At the close of Catching Fire, Katniss blows up the arena by shooting an arrow at a weakspot in the enclosing forcefield. She and Finnick are rescued by a hovercraft, but the rest – including Peeta – are left to the mercy of the Capitol. We learn that District 12 has been obliterated, but Gale and Katniss’ family are alive. It is in the charred remains of District 12 that Mockingjay begins.
I finished reading the book early this morning. For a while, I just lay there trying to figure out how I felt about it. Then the tears came quietly, squeezed out of my eyes by the heaviness in my chest. Mockingjay evoked a range of emotions from me, and for that, I applaud Suzanne Collins. Although, even hours later, I am still confused. I alternate between feelings of pain and disappointment.
The writing itself was superb. Even at the beginning of the book, which was a little slow-going, the atmosphere is immediately tense. Katniss is again caught in a decision that could turn the tide for the rebels. As in Catching Fire, she moves cautiously because any misstep could lead to dire consequences. Here, I felt the first stirrings of dissatisfaction. I was drawn to the Hunger Games because of the strength of its female protagonist. I liked that she was quick-thinking and decisive. Katniss’ conviction, drawn from a fierce need to protect her family, was a key element to her character. In Mockingjay, I kept waiting for the old fire to reappear, but there was barely a spark. Katniss was still a pawn, pushed around by greater forces. I wanted her to be a force herself. I wanted her to kick some ass.
Without giving too much away, the ending seemed a little abrupt. As Hanna puts it, it was as if Suzanne Collins realized that she’d already written 200 pages and had to quickly wrap things up. Because it was the final book, I expected closure. But it never came. I was left hanging, and honestly, I feel cheated. Characters were unceremoniously killed, and relationships were severed almost like an afterthought. The final pages of the book felt thrown together, and had no room to properly tie up loose ends.
The Hunger Games remains my and Hanna’s favorite book in the series. Catching Fire was impressive because of its emotional conflicts. Mockingjay, which was to bring the series full circle, was a little disappointing. On the other hand, I have to appreciate a book that can render me emotionally static for 12 hours.
This was a post by Kubi, with thoughts from a discussion with Hanna.