OK, so I finished reading Suzanne Collins’s Mockingjay night before last and have been dying to talk about it. I’ve been so hooked on this trilogy! Seriously! Talk about intense writing. I felt like my heart was racing from the first chapter of Hunger Games to the last one of Mockingjay. All three were page-turners. I’ve had time to reflect on Mockingjay, but it’s still hard for me to pinpoint just how I feel about it. And for anyone in the middle of reading it, I’m about to riddle this thing with spoilers so look away now! 🙂
Here’s the bottom line: I was disappointed. Not so much that I hate the series and wish I hadn’t read it and feel betrayed and all that–but still, I feel like the author left the readers more depressed than hopeful. And for me, reading the series was already emotionally exhausting. In fact, I can’t think of a series I’ve read that wore me out like this one! So I was hoping she’d give us a little more hope at the end, not leave us still wallowing in despair.
*Spoiler warning* I am so glad Peeta lived and that he ended up with Katniss. I definitely felt like he was her match and so good for her. I cared about Gale, too, but I did feel that he was fueled by anger that could run away with him, and Peeta was more rational and compassionate. Here’s where I started to feel like the author crossed that boundary of “too depressing”–she killed off Prim! Really? Was that necessary? We’ve just seen Finnick (who I loved) brutally killed by people/lizards! How much more do we have to take? Well, let’s kill sweet Prim and all the other children in the city and that will be enough. I just really felt like the author went a little too far.
There was never any danger of this series having a too-neatly-wrapped-up ending, or a happily ever after–so I don’t think it would have hurt to leave Katniss with her mother and Prim. I was also sad that her mother doesn’t return home to her. She loses Prim and her mom. I was at least hoping she could reconnect with her mom and have that source of support in her life.
The epilogue was nice–I was relieved to think Katniss had children and found some happiness, but it felt almost like too little too late. I also felt like there was a lot of build-up for Katniss to kill President Snow–but it never happens. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad she killed Coin, but after mentioning it so many times, it seemed strange that Snow just died of choking or the mob, not Katniss or one of the other key players. I also thought Gale’s character changed at the end. It seemed easier to take him out of the love equation by thinking of him in another city at a “fancy job” “kissing other girls”–but that’s not who he was throughout the whole series. He was a rebel, brave, strong, loyal to Katniss (remember him being the first to volunteer to rescue Peeta?)–going to a cushy job and making out with other girls doesn’t sound like him.
Still, I thought Peeta was definitely the right guy for Katniss to end up with. Overall, I was relieved that at least Katniss and Peeta lived and the revolution succeeded. I just wish I’d been able to close the book without feeling so depressed. There needed to be more light. After going through all that darkness with Katniss for three books, I needed more light at the end.
Having said that, Collins is a brilliant writer and it’s a series worth reading, just be prepared for the ending to be less than happy but not quite devastating.
I already want to read Hunger Games again, however. That book was just incredible. Seriously, where does that kind of creativity come from? Amazing. I am so inspired to finish the book with Sara. 🙂