in the rebellion against a decadent and unjust government. But what it becomes feels largely like a speculative war novel. Nearly all character development is suspended into a shared state of post-traumatic stress disorder that left me frequently battling the urge to skim. I gained empathy with a few side characters, but lost it with the primary characters.
The ending, too, fails to satisfy. It feels more like a rushed documentary, and entirely too summarized. It didn't help that, by that point, I was no longer invested in anyone's fate. In the end, I can only recommend the first book in the series, as the second book more or less forces you into reading this one.
This book had its high points and low points. I was a little disappointed as it wasn't as gripping as I was hoping it would be. I found it dragging in places with far too much telling and not enough showing. I didn't get to connect with the characters as I was hoping I would have. Katniss also annoyed me at times with her confliction of who to choose, Gale or Peeta. I always knew it was going to be Peeta. With such catastrophies going on around her, I found that it wasn't terrifying to read. I couldn't put myself in her shoes. Katniss just didn't jump off the pages enough for me to grasp her character.
To round off, the trilogy has been a good one, but not a great read.
Where to start… I devoured this book as quickly as possible. I had to know what happened after the cliffhanger ending in Catching Fire. However, I was mildly disappointed. When the actual Hunger Games ended, there seemed to be something lacking from the plot. I had a hard time getting into the complicated political overthrow plot. This book also had some new characters that seemed a little out of place. Maybe out of place isn’t the right term. They were there, but I couldn’t figure out what purpose they served. It was hard to connect to any of them because there wasn’t much depth. It was as if they were there for the purpose of the plot’s subterfuge only. I really felt like there was no attempt to grow the new characters at all, except for maybe Boggs.
** Spoiler alert**
Then there is the problem with Katniss herself. In the other books I thought she was so strong and defiant. Now, she seems so weak. In the aftermath of the events in Catching Fire, it makes sense. Her mental breakdowns and nightmares are acceptable and one hundred percent justifiable. What annoys me, however, is her constant pity party. Everyone knows that bad crap happens (that was obvious in the first two books), but to keep harping on it drove me nuts. It’s as if we needed a constant reminder of how crappy life could be for her. Complete over kill.
I hate to say it, but this time around my favorite character was Finnick. He had the most depths out of all of the characters in this book. Oh, the secrets he has to share! Holy smokes. That was a dark turn I didn’t expect. But then he gets killed off. That irritated me. I really wanted him to survive. It’s not the fact that he died, either, that bothers me so much. It’s the manner in which he died. What a waste. That entire scene seemed so rushed and out of place. I didn’t even realize so many people died until two or three pages later. One of the major deaths in the book didn’t even stand out to me. I knew she died because of the massive bombing that occurred, but what was the purpose?
I will say that there was one surprise that caught me off guard. Peeta. Wow. I didn’t see that one coming. Poor, sweet Peeta.
No review would be complete if I didn’t talk about the ending. WTH?! I am so unhappy with how things ended. I’m all for Peeta, don’t get me wrong, but the way things were left with Gale seemed so wrong. No closure. I know there is supposed to be some great message about war and the roles we play—whether knowingly or not—but still… I felt so invested him that love triangle. I wanted a better solution. I don’t care so much who Katniss ended up with, it’s just the why that bothers me. It’s like she didn’t have a choice in the matter at all. She gets sent back to District 12 alone under the impression that no one will come for her. But then someone does… Only, it seems like he’s there because he has nowhere else to be. Did anyone else get that feeling? Obviously Peeta wouldn’t stay in the Capitol after what happened, so it only seemed natural that he would return to his home. With Katniss being there, of course they would end up together eventually. They are the only ones who can fully understand what it’s like to be a survivor of The Hunger Games. But does that mean he wants to be there with her or she with him? Not necessarily. It felt like they were both going with the hand life dealt them because they didn’t know what else to do.
** End spoiler alert **
I guess there was some sense of closure after the epilogue, but I still don’t know how satisfied I am with it. The pieces do fit together and there is plenty to think about afterwards, that’s for sure. Leaving the series with this book unread would be wrong. Be forewarned, though, it’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and how you feel at the end really depends on whose side you’re on.