2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars
Pace Issues Prevent Mockingjay from Truly Soaring, Nov. 28 2011
The Hunger Games trilogy has been one of my favorite series to come out in recent years. The first book was so original, with this amazing premise, fantastic action, and legitimately heart pounding moments, that book had it all. Catching Fire, the second in the trilogy, was not quite as amazing as the first, but that is only because it lacked the sheer uniqueness and originality of the first. The action was fantastic, and the way the Quarter Quell was set up like a clock was absolutely genius. The cliffhanger ending left me wanting more, and I was eagerly awaiting, like so many others, to see how Collins would wrap it up in Mockingjay.
Well, I was disappointed. There are a number of reasons why I was disappointed, but I am going to start off with the positives. First, this novel once again had a fantastic story. Several new characters are introduced who are truly interesting, and so many layers are added which provide social commentary that the messages are almost staggering for what is considered to be a series aimed at young adults. The action was also spectacular as usual, albeit in a much different way. The war scenes felt brutal and real, which was necessary for the novel to convey this message. I also enjoyed the way Collins first introduced us to this new setting, as it was so much different than any of the previous novels. Outside of the confines of the actual Hunger Games, the world is even more brutal, which was honestly shocking and unsettling.
However, all of these things only go so far. The biggest issues with this book are pacing issues. The novel moves at almost a snail's pace in the beginning. However, by the end of the book, so much is happening on seemingly every page that each revelation is not given the necessary time to breathe, and in particular the deaths are never fully felt as the proper time is not allocated to grieve the loss of such important characters. Another issue was with the characterization of Katniss and a few others. I thought Collins in many ways betrayed the Katniss I had grown to love over the course of the novel. While I understood her reasons for having Katniss act in a more servile manner, I still felt that her actions were mostly boring and not fun to read about. Also, once the Katniss we had known did finally come through towards the end of the novel, the pacing did not allow the reader to revel in the return of the beloved character.
Also, while the scenes were brutal and realistic and definitely powerful, they were unfortunately not very fun to read. I understand that it is not always about fun when reading a novel, and sometimes it's good to get depressed and feel something powerful, however with the way this brutality is presented here, it's almost matter of fact, taking away anything interesting about the brutality, leaving only the thought that anyone in power is terrible and that the world is ravaged by war and blah blah blah.
Overall, while I enjoyed the book, it was just such a letdown from the original first two novels to see a novel that was so, standard. The warfare was so much less interesting than the Hunger games that I would almost have enjoyed the book more if Katniss had somehow magically found herself in an actual third hunger games. WHile it would have made no sense, at least it would have been unique.