Book Review: Mockingjay

Title: Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

The final volume in the Hunger Games trilogy left me feeling empty inside, especially after the dark, emotional roller-coaster of the first. I would say I feel disappointed, because on some level that’s true, but to be honest the book didn’t surprise me much after the direction things took in Catching Fire.

War sucks. There is nothing at all pretty about war. No one wins, lots of innocent people die, and the line between good guy and bad guy is a mile-wide gray blur. This is all true, and it is the message at the heart of Mockingjay.

The first book in the series, The Hunger Games, drew me in with the sheer psychological horror of the situation and with the star-crossed lovers. I was never that interested in the world, which is a little far-fetched, only the people whose lives were directly effected by it.

In both the second and third books, I lost that personal connection. Katniss became a pawn, not acting of her own free will in the second book, and though she did make a few key decisions in the final volume, I still never felt as if I understood her motivations nor truly understood her. Much of what she did was purely situational, and what choices she did makeĀ  left me wanting more.

But none of that left me with that empty feeling I described, nor truly disappointed me, since the story I loved ended succinctly in book one while another story, one I never felt as strongly about, began in the second. What left me feeling empty inside was the resolution of the one thing that did begin in book one — the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta, and Gale. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that the conclusion and the journey to it lacked a depth of feeling and character on all of their parts. I just plain didn’t get it. I was kept at too much of an emotional distance from the narrator, Katniss, and so never felt convincingly that she loved either one of them.

I’m not going to give this book an overall rating. I’m tempted to give it two stars because of my interest in the love story and my lack of satisfaction along that path, but that’s probably not fair. There was a lot more to the story than that, although in all aspects of the story I wanted more of Katniss than she freely gave.

So in lieu of a rating, I will leave you with this: If you have begun the Hunger Games trilogy, and I recommend that you do, especially for the unparallelled story in the original volume, then finish it. It won’t leave you feeling good inside, though perhaps it won’t leave you feeling as empty as it left me, but you won’t regret the experience.

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