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August 28, 2012

The End? Mockingjay

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
audiobook, Narrator Carolyn McCormick
Published August 2010 by Scholastic Audio
ISBN13: 9780545101424
Listened: August 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

If you haven't read Mockingjay and do not want to run the risk of spoilers, you probably shouldn't read this review. I will try not to be too spoilorish, but I don't think I can adequately communicate my views without revealing some of the plot.

Several people told me they were disappointed with Mockingjay and I tried really hard not to let that influence me while listening to it. But I do have to say on some level I, too, am disappointed. I don't feel like I got the resolution that I had hoped for. I was left with too many questions at the end and feeling like there should be another book to come.

I did enjoy the story, but felt that it was more about a young woman's decent into insanity rather than the fight to make things better. Maybe I read too much into the story or hoped too much that the series would leave the reader impowered to seek change in their own life or fight the injustice and oppression they see. I greatly believe that our generation no longer is capable of a revolution (either in American Revolution sense or Civil Rights Movement sense). So maybe I was hoping that this series would spark something in the next generation.

While not going in the direction I wanted/expected, I still gave Mockingjay high marks. Katniss's reaction and resulting break with sanity was totally understandable and probably more realistic than how some stories would make it out to be.  I think Katniss could have still had this realistic reaction to being forced into a lead role of a very violent war, but left the reader with a sense of empowerment. There is a reason why a person starts as a private. It is not expected that a 17/18 year old will have the ability to be a general, but in essence that is what Katniss is called to. 

I wonder if the disappointment I feel (and others) is because the story didn't turn out the way we thought it should. Readers of stories like what The Hunger Games and Catching Fire seemed to be want a positive outcome. We want to know that the sacrifices beloved characters made were worth it. But in the end we don't know if it was. What Katniss set out to do in The Hunger Games, she failed to do in Mockingjay. And because it is a first person narrative, we don't know much about what happens to everyone else as our narrator becomes focused on herself. It will be interesting to see if the movie will be able to satisfy our need to know what happened.

Or perhaps, if we can change our perspective on what we think the point of the story was we wouldn't be as disappointed. A friend suggested that the point Suzanne Collins was trying to make was how senseless and futile the fight is or that we really have no control in how the world runs. If that is the case then it will be a huge pill for readers to swallow given we are taught that fighting the good fight is always the right thing to do.

I think I need to re-read the series and it just so happened to have bought the series last week.  I've already watched the movie twice since it arrived in the mail on Saturday. So even though I'm still undecided on Mockingjay, I enjoyed the series as a whole.

Your turn: What do you think the point of the series was? How did you feel when you finished Mockingjay
Update: There is a great discussion going on at Reddit if you want to check it out 
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  1. When I finished Mockingjay, I was definitely disappointed especially with the ending. I don't know why but I just got the feeling that the last two chapters were just thrown togther to finish the story. Maybe that's because Katniss was kind of "broken" by the whole experience but I wasn't too impressed.

    1. Do think some of it is because we are limited by the first person narration, but I almost rather not have had the epilogue at all. It definitely felt like an after thought and thrown together.

  2. This is my daughter's take who read the series (11) - personally it's okay to have unhappy endings as long as it's not too predictable. I thought the series was really good. I thought the ending the fit the series.

  3. I was so angry at the end of Mockingjay. I didn't like the epilogue. Now, I didn't want there to be another book either - i think it ended in a good place series wise, but I felt cheated with the way Mockingjay ended. The Hunger Games will always be my favorite of the series, though I felt the whole range of emotions with all the books... I can't say that I wouldn't recommend the series in its entirety though, because it did get me talking and i had visceral reactions, even if they were negative. I'd have been angry over a waste of time had the books bored me. Really enjoyed the series. really wish it ended differently, to sum things up.

    the blip you posted on goodreads, about her decent into madness? I think that about sums it up for me.

  4. I too was disappointed the way Mockinjay ended. Most of us like to think the good fight was worth it and I didn't come away with that thought, at least not for the long haul. Sure, Katniss saw to that there wouldn't be any more "hunger games" by killing Coin, but I would have liked a more reasonable and caring Capital environment at the end of the series. So much happened to Katniss in this series. No wonder she tried to escape reality by sinking into the depths of the pain killer drugs. I did like that she and Peeta after a long recovery time, were trying to live a "normal" life in the aftermath, but I think there was another shoe about to fall. As I thought ahead there was a lot left undone. There seems to always be someone lurking about that wants to dominate and force others to abide by their secret agenda - if there is another book, look for that to happen.