Finally, it's time to talk about Mockingjay; my least favorite of the saga. If you lost my reviews of the previous two books, you can find them here and here. For everyone else, based on the comments I've received, I think many people found Mockingjay to be sad, completely different from the rhythm and narrative of its previous companions, and all together anti-climatic.
The characters evolved into different beings, and though it is a logical evolution and I could believe the transformation was due to the experiences they've had, I didn't like were they ended up.
My favorite character is Peeta, so I was not a fan of the treatment Collins gave to him. After Catching Fire it was clear Katniss was not cut out to be the strong hero I thought, but in Mockingjay it's just deplorable the state to what she is reduced. All the other characters I came to love were diminished to side-kicks or damaged goods and a new set of characters I didn't know and didn't trust became the central figures of the narrative.
The pace goes back to the slow positioning of the characters of book one and the plot turns into a war story, but since the point of view is that of Katniss and she isn't in capacity to actively participate, we miss every important aspect of it. All we can see are a series of shoddy characters trying to manipulate her into doing what they think is best 'for the war' and Katniss as a weak girl who's being pushed one too many times and has decided to let her mind float into oblivion.
Throughout the book we can see the clear hand of Collins inventing excuses so she doesn't have to explain too much about the war, taking characters to unlikely places and turning them into crazy people but then curing them out of the blue when the plot requires them to be able to fight. The mutts (bio-weapons created by The Capitol) are the most bizarre, absurd things I've ever heard about and people is killed unceremoniously, leaving the reader with a sense of incompleteness. The one character that shines is Gale. We've seen glimpses of his character before but in Mockingjay he moves to the logical next step with terrible consequences.
If anything is worth reading about this third book, it is precisely the message that conveys the tale of Gale. Too many times good people let hate or anger drive them and the price to pay can be too high. So I hope at least a few of those trillions of crazy fans screaming outside the movie theaters got the point and will change for the better.
Sadly, that is the only good thing I can say about the book. In the end I was let down by The Hunger Games Saga. When turning the last page I felt angry at Collins for not delivering and baffled at what is it on these books that has crated such a frenzy. I just don't get it. Let me be more clear, I understand wars are not glamorous, but I don't think Collins succeeded in painting a realistic war because she chose to narrate from the point of view of a character that didn't engage in it. I get that in war scenarios people drop like flies without saying proper goodbyes, really, I get it. But books are not simply depicting reality, they beautify or dramatize it in order to make it entertaining or to make a point, otherwise we would be reading a lot more conversations about the weather in books, and we don't. Finally, I believe that crude books or films about how hard life is, about death, hunger, war, and the future of our planet aimed at a young audience will have the strongest effect, but making a fuzz a la Twilight about a story that is ultimately so tragic is nothing short of ironic. It is as if people were screaming their heads off outside theaters because Brando looked so hot in Apocalypse Now. Really?
Anyway, there are many things more that I'd love to discuss with you about the treatment the characters received, about how I can't imagine why anyone would describe Katniss as a strong female role so opposite to Bella from Twilight, but for that I would need to abound on the details of the book and I promised this would be a spoiler free review. So come by next week with all you have and we can talk about what you loved and hated in the story, about the characters trades and their evolution, and about every little detail we have been holding to. I bet it will be interesting. In the mean time, read!