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 know...it'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.
Second Opinion Score: