Warning! Contains spoilers!
Mockingjay is the final installment of The Hunger Games Trilogy. For one last go, we revisit post-apocalyptic Panem where Katniss Everdeen and the rebels are fighting against the tyrannical government. The book has moments of promise, usually when Katniss gets away from her brooding, who does she really love internal monologues. But it also makes me, as a fan of the first book of the trilogy, find it as a less than fulfilling end to the saga.
Look, we all know Katniss loves Peeta by now. Gale is just a distraction for her. But still, this little love triangle consumes so much of the book that it takes away from the final story of the saga. In the end, when Gale essentially gives up on Katniss and never returns to be with her, and Katniss realizes she loves Peeta, the whole thing is so anti-climatic that you wish the author had thrown a curve. But, you also know that if that curve had been thrown you would be just as disappointed had she wound up in Gale’s arms because it was just so wrong on every level.
By now, everyone who has read the trilogy feels for Katniss. She is a strong character who is portrayed well at times. But she becomes very one-dimensional at others. Still, the story is a compelling one and the concepts of human nature, to endure oppression for the most part, ring very true in real life as well as Panem.
The first half of the book has a good pace. It is the second half when everything gets rushed. Things aren’t just bang, bang, bang in the last quarter of it. They are ban-, ba-, b- without a chance for the previous bang to even finish before the next begins crashing over it. The fact that this is a constant thing in the final quarter of the book overwhelms the reader. Katniss seems to be almost too robotic by now, not acting on her own but following the author’s commands to get the whole thing over and done with by the end of the book so that there would not be another volume to the saga. Yes, everything seems very crammed, sorry to say it.
There are still unanswered questions, particularly concerning whether it was the rebels or the President who committed a certain act towards the end, and you know that the author just wanted to end it. This feeling is only compounded in the final few pages. In those pages, the story of Katniss’ and Peeta’s estrangement is reconciled in a few short paragraphs and lines before the Happily Ever After (sort of) epilogue. The ending and epilogue seems designed as a way for the author to say, it’s over, I’m done, yes, perhaps there is more story to tell, but I am not going to tell it. It is almost as if she too had become bored by the tension of Katniss and Peeta’s relationship.
Things became so bad at times during the story that things I had previously overlooked started grating on me. Collins’ inability to satisfactorily describe the technology of this world, for one.
There is a certain level of disbelief that has to be suspended in any story such as this, but I’m a techno-junkie and like a little more depth that I was given. What really was the breaking point for me on this front was the issue of Finnick’s trident. It is described as something that he can throw great distances and then, with the push of a button, summon back to his hand. It almost made me laugh aloud when this was described. The first vision I had was of the trident sprouting legs and sprinting back to him. The second vision I had was the trident sprouting tiny rockets and flying back to him. The third vision I had was of some sort of technology that caused the trident to “transport” (ala Star Trek) back to him. In fact, I spent so much time pondering this loosely described event that I completely lost interest in the story for a couple days before I continued reading.
Look, Mockingjay gets carryover points from The Hunger Games and how good it was. Those points even carry on through the let down that was Catching Fire. But the final story is lacking in the final half of it. That is about as polite as I can say it. What makes the story tolerable is that fans of The Hunger Games, such as myself, really just want to know how the whole thing ends. That is why you read this book.
I give Mockingjay a very disappointing three and quarter stars out of five.