Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

The final book of the series.  Reading through this series again, particularly at a time which coincides with the pandemonium the movie is creating, has been truly enjoyable.  That said, I'll put it right out there: the finale of this great series is always sort of a let down to me.
Collins' created something wonderful in The Hunger Games.  She created not only a world that is beyond many of our imaginations, but she also wove a story that is as tragic as it is inspiring.  As I'm mentioned in my posts about the first two books, she gives us complex characters who are struggling with real issues.  Katniss is so far from perfect and that is what I love about her.  (In that vein, check out these thoughts on Katniss vs. Bella Swan as a role model:

Yet, somewhere in the midst of Mockingjay the story becomes hurried and details and skimmed over.  To her credit, Collins does a wonderful job connecting us with Katniss in this final act.  Her writing skill helps me to identify with Katniss and understand the motivations behind her twisted emotional state.  Yet, when it comes to the action, there is a lot of it without much explanation.  Things happen too quickly.  Again, I don't want to spoil anything since so many people are just picking up the books for the first time, but for those who have read it, you know what I'm talking about.  There is one particular event at the end of the book that is shocking and a major game-changer; and yet Collins glides over it so quickly that you could easily miss it if you weren't paying close attention.  The whole book is like that really.  It makes me feel almost as though Collins had a publisher leaning over her shoulder pushing her to finish quickly; or that she had grown tired of dear Katniss and was ready to move on.

And dear Peeta.  Peeta in this book tears me apart.  I hate who he becomes, although Collins does restore him to some version of his original self at the very end.  Peeta is who makes Katniss lovable, and without his love for her, the story gets lost in the incredible violence.  To me, the violence of children dying in the arena in the first book is basically nothing compared with the bloody finale Collins offers us.

All in all, I believe that most people make their way through the third book because they want an ending.  Collins does reward that and gives us what we want...sort of.  Yet, the journey to get there seems to have been thrown together almost haphazardly.  I love the series, but I do wish Collins would have spent more time getting us to her conclusion.  This story could have easily including more books and I think would have played out better that way.  However, it is what it is.  A wonderful story with a rocky conclusion.

Pages: 390
Date Finished: March 29, 2012

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