Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 1/5 stars

“Mockingjay” is book three of the grossly overhyped “Hunger Games” trilogy.  One last time, we join Katniss Everdeen and her thoughts as they both wander mostly aimlessly through the world of Panem as a revolution is fought around them.

“Mockingjay” is a testament to the severe limitations of a first-person present tense narrative.  You are stuck in the head of one person who, for much of the book, just has things happen to her and around her instead of her actions leading the narrative.  Throughout the book, Katniss devolves into something almost less than human as she deals with the PTSD from the Games and heaps blame on herself for the deaths of the thousands who are losing their lives in the revolution against the Capitol.  The book is, just like Katniss Everdeen’s sanity, purely superficial.  It is not exciting.  It is not insightful.  It does not delve deep into any of hundreds of interesting topics or moral questions brought up in its pages.

Looking back, I recognize that even the first book had these limitations.  Why the much better review for that one than the next two?  Simply because there was a world building aspect to it that the second book almost stopped doing and the third book completely stopped doing.  Without the thoughts and ideas of a brand new world, there’s not much there.

What’s most galling about the third book and what earns it the one star in my estimation is the absolutely ludicrous series of decisions that are made by people who should know basic rules of combat and the downright silly series of traps that make up the defenses of the Capitol.  The latter is by far the worst offender.  If you had your choice between a series of certainly deadly but much less deadly than the deadliest trap or the deadliest trap which can really only be avoided by pure luck, which would you spread around the city for your defenses?  If you didn’t choose the latter, you are either a moron or developing a video game.

Even the big twist surprise at the end of the book is a snore.  Without spoiling anything, Katniss does something pretty stupid and shocking.  She then sits in a room alone for months.  Exciting.  Although, you really shouldn’t be surprised at the letdown by that point.  Variations on that theme happen a few times to Katniss.

Quite disappointing to say the least.  My suggestion is to pretend that Katniss and Peeta eat the berries at the end of the first book.  That way you can skip the next two books.  Dammit, I’m still going to see the final “Mockingjay Part 2” movie.

Oh, and a special message to Katniss Everdeen and fans of Cinna everywhere.  You do realize that he was as much of an evil person as everyone else who Katniss is pissed at for manipulating her.  In fact, Cinna is the worst of the bunch.  He was obviously in on the plot to make Katniss a rallying point.  He is solely responsible for sculpting Katniss’ image into the girl the world wanted instead of the girl she actually was.  He also designed her battle armor.  But Cinna’s the one looking out for Katniss while Haymitch, Plutarch, and Coin deserve nothing but scorn?  Please.