on August 30, 2010
Because I've been waiting months for this book, I'd promised myself I'd read it slowly and savour it, becuase after I'm finished there's no more. As it turns out, I read all of Mockingjay the day I received it in the mail. As expected, it was excellent. As dreaded, I didn't like it.
Suzanne seems to be one of those writers whose books get better and better with each installment. I thought Catching Fire was better than The Hunger Games, and Mockingjay is written even better than Catching Fire. After the end...you just have an unquenchable hunger for MORE that will never be satisfied, but that's okay, because it's the mark of a good series.
Despite all that, the problem with Mockingjay, (for me at least) is that it wasn't any fun to read at all.
Sure, it's intense, suspenseful, poignant, and it cuts to the action faster, but I missed Peeta; Katniss's usual spirited and brave demeanor was replaced by a "Who cares?" attitude, and while it might be completely justified, it wasn't any fun on the reader's part; the whole book hangs a downcast, depressing and overly serious tone; I hated the anticlimax.
In lieu of spoilers, I will not mention names, but a certain important character was somewhat randomly dropped off at the end. We weren't given any closure about his relationships with his fellow characters. May or may not leave you feeling cheated.
Another reviewer, on amazon.com I believe, called this book a work of "nihilistic anti-war propaganda;" in other words, Collins is biased into thinking that war is the most disgusting, horrible, and awful thing that ever existed. And while she's entitled to her opinions, especially when they are well-supported, it's untactful to try and force her readers into seeing things her way, instead of giving them the facts and allowing them to form their own opinions.
This seems to be the reason for much of the unnecessary tragic events that happen in this book, and why it's so depressing: the author is putting out propaganda to 'help' us see how very very bad war is, instead of giving us a balanced view of the reasons people go to war, and why it may or may not be the best way to solve a conflict.
Now, the end. We never expected a completely happy ending for a series like this one. We would have enjoyed a bittersweet ending thoroughly. But I think the downer ending was just overdoing it. Did the author purposely twist the ending to a level of heartwrenching sadness? Probably. Was it necessary? Hmmm.
So, the writing was intelligent and unique to its author. The plot was (excepting the anticlimax) tense, winding, and fast-paced, the action neverending. The characters, especially Katniss herself, were depthened even further. Despite that, I didn't like it, I'm sorry.
on May 16, 2015
If you are looking for a lot of action and big battle pieces, then you maybe a little disappointed as the big adventurous battles and gore, doesn't come till the end. And even then the ending feels anti-climactic, as it doesn't have the big show-down that readers maybe expecting.
But if you are looking for a character drama, a young adult novel that unexpectedly delves into the traumatic mind-set of a strong leading character, who really is a 17 year old girl, thrown into situations, which people twice her age barely would be able to handle, let alone someone who is 17, then you will enjoy the final book in this series.
I liked that in an unexpected twist of the YA genre, the author here actually goes into detail the level of physical and mental trauma that Katniss suffers as a result of having to kill and seeing her loved ones getting killed and her life pretty much destroyed. How does she pick up the destroyed pieces and find a way to rebuild a new life? Who does she choose to rebuild her life with, Gale or Peeta? You'll also be asking yourself, what happens to Panem, after President Snow is finished? Does it become a better, more democratic society? Does Katniss play a role in making that happen?
on January 7, 2015
Generally, I don’t watch the movie version of a book until I’ve read it, but The Hunger Games flashed on the screen during a long-haul flight a few years ago and I gave in to the hype and my curiosity. I wanted to flush the movie version out of my system before I read the book. I’ve since learned that “flushing” is not possible, so I read it anyway.
The Hunger Games is dystopian YA set in a post-apocalyptic nation called Panem. During an uprising 75 years previous, 13 districts rebelled against the ruling capitol and the capitol won. The capitol wiped the 13th district off the map and created the Hunger Games as an annual reminder to the remaining districts of their failed uprising and as a disincentive to ever rise up again. Each year the districts must sacrifice a girl and boy Tribute between the ages of 12 to 18 to participate in a fight-to-the-death reality show called the Hunger Games.
This is a dark and disturbing read with a generous helping of physical and emotional wreckage. The world-building is imaginative and tightly woven into the story. The characters are interesting and the plot moves along at a good clip. There were a number of points in the story where I questioned the premise. Perhaps I’m a bit of a cynic, but I found it hard to imagine living under the conditions imposed on the districts or the conditions of the games. Easy to say from my cushy perspective, I suppose, but nonetheless… I’m looking forward to Book II, Catching Fire.
on October 3, 2014
I'm really surprised by all the people in the comments complaining about the way this last book went. I'm not sure what kind of ending they really expected since Katnis has been thrown from one tragedy to another until she is broken. This is war, this is trauma. And i for one really appreciated that honest tone to the book. Yes it was dark, yes it was a painful read, to see the characters you love get smashed to bits inside and out till they have trouble even constructing a sense of identity. The reader must remember this is not a TV show, its not here to -entertain- you. The story is simply that, a story, one of love, and loss, and growth and it's not up to us to really judge what Katnis is. She may be a fictional character, but shes a metaphor for many real life experiences and I think that is beyond any whimsical expectation of entertainment.
Now that I'm done chastising the readers I will comment on the book itself:
I found it riveting, realistic, very sad, and above all, honest.I have PTSD and was shocked to find a book that touched on it's realistic consequences in ones life, and appreciated Katnises pain, in a way that others may not. I felt like her journey is an important one to understand in real life. The ability to piece yourself back together when what you love is lost, and what you wanted becomes more than what you wished for, and not in a good way.
I will speak to some of the other complains in the book. The end did seem rushed, and not much closure to the loss of important characters was given. I dont know if this is just bc its a story about Katnis specifically, or if this is a real flaw in the book. But i will say I did crave a little more in that.
The twists at the end are wonderful and terrifying and live up to the first 2 books
As many know, I don't readily give out 5-star reviews. In this case I'm compelled to do so. Why, when this isn't a literary series of books, but rather genre fiction? Because Suzanne Collins clearly demonstrates mastery of her craft, and by virtue of that talent she deserves high accolades.
If I had to use one word to summarize The Hunger Games trilogy it would be riveting. It isn't often a writer creates plot and characters so real, so compelling, I am haunted by them throughout both waking and dreaming hours.
Although the premise is simple: evil overlord/government reigns through tyranny, oppression and manipulation, it's this latter, Collins weaves so deftly through her story and thereby creates screaming tension and sense of outrage.
The language throughout is simple, conversational, written in first person present tense, not an easy feat, but certainly one done so deftly as a reader this literary device slides by almost unnoticed. And yet it is the use of first person, present tense which enhances the immediacy of the story. Like the children who are forced to participate in the killing-field of the Hunger Games, the reader is held suspended in the now, aware of the horror of the past, and the promise of only more horror to come. And although Collins periodically weaves in a moment of hope, they are so fleeting as to be like sunlight through storm clouds, and because of that poignant.
Simple moments become moments of import, both terrible and glorious. She has a way of setting up her reader, and then not only pulling out the rug, but the floor, collapsing the walls, leaving you wounded in rubble.
If you haven't already found yourself caught up in the hype around The Hunger Games I can assure you the trilogy is well worth the time and emotion you will expend.
I have every confidence this series will be studied in classrooms alongside other SF greats like The Lord of the Flies, 1984, and Brave New World.
I've delayed writing this review for months in the hope that time would soften my disappointment. I really, truly wished to like this series (despite the hype) and reading book 1 it seemed I would get my wish.... Alas, it was not to be....
Book 1: Book one started with a bang. We meet our heroine Katniss - she is simple, honest and ultimately good - she sacrifices herself to save her beloved sister. She is not perfect - her personality can be abrasive and she is a little too honest to play politics and games... at least at first. All-in-all, book 1 flew by, well written and well crafted. We see the characters begin to grow, and we mourn with them when they lose things that are dear to them. Rating: 5/5
Book 2: Essentially a rehash of book 1 in my view. Ultimately, I believe the author couldn't find anything to build on after the success of book 1. Slow, but still worth reading. Rating 4/5
Book 3: Utter disappointment. This book destroyed the entire series for me. The author takes the easy way out. I can't say much without spoiling this for potential readers, but Katniss takes a major step back in terms of character development. "Choices" aren't really made as if the author herself cannot bear to choose. The ending feels rushed as if the author was a high-school student pulling an all nighter to complete an essay in time for class. Events don't all make sense.... and many seem just pointless. I, as the reader, was left wondering what had happened.... and if the book was written by a ghostwriter (because honestly there was nothing of the well crafted book in this. Rating 1/5
on February 3, 2013
I should preface by saying I don’t usually read books like The Hunger Games, and when I saw the series getting whole-shelf treatment in bookstores I sniffed derisively and assumed the volumes represented a trilogy of teen trash. I usually read stuff with “literary merit,” and didn’t think this book fit that category, but I’m now forced to rethink that point of view. I had to read the novel for a course, and sighed when I saw it on the list, but I was surprised to find it was good, especially surprised given I’d seen the movie and wasn’t impressed. The Hunger Games is a very good read; it’s clearly and competently written and has great pace. The peaks and troughs are timed just so, and the story is violent, emotive, and compelling. This book helped make me re-evaluate how I look at literature and made me question what young adult fiction is; isn’t the HG more like science fiction? If an adult thinks it has that thing called literary merit, can it be classified as material for young people? Why was I so ready to dismiss it without giving it a chance? Anyway, a great bit of escapism. Now we’ll see if Catching Fire and Mockingjay are comparable. I’d recommend this book to almost anybody.
Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
I'm not a book reader but I was intrigued by the movie. The style of writing targets a teenage audience and flows well. The movie's perspective is 3rd person narrative. The trilogy, however, reads like a personal diary. We find out what is going on in Katniss's head. The movie tends to shorten or speed up the action, whereas by reading her personal account we can really experience the full 3-4 week duration of the first hunger games contest. Here is a person of unimaginable courage, yet throughout her adventures remains sincere and modest. She is a fiercely independent thinker. She has a conscience. She does not want to take lives gratuitously or indescriminately. But she does not hesitate to kill if she has to. What sets her apart is that she's not politically ambitious. She has no political agenda other than a desire to end tyranny (the totalitarian state) and mitigate the excessive exploitation of class disparity. What fascinated me was how different political groups kept trying to use her as a "symbol" without realising that she actually was as great as the "legend" she was supposed to be portraying. Only in the fullness of time in the history of Panem would people look back and recognise her for who she was and how monumental was her impact on Panem's history. An impact as great as Joan of Arc's but virtually without any religious references whatsoever. For that matter, the entire issue of sexuality was also left out of the picture, which at times became hard to accept for a young woman of 16, 17, 18 years of age. There is always an air of nobility about her, her courage, her sense of self-sacrifice. Of course, the novels drive home the reality of all the mental confusion, anxiety as well as guilt that envelope her thoughts, all of which we only get a glimpe of in the film(s). The ending (Mockinjay) is particularly significant because it does not break with, in any way, how her character has developed throughout her ordeals. And it is an ending befitting to a heroine of the highest order.
On one hand, you could probably read the first 75 pages of "Mockingjay," skip to the final 75 and not feel like you've missed a whole lot in between. On the other hand, Collins' final instalment in "The Hunger Games" trilogy takes readers on such an intense journey that the ending feels satisfying after slogging through the middle.
Collins fills her pages with heavy violence, cruelty, death and sadness but also maintains a sense of honesty. Katniss, Peeta, Gale and even Coin come across as believable characters in the unbelievable hell that Panem becomes. The author embraces the brutality and horror of a post-apocalyptic world and displays the result of a human race at its breaking point
Battered, broken and challenged at every turn, the series' heroine, Katniss, never gives up. But the story's end doesn't come without scars and heartbreak; victory always has consequences. Readers will likely keep "The Hunger Games" in their thoughts long after turning the final page, especially since, at times, Panem doesn't seem all that imaginary.
on September 18, 2012
So, I just finished this book and I have to say it was beyond what I expected. I mean sure there were pages, chapters in which I was skimming because it wasn't all that entertaining. But I liked it because for me, I found it realistic. I found it not some fairy tale happy ending where everyone lives and the end. Katniss is completely screwed up because of the Capitol and she will never be the same. Same goes for Peeta, if not more messed than Katniss. Gale, even though I rooted for him and Katniss, but you can tell which way their relationship will go, because its more realistic. This book isn't meant to have a happy twilight ending.
Despite the fillers and such, the ending chapters when everything is coming to end. I did not want to put the book down. When Suzanne gets into a scene, boy does she get you going with the action, drama, excitement and she gets your blood boiling wanting more and more.
Overall, I was pleased with the way this ended. Because once again, its gives you a realistic twisted ending. If anyone of you were reading this book expecting a Disney ending, we'll that sucks for you guys. Of course Katniss would end up a little crazy after the hell she's been though. Of course Peeta would never be the same. Of Gale and Katniss would never be together because she blames and anyone whose not blind can see see loves Peeta. These characters have been through hell and back, ten times over and I absolutely loved how Suzanne pulled everything together.
Its worth it to purchase the series. Just prepare yourself for the unexpected.