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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)

Mockingjay - Collins Suzanne


I liked The Hunger Games for what it was: not great literature, but an entertaining read. Catching Fire was better executed, in my opinion, but still largely for entertainment value. It only made sense that Mockingjay, the final book in the series, would be entertaining as well. I'm not sure what it was trying to be, but it failed in the arena of entertainment. It failed the series as a whole; it just kind of sucked the life right out of it.

And I'll say it right now, a large part of what ruined this book (and made a trainwreck of the series) was the ending. No, I'm not upset because so-and-so died or because the girl didn't end up with the guy I was rooting for, I'm annoyed that it lacked any kind of entertainment. Normally, I don't care about such things, give me a character staring off into the distance considering life for the last ten pages, I'm happy with that, but we're talking about a series deliberately written for entertainment. Give the readers something thrilling. Instead, what we got, was a fourth book crammed into the last one hundred pages and the story told in these pages was not only anti-climatic, but completely nonsensical. The actions the characters take follow no logic whatsoever, it's merely a case of the author needing to finish up the book quickly.

Hands down, I expected fireworks shooting out of my butt for a series such as this. Instead, what I got was a broken occupied sign on a portable toilet. Disappointing. And what makes it worse is that one hundred pages from the ending, I had it figured out. I knew how Collins was going to end it and it was brilliant. Brilliant. A somewhat predictable Rod Serling-esque of an ending, but what I expected from this series. I thought that

following the ending of Catching Fire Katniss was actually kidnapped by the Capitol and was being subjected to the tracker jacker venom instead of Peeta, that none of this nonsensical over-the-top war was happening, that the book would end with Peeta and co. playing the “real”/ “not real” game with Katniss

(show spoiler)

. I was looking forward to that. Then, somewhere in the last ten page, I had another ending that was even more shocking. I had one of those OMG moments reserved for special books like McEwan's Atonement. That was when

Katniss started going on and on about Prim being dead. It dawned on me that Prim had been dead a long time, that in the first book Katniss never volunteered and that Prim was executed in the seventy-fourth Hunger Games and that everything that had happened since had been in the mind of Katniss who was trying to come to grips with the whole thing. It explained why she suddenly had a psychologist who hadn't made any appearances until the last fifty pages of the book

(show spoiler)

. Of course such an ending would've been disappointing and confusing for many of the series' less creative readers, but it would've sparked conversation and it would've been immensely better than ending it with this mush. It just sort of falls apart.

It's impossible not to read Mockingjay if you've been pulled in by the other books. But I think for me it would be better not to have read it. In the final one hundred pages of this final book, the whole series went from a guilty pleasure to a waste of my time. I sort of wish I'd have just watched the movies. And hopefully, by the time the filmmakers get around to Mockingjay they'll figure out some way to get this train wreck back on track without anyone losing face