Originally reviewed here
.Why I Read It:
I had gotten through The Hunger Games
and Catching Fire
back-to-back, so I may as well finish off the series, no? Also, a warning: there will be spoilers abound in this review for not only the first two installments in the series, but for this final one as well. There's a lot that I liked in this book, but there was also a lot that pissed me off and I can't properly discuss it without being spoiler-y, so venture on cautiously.Aaahhh Mockingjay, you had a polarizing effect on me. There was so much about you that I liked, but I feel like there was just as much that rubbed me the wrong way. So let's get into it, shall we?
May as well start off with the good. While I've read some reviews that have lamented Katniss's behaviour in this book, I have to say that I was actually impressed with how Collins handled it. These characters, not just Katniss, have been through some gruesome experiences and the fact that they behave like people who are actually suffering from PTSD felt realistic. And while I was frustrated with how Katniss was at times a much more reactionary character than one who took charge, it sort of made sense that she acted the way she did. She never wanted to be the symbol for a rebellion, even when she defied the Capitol during her first run in the Hunger Games.
The whole rebellion isn't painted in black-and-white either. Yes, the Capitol is bad, but the rebellion resorts to method that are at times highly questionable and they aren't the clear GOOD GUYS. To me, they felt me like "the better of two evils" to be completely honest. And I *liked* that, because honestly, just because there's a rebellion and a dictatorship gets overthrown doesn't mean that everything is going to be hunky-dory and made right. And this was made especially apparent at the end of the novel when the Capitol IS overthrown.
This, however, brings me to what I *didn't* like. More specifically, I'm talking about the scene when the rebellion is deciding if they should submit Capitol children to the Hunger Games like the Districts have been and to make ex-Capitol citizens watch. AND KATNISS AGREES TO IT. UM EXCUSE ME??? ARE YOU FRIKKEN KIDDING ME? This actually pissed me off. Yes, Prim had just died and Katniss was clearly upset, but I still could not believe it. Just... no.
Another thing that really pissed me off was how some characters, Finnick and Gale in particular, were just... dismissed. Finnick was easily one of my favourite characters, so when he had that off-screen death during Katniss careless infiltration mission I was not a happy camper. It didn't feel fair to his character, and I get that shit isn't always fair during war, but just... arrggg. And while I was not a fan of Gale in this book, the fact that he just had a "job transfer" and was never again? I think that could have been handled more deftly as well. I definitely don't think that him and Katniss could have fixed their friendship, what with him designing the bombs that probably killed Prim, and then neither of them shooting each other even though they had promised each other they would, their goals and ideals were definitely on completely different wavelengths. But still, he had been such an important part of Katniss's life and he just suddenly disappears?? Meh.
Speaking of Gale, I didn't care for him in this book at all. I don't know if Collins was trying to make him unsympathetic so that she could set up the resolution to the Katniss-Peeta relationship, but either way, he was kind of a dick. I understand his anger towards the Capitol, but he was so ANGRY in a douchy kind of way. Not cool bro. And his whole "well, we'll just do to them what they did to us" attitude rubbed me the wrong way.
Another low-point: while the first two books in the series felt fairly action-packed, this book was pretty dull in comparison in a lot of ways. Like I mentioned above, Katniss is a much more reactionary character and really only acts when she absolutely has to; otherwise she tends to dither. The beginning of the book is a lot of her just avoiding her schedule and wandering around where she shouldn't be. She goes out on the battlefield once or twice and does some cool stuff and that made me happy. But then she'd hole herself back up again. Or, some scenes that I *thought* would be epic ended up being NOTHING AT ALL. Case in point: rescuing Peeta. While it's understandable that the rebellion wouldn't want to bring Katniss on this mission and put her in danger, I totally thought I would get to see him being rescued! But nope. It's glossed over off-page. Another example: when Katniss is put on trial for shooting that person who was supposed to take over when Snow got overthrown... you'd think we'd get to see the trial or something?? I dunno. But nope, that's all done off-page too. It felt like Collins was trying to wrap things up a little too quickly, and while I understand that the page count was already at almost 400 pages, it would have been nice if things hadn't felt so rushed.
I guess I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention my feelings on Primrose's death. There was something about it that felt forced to me, like it was shoved in the narrative as a means to make Katniss REALLY question the rebellion, and it is what ultimately pushes her over the edge. It's also what really cements the irreparable divide between Katniss and Gale. There was still something about it that rang false though... as slightly gratuitous, despite ALSO feeling kind of necessary to Katniss's ultimate decision. As you can see, I'm kind of conflicted about the whole thing, to say the least.
The last point I want to bring up is the epilogue: fans seem to be up in arms about it, but I actually liked it. People were mad that Katniss just gave in when marrying Peeta, contradicting the strong-natured heroine we had been introduced to in the first book. But to me it made sense, because let's face it -- Katniss was BROKEN by the end of the third book. It's sad, but that's what war does to people. Especially to someone who was such an integral part of it and lost so much because of it. It also accentuates again that just because there's a revolution, it doesn't mean everything is going to be all rainbows and sunshine. To me, the epilogue ended the series on a kind of grim note and I thought that was appropriate.Final Verdict:
There were some things that I felt strongly about in this book, but ultimately, it felt like a fitting end to the series for me. While some people were up in arms about the epilogue, I thought it accentuated the themes that this novel was trying to tackle (war irreparably, and sadly, breaks people). I didn't appreciate how some characters were dismissed, and I thought Collins glossed over some scenes that I thought were going to be epic, but other than that, I found myself feeling kind of emotionally gutted after finishing this, which I think is a good thing. Either way, I'm glad I finally read this trilogy, and it was a fun ride while it lasted. :)