Last week I told you that I was reading the final book of The Hunger Games Series, Mockingjay. Pam commented that the third book got mixed reviews. I was intrigued, but didn't want to look up those reviews because I didn't want it to influence my opinion.
Having finished the book (literally reading just over half of it on one Sunday morning), I have to say that I have mixed reviews of my own. Please be warned that if you are one of the few deprived people that have yet to read the series, there are spoilers in the rest of this review.
First, I would like to say that the first book, The Hunger Games, was by far my favorite! I loved Katniss's character because she was strong, independent, and rough around the edges. She continued to be engaging and strong in Catching Fire, which was such a riveting sequel. I am not going to break down each book for you, but I must say that Mockingjay didn't quite live up to my expectations. Really though, with how much I fell in love with the first two books, I don't know that there was anything Suzanne Collins could have done to live up to my unreachably high expectations.
See, I felt that as the story progressed in the sequels, the strong Katniss that I loved became somewhat of a bystander through a lot of Mockingjay, even part of Catching Fire, and missed pretty much all of the major events; being broken out of the arena during the Quarter Quell, the rescuing of Peeta, the ending of the civil war that she helped start and was the voice of. I wanted Katniss to be an active part of the story, but she either was passed out or just waiting around.
I should probably take the time to mention, though, that I was so engrossed in the final book that I felt like I had rushed through it and had I taken my time, I likely would have cried a lot during the third part of the last book. Taking my time could also change the way I feel about the book overall. But I was just so anxious to find out how this saga ended: Do the rebels prevail? If so, does a new kind of Capitol emerge (because really, although District 13 doesn't have the Hunger Games, they are still oppressing their people)? Does Katniss choose Peeta or Gale? More importantly, do all the main characters even live?
Hence, came my biggest problem with Mockingjay: The death of Prim. Of all the characters that I felt Suzanne Collins could have killed off, Prim was not one of them. Katniss's entire reason for living was to protect her little sister. It was the reason that she was in The Hunger Games to begin with. With the death of Prim, Katniss failed at her mission and, for me, it marked the end of the Katniss that I had come to know and love. It wasn't bittersweet, it was just bitter.
Having said all that, though, I have to say that the very end of the book, specifically the last couple of paragraphs and the epilogue, couldn't have been written any better. In fact, I read those last few pages several times after I had finished the book! It was just that good. The character development of Katniss as a woman was perfect; her deep seated fears were still there, but through Peeta, she was able to have that little bit of hope for the future that anyone would need in order to continue on with their life after such a traumatic event. My bitter ending became bittersweet.
I can't express enough how much I enjoyed this series and I am very sad to have finished it! I had recommended the books to my boyfriend, John, and he got the audio version, which I am now listening to so I can relive Suzanne Collins's wonderful story and characters. Hopefully this will keep me occupied enough until the movie comes out!
I can honestly say that the next time I am asked what my favorite book is, it will undoubtedly be The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.