"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe" ~ Neil Gaiman (A Game of You)


Missed Opportunities

Ah, Mockingjay, wonderful, anticipated Mockingjay.  Our dear Ms. Suzanne Collins had set our expectations SO HIGH with her previous works, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.  Would it even be possible to meet such expectations?

No, of course not.  What I noticed -- and loved -- about Ms. Collins in the previous two books is that she is an excellent, but flawed, writer.  I found Mockingjay to be just as marvelous as the first two books, but I feel in some parts she missed the boat.

Ms. Collins recognized that the greatest appeal from the first book was all the action inside the arena.  She deftly brought Kat back into the arena in her second book, through the introduction of the Quarterly Quell.  Definitely on the right track, she brought Kat back to the "arena" again during the attack on the capitol.

And yet, I can't help but feel that Ms. Collins failed to understand just what readers found so engrossing in the arena.  It wasn't the traps, the creations that intrigued us so much.  Sure, they were imaginative and interesting, and we tolerated them as such.  But the real magic happened between people, allies and enemies alike.  We loved to see our self-proclaimed heartless heroine bond with Rue, fall in love with Peeta, and match wits against Cato.  In the third book, we see many more traps, but far less teamwork and bonding between Kat and her comrades.  And the enemy they are fighting is completely faceless.  Kat's survival in this book seems based much more on luck than on skill, ingenuity, or instinct.

Still, I think that Kat resonated as the Mockingjay, and I think her last act of assassination showed her to be a true champion of the people, and President Snow's death was a fitting demise for him.

I personally found the ending (the very end, not The Big Twist) to be very satisfying.  It wrapped things up and gave me a sense of closure, if you will.  I think Ms. Collins does an excellent job of foreshadowing who Kat chooses in the end.  For those who feel like Kat was "just settling," I think you may have missed the hints.

I think Mockingjay is the weakest in the series, but I still recommend it as a must if you have read and loved the other two books in the trilogy.


Anonymous said...

I'm still reeling from the book, although I must say I wasn't nearly as disappointed as I'm hearing from others. I felt a twinge of longing in the end that I finally placed as regret. True regret for everything that had happened to her. Not quite as happy as I would have liked, but you know what? I expected that. When Collins had us face Kat's decision between two boys and being the mockingjay or not, we knew it would tear us apart. I felt different emotions in this book, but they weren't all bad. I liked how she came to a realization of who she was and what she needed in life. That's a great coming of age. :)

Monique said...

I liked your insight. I hadn't thought of it like that, but your right. I missed the connections she made with people. I think the ending was fitting but it left me empty. She seemed to be a broken woman. I had held out that Ms. Collins would have sat her in a position holding greater hope for her and her families future. I agree not the best of the three but worth the read, because really if you hadn't read the series could you have stopped at book 2?

Susan G. Haws said...

I have to respectfully disagree. Ms. Collins went for realism rather than "happily ever after." Yet she ends with hope and peace both for Katniss and the nation. She kept me on the edge of my seat throughout all three books. She forshadowed well. I cheered for her love of Peeta. I was disappointed by the choices Gale made. I was saddened that Gale never understood his friend and thought her only out for her own survival. Yes she tried to survive. She did what she had to do; but all the deaths she caused and the ones she couldn't prevent haunted her. She picked allies by who they were not what they could do for her. She recognized than even her enemies were victims. She was manipulated on all sides and yet she managed to find the truth and find a way to act on it. (Not just at the end but repeatedly) Thus the desired freedom and elected leadership came into existance because of her. Even though her repeated trials were enough to damage her, it did not keep her from sorting through her relationships and finding the love that had been destined, the peace with her mother and the ability to build a future for her family. It was a celebration of the triumph of good over evil in all its guises and the resilance of the human spirit.
(The things I disliked I think about and then realize the author made the right chioice for the book. For example: I would have liked a good court scene. But she could not put one in and be true to her book.)
It was a well crafted book in an outstanding series.

Shelli said...

Carrie -- Yes, I, too, was OK with the ending not being "happily ever after." That kind always bores me, and I feel cheated. Of course, someone who has been through what Kat has will not get your typical "happily ever after." And yet, like Susan mentions, the ending does have her finding peace.

Monique -- I still think it's a great book, but flawed, like I said, and simply not up to the expectations. But, yes, it's definitely a must if you've read the first two books! And I wonder, if you didn't like the ending, if you were Team Gale or Team Peeta. That might color your view a little.

Susan -- I think we agree a lot more than we disagree. I just felt like the capitol scenes were a little hollow, lacking the vibrancy and resonance of her two earlier books.

One of the things I loved about the book was how Kat was a very subtle unreliable narrator. She was always telling us she didn't know how she felt about her relationships, and yet by her actions, you could see where her heart lies. We had a truer sense of who she was than she did herself. I think that is why the books, right up through the ending, were so satisfying -- because her actions always stayed true.

Susan G. Haws said...

I totally agree about the capitol scenes and I thought uh oh we are going back to the areana again. Yet I could see a place like that would use those things for defense. I really like what you say about how Kat didn't know what she felt yet we knew due to actions. Enjoyed your post. Just because I disagreed with some things didn't mean I didn't enjoy your blog. I enjoy the discussion.

Shelli said...

Susan, I love book discussions! All the more fun when people disagree and offer new insight. Thanks for coming by and participating!