Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
A weak, weak sequel and finish to Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Mockingjay is overfull on action, with no suspense or pacing and a disengaging lack of character development. The sad thing is that there are tons of good ideas here that would have fit perfectly into the ongoing story, but they are so rushed – and there’s just so many of them! – that it’s like reading a writer’s idea notebook instead of a finished manuscript. It all comes off as a rush job. Consistent speed has been a problem for Collins, with the blur of Hunger Games and the slow start of Catching Fire, and now Mockingjay is screaming down the tracks and is a trainwreck by the end.
I’m okay with having huge, life-changing, nation-defining action going on in a story. You can have protagonists do things that are completely out of character. You can even kill characters. But you can’t just throw all that in with short summaries here and there stating that crazy things have happened but there’s no time for reflection because we’re moving on to more crazy things. It’s sloppy, lazy and disrespectful to reduce the deaths of beloved characters to a single line and to have important events that affect the protagonist’s entire future happen entirely off screen.
And don’t even get me started on how the entire reason for everything Katniss has done in the entire series is taken away at the end when Prim “goes up like a human torch”.
Mockingjay is so bad partly because the first two volumes in the trilogy were so good. I feel like Collins could have done much better, but for some reason the readers weren’t worth it.
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the personal cost.