Thursday, 18 August 2011

Am I the only one who was disappointed by Mockingjay?

After holding off reading Mockingjay for over a month now, (in order to keep up my anticipation and excitement for as long as possible), I finally gave in last week and tore through the final novel in the much beloved Hunger Games trilogy. To say I'm a fan of The Hunger Games is an understatement ... I was pretty much obsessed with the first two novels (to the point where my boyfriend rolls his eyes now at the mere mention of it) ... but I never expected to be let down as terribly as I was after I finally got to the last page of Mockingjay. For those of you who haven't yet gotten around to Mockingjay, I suggest you stop reading now. My review is about to get spoiler crazy, and I don't want to ruin your own reading experience by giving away important details of the plot!

Now before I start ranting and raving about what aspects I didn't like about the book, let me first take a moment to make it clear that while I may have been frustrated by Mockingjay, I still think that as an overall story it is excellent. Suzanne Collins once again took my heart on a wild rollercoaster of emotions, keeping me up late into the night with anticipation of what would happen next. Having built up such strong characters over the course of the series, I can't help but feel connected to Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Gale, Finnick, and the others. This sense of connection, however, also led me to become increasingly upset and irrated as Mockingjay drew to a close. Let me explain...

First of all, one of the biggest things that frustrated me about Mockingjay was that it almost seemed to be two books shoved into one. There were so many moments throughout the course of reading that I hoped Suzanne Collins would give more focus to, or spend some time expanding. For instance, the first part dealing with the rescue of Peeta could have easily been one novel, while the second part revolving around the mission to overtake the Capitol could have been another book on its own. Perhaps this is my own wishful thinking in order to prolong my enjoyment of the overall series. I was really happy to discover, however, that the filmmakers currently working on The Hunger Games share my vision, and plan to seperate Mockingjay into two films. I think this will really allow the plot to flow better, and allow the finer details to be a little more developped.

This feeling of a rushed plot was especially noticable to me when dealing with the relationship between Katniss and Peeta. Throughout the first two novels Suzanne Collins intricately created a growing bond between these two characters, only to have it fall to the wayside in Mockingjay. While I understand that part of this is due to Peeta's madness, I suppose I expected Katniss to be a little more understanding to the situation after having survived two hunger games with him. Although the final line of the novel was adorable and well placed, the only build up to their final proclamation of love was a small paragraph stating that "Peeta and I grow back together." This little blurb after an entire novel where they hardly talked to each other was not enough to convince me that Katniss genuinly fell in love with him. Perhaps this is Ms. Collins attempt to be more realistic with love, but I felt that Katniss settled for Peeta rather than fell head over heels. I guess I'm a hopeless romantic....

There were more points to my rant that I wanted to add, but after sitting at the computor for ten minutes I  am drawing a blank. I guess the only other thing I can say is that despite my disappointment and frustration Mockingjay was still a pretty amazing read. After I finished reading it I stayed awake for two nights in a row mulling over everything that happened, and that is usually a sign that a book has made a lasting impression. While I think that Suzanne Collins could have executed the story a little bit better, Mockingjay is as creative and ingenious as the other novels in The Hunger Games series.

What did you guys think of the novel? Am I crazy?

13 comments:

Beth S. said...

I didn't like Mockingjay either and a lot of my students who read and loved the first two didn't like it either.

Jenny said...

You're not crazy. A lot of people felt let down by this one. I was furious with what Collins did with Finnick and I always liked Gale better so the whole Peeta thing would have sucked any way she did it.

Lisa @ Read.Breathe.Relax. said...

I agree with so much of what you said. Mockingjay was both very satisfying, in that it was the end of this amazing series, but dissatisfying due to the romance parts. (I'm also a hopeless romantic :D )

I really wonder how these books will be translated to the screen. I'm excited to find out, though!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Lan said...

I am in total agreement with you about Mockingjay except multiply it by 100. While I still loved the book, I just felt like it did none of the characters any justice. While I understand that horrors of war, I can't help but feel that it's very preachy. Am so glad there are others who feel the same!

Yaseena@Sweetunrest said...

I don't think it's just you. Most people I've spoken to who have read the last book haven't been impressed with it. I have it on my shelf waiting to be picked up but part of me doesn't want to be disappointed by the ending of what is a very clever series. Oh well, at some point curiosity will get the better of me. Sorry you didn't enjoy it more!

TG said...

Yes, it's definitely not just you. Take a look at the Forever YA site for a good piece on dissatisfaction with Mockingjay. I'm with you - I still love the story, but I don't like some of the choices in the final book. I think Peeta being crazy was just a device to keep he and Katniss apart until the end. I think too many people died and made it all just too depressing and hopeless. And I hate that it's suggested that Gale and Katniss don't even speak! I like bittersweet endings, but I think Mockingjay had too much bitter, personally.

Ikhlas said...

No, you're definitely not crazy! I felt the exact same way, and as I talk to more people who have recently finished the series, they feel the same way.

I also agree that it felt like Katniss settled with Peeta and that it wasn't true love. I was Team Peeta all the way, and for him to be sort of settled on in the ending felt like an insult to his character and to his strength.

I don't know about the book being 2 books in one, but I did think the ending was off. After she kills Coin, it just sort felt strange after that. I kept waiting for something big to happen, to pull all the threads together and found myself wanting more.

I also don't like the idea of splitting the last book into 2 parts; I wasn't a big fan of it with HP, and I think the last twilight is doing the same (forgive me twilight-ers if I'm wrong!). But of course, money is involved so they can do with it what they will. I won't make any judgements until I've seen the film though.

And I love the series too! The first two were so amazing, I was SO pumped for the third and felt a bitter taste in my mouth when I finished. After all the promises of hope and a better life, I felt like it left us hanging.

But still an amazing series overall.
Thanks for your review!! :)

Natalie said...

Yay I'm so glad I'm not crazy! :D And thanks for the link TG!

Anonymous said...

I guess I am a little behind... lol but I finished all three books in three days!!!!! I just finished the third last night and like you I have been running it over and over in my head! I agree she soooo should have shown HOW they grew back together so we could feel that they each have something to live for. In the last chapter, I really felt like Collins was just ready to put that ending period down. I know that Katniss didn't just settle for him but after the way she didn't go into to any detail it is hard to be connected with them again and the ending seems so despairing, like there will never be any joy in her life, or in the whole world for eternity for that matter!!!!! I most definetly am frustrated because even though this book is clearly a warning to humanity, it is still hugely a love story. The love story for me was not complete, and neither were Katniss' thoughts on being THE MOCKINGJAY! Does she ever get that EVERYONE in her life didn't do everything to save only her, but that they too were all fighting a much larger battle. A battle of freedom. And that they knew her importance so they kept her alive, like I said not out of only love but also for the human race. If she would have thought that in the end, that they sacrificed their lives for a cause, not only for her maybe all the horror and guilt she feels for all of it being her fault would ease up a bit and there would at least be a twinge of hope at the end. Peeta deserves more than just a "real" from her to declare her love for him. I don't know, this book left me with so much sadness and despair in my heart. I have had to keep going in my won head to lengthen out their "growing back together" so I don't feel so sad for Peeta and that Katniss actually gives herself a break that they have a hope for a bright future, for them and their children.
It was a great series but like the rest of you I feel like she should have expanded on their love.

Sam Kasbrick said...

I completely agree with you. The ending felt very rushed to me, like Collins was merely trying to make a deadline or something. I did get the feeling that Katniss just settled with Peeta, because Gale wasn't around. Also, why is Gale no longer in Kaniss' life? I find that strange, considering how they used to be such good friends.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite disappointed with Mockingjay, I haven't read it all yet, i'm about half-way through. I do not know whats to come, but i am beginning to lose enthusiasm in the book because of the lack of romance so far. I think by far the book would have been better if Collins hadn't added the tracker-jacker hijack thing with Peeta's mind. The book would have been better.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more although this book was amazing it wasn't at the standard that the other books set. I'm a guy so I'm saying there just wasn't enough action and the sense of survival and adventure wasn't there and that's what I loved about the first two books and also the ending despite being all romantic felt depressing since the whole team split up the reason this series ever started died

Anonymous said...

I completely and entirely agree with you ! I was disappointed with Mockingjay as well for the same reasons ! She rushed it way too much, and it is more noticable towards the end with the romance between Peeta and Katniss, which is something I have been waiting for to blossom since I finished the first book, so clearly that part was the most frustrating for me ! I also didn't like what she did with Finnick ! Let me tell, you, I literally threw the book when that happened and just sat there trying to process it in my mind for HOURS ! I couldn't sleep either, really ! I didn't open the book for the next two days before I finally mustered my courage and carried on reading it. I mean, Finnick didn't deserve to die. After finally getting Annie back, and being happy again, she had to kill him,right ?! And in a most horrifying way, also ! I don't know if all felt the same, or if it is just because I grew really fond of that character in particular, but that was quite the shock for me ! Another thing that disappointed me was that everything seemed to die at the end and it just felt depressing ! I have never felt so unhappy with an end and I've read about a million books, I'm not even joking. I mean, Gale was away, and her mom as well, and Prim was DEAD ?! Really ! You can't imagine how much I cried when Buttercup was left all alone ! :/ The book was good but I didn't like it as much as the other two ! I guess I am going to relive myself by reading me some good ol' fanfiction !
Mea J.

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