Second Opinion on Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

I wrote this second opinion a few days after reading Mockingjay (back in 2010).  I was so disappointed in the ending to one of my all-time favorite series that I didn't have the heart to publish this review.  But, it's been almost three years, and I feel like it's time to let you know how I really felt (and still feel) about Mockingjay.  

I can't stop thinking about Mockingjay.  I can't stop talking about it either---I am so disappointed with the book as a whole that my husband has decided not to read it.  

I have read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire three times each.  My last read through of the two was this past weekend, in preparation for Mockingjay.  Every time I read those books, I feel like I could read them again immediately.  I did not feel that way about Mockingjay.  Frankly, I don't know if I'll ever read it again---I am that disappointed.  I know I am in the minority here, but this is how I feel.

Things I liked about Mockingjay:
  • The world building 
  • There were a couple of surprises
  • I liked the parts about Buttercup
  • We got to know some of the characters better---namely Finnick, Haymitch, Gale, and Prim 
  • I like Gale's ending---he rises above his Seam upbringing and coal miner history
Things I didn't like about Mockingjay:  
  • A lack of character growth for Katniss
  • The pacing was slow for the entire book, yet the ending felt rushed
  • I feel like Collins wrote this book half-halfheartedly.  Was she juggling the demands of Mockingjay and the screenplay to The Hunger Games?  It almost feels like she had a ghost writer helping her out here.
  • The tone of the book is dark and depressing---I get that Collins is trying to make a point about there being no winners in war but I don't like a book to preach to me.  It didn't have the same feel as the first two books.
 More things I didn't like---SPOILER ALERT---STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN'T READ Mockingjay!
  • I felt like I was reading about a mental patient the entire book: the way Katniss cries, hides, and gets medicated every time something happened along with her willful disobedience and paranoia.
  • Katniss was in the hospital too much---it was an overused plot device: something upsets Katniss, she gets drugged into submission and ends up in the hospital OR Katniss gets hurt, ends up in the hospital, rides a morphling wave which covers her feelings, and recovers slowly while napping in closets all the time.
  • The entire book, Katniss is reacting to situations beyond her control instead of making her own decisions.
  • Katniss is supposed to love Peeta, but when he comes back from the Capitol damaged, she gives up on him and ignores him.
  • The ending felt out of character---I would have rather she died a hero then end up a shell of a person, just existing---like Haymitch.  Basically, Katniss turns into Haymitch.  Where's the fighter we all loved in the first two books?
  • Will someone please tell me how Peeta magically gets cured of his brain hijacking?  Oh wait, he must have been cured by Katniss' love.  No, that's not right, because she doesn't decide that she loves him until the very last page and it is very casual.  So, Peeta gets cured by icing Finnick's wedding cake?  The failed mission to kill President Snow?  Or, is it when Gale leaves for his job in District Two?  We'll never's magical, like Edward's diamond skin.  
  • Katniss knows that Gale had a hand in making the bomb that killed Prim.  She gives up on five years of friendship just like that---it felt so flat, the way she just gives up on Gale.  One second he's there, one second he's gone.  Her best friend---vanished. 
  • There were characters from the first two books that are dropped without a thought---like Madge and her family.  I felt like Collins could have included their stories to flesh out the plot.
  • The casual treatment of the MANY deaths in this book.  Why did so many people have to die?  And so casually?  
  • The book is very violent and gory.  I don't think it's appropriate for younger teens.
I urge you to put aside your "team affiliation" feelings and objectively consider this book on its own---not in the context of being part of a series.  When I think of the series as a whole, Mockingjay gets more stars.  When I think of Mockingjay on its own, it is just not that great for me.  I feel like Collins could have done so much more with this book.

Original Score:

Second Opinion Score:

What are your thoughts on Mockingjay?


  1. I agree with almost everything you said. I was very disappointed, especially with the last part of the book. It was just .. Lame in many ways. One of the things i did like though is how so many people died, how her sister died and how those kids died and all that. Maybe she is preaching that there is no winners in war - but this is really what war looks like. I always have trouble taking a book seriously when it includes war and nobody dies. It's a fact that when you go to war for real, people die. Lots of people, people you dont want to die, like children and civillians and baby animals and what not. Its what war is like. Its ugly and gory and nasty and so not fair in any way. So for me, it worked. But the thing with the mental-Katniss, what was up with that? And her constant avoiding of Peeta? jeez. And why for the love of GOD coulnd't she just admit she loved him? Whats so hard about that? Meh.

  2. I did not enjoy Mockingjay as much on the second read as I did on the first read. It didn't have the same appeal, drive, excitement, etc. I know that the series had to end the way it did...I don't think it would have made much sense if it didn't. But there were some things I wish had gone differently. Prim? District 13 could have been less strict...they were worse than the Capitol. And Katniss seemed weak in this book. She stood up for herself and others in the first two, yet in this one, she let District 13 walk all over her. And I agree with you, the hospital and drugs were overused. It killed who Katniss was...a strong, young lady willing to fight for what is right.

  3. I feel the exact same way. I was so disappointed with the way the series ended. I agree with all of your dislikes. I especially hated how Katniss just gives up on everything. I loved the second book but the third was such a disappointment.

  4. I am in SHOCK that you finally posted this!!! THIS MADE MY NIGHT! I can't help but wonder if maybe Collins had a ghost writer for this last installment? It just didn't feel like the first two...

  5. I am in SHOCK that you finally posted this!!! THIS MADE MY NIGHT! I can't help but wonder if maybe Collins had a ghost writer for this last installment? It just didn't feel like the first two...

    1. I totally agree with this Natalie & Kelli! I remember wondering WHAT HAPPENED to my Hunger Games. I felt like the first half the book was going smoothly and then she shelved it and finished it in a completely different state of mind.

      So happy I am not the only person who felt like this. I loved the second book better than the first and the third was a disappointment.


  6. ***Spoilers below***
    Katniss might as well have not ended up with Peeta at all the way things ended. They're alone in this vacant little place that they aren't allowed to leave. Katniss looked at Peeta and probably thought "hey...why not? No one else is here anyways." I was seriously on team Peeta but the fact that she was never given the chance to choose between him and Gale annoyed the heck out of me. I wanted her to have a choice. Now their relationship looks sort of their robots or something. Ehhh I read this book 2 years ago, have NO plans of reading it again (unless with my siblings) :/

  7. I absolutely loves Book 1. Dived right into Book 2 - which felt like Book 1 revamped. So, it was still fun, but I wondered why Collins didn't explore the world more in Book 2. The weird love triangle, that is lacking love - was OK in Book 1, but in Book 2 got even sillier. By the time we got to Book 3 I felt that Katniss was becoming all the things she disliked about her mother - totally checking out because shit got tough. Plus the weird love triangle continued. So, I was hoping that Katniss and Peeta and even gale would all be friends, but eventually end up with someone else in the epilogue. Did not happen that way. So, yeah, I haven't reread the series. Normally I don't like movies to digress too much from the books, but I say let Movie 3 run wild with the plot.

  8. I would have rather she died a hero then end up a shell of a person, just existing---like Haymitch. THIS.

    I was not happy that she settled for Peeta. I had some problems with Mockingjay as well. And it, too, was a 3 star read for me.


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