So we’ve finally come to the last installment of The Hunger Games Series. Straight off, I was disappointed. The story was not compelling in its entirety, nor was Katniss very likable, coherent, or believable in this last book. There are scenes within the book that I thought lived up to the promise of the original idea, but I found Collins using some pretty cheap literary devises to move time along quickly. I think a more clever writer would have found more creative ways to express the same events.
Mockingjay resumes where Catching Fire ended with Katniss being ‘rescued’ from the 75th Hunger Games. Unfortunately Peeta was not similarly rescued and the first portion of the book Katniss is in the midst of a drug induced stupor/nervous breakdown. This incoherent Katniss is not compelling. Oh, I know people will say, ‘but she has been through a lot, this is a natural reaction, blah blah blah blah blah!’ Sure, fine, but it doesn’t make for an interesting read. Katniss realizes that she has been a pawn (and will continue to be) for all her old pals including Haymitch and Cinna. District 13 has made an unpleasant reappearance and everyone expects Katniss to be the symbol of a floundering revolution.
Happily for 14 year old girls everywhere, Gale is there to distract with his brooding good looks. Though confused about things, Katniss plans to do whatever she can to free Peeta who seems to be a pawn of the capitol. As the revolution unfolds and the world breaks down around her, Katniss tries to retain her sense of self which has been hugely compromised by all this masquerading as the Mockingjay.
As a whole, the novel didn’t work for me. I think Peeta’s character always makes Katniss seem more human, and he was missing for a large portion of the novel. Again, at the end Collins uses the whole nervous breakdown technique to show a passage of time and events without really having to work to write anything but a series of incoherent scenes. This is a disservice to the reader. Once, okay, I’ll forgive it, but twice… no. I also found a disconnect between all the characters from the first book. They make choices in the third book that were not properly developed throughout the series. For example, Katniss’ mother, in book one was an emotional basket case that let her 16 year old daughter support the family. In book three she is shuffling around the districts nursing the wounded and taking care of business. Unfortunately, Mockingjay made me like the entire series less.