Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tahleen reviews: "Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic, 2010
Where I got it: I borrowed a loaner nook from work (we can do that—more perks to being a bookseller) and I downloaded it onto there. So, e-book.

Rating: ★★★

If you've never heard of this series, and haven't heard anything about the anticipation for this book, you don't pay attention to the book industry. This has been one of the most eagerly awaited books of the year, probably right behind Steig Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Long story short, everyone who keeps up with YA has read, is reading, or is planning to read this last book in Suzanne Collins' bestselling series.

I promise I will not give out any spoilers without making it completely obvious beforehand, but I do think you might be wondering why I am only giving it three stars.

But first: plot summary. By the way, **POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FIRST TWO BOOKS IN SERIES**. Katniss Everdeen, after being taken out of the custody of the Capitol, is taken to District 13, long believed to be obliterated. What she finds is a strictly organized society and rebel movement. Now the face of the cause, Katniss is the one crucial element the rebels and rebel leaders need for their plan in a Capitol takedown. Katniss needs to figure out where she stands, on all counts.

**END OF SPOILERS**

I think part of the reason I didn't particularly care for this one was the buildup and the hype surrounding the entire series. Yes, it is provocative and addictive, violent and slightly philosophical, but I was never really wowed by anything. There was way too much explanation in the beginning; all exposition, barely any showing as opposed to telling. It fell a little flat for my tastes, and despite the constant action I rarely felt energized. I wasn't attached to any of the new characters introduced, and I slowly stopped caring about a lot of the old characters too, which is never good.

I also thought it got way too preachy at the end. There was absolutely no subtlety; everything was spelled out in black and white, kind of like this comic by Kate Beaton. We understand, it's bad to kill children. You don't need to tell us fifty times in a few different ways.

As for the ending, well, I won't say much, but it's lackluster. I felt it climaxed too soon, and Collins was scrambling to tie up loose ends toward the end. I'm satisfied, but feel like it could have been more. Like most of the book, it fell short.

Now after all this criticism, don't think I hated it. No, I liked it well enough; there were certainly points where I couldn't put it down, one of which almost made me late for work today. If there's one thing Collins knows how to do, it's create suspense. She likes to end her chapters on crazy things that happen out of nowhere, forcing you to turn the page in order to find out how the heck they're going to handle each disaster.

I'm sorry to those of you who are offended by my less-than-stellar review, but I just don't think this book is as great as it's made out to be. It's certainly a worthwhile, thought-provoking and discussion-generating read, but it's not the best book I've read this year. Let's just say that if you had to pick one book to read this year, I'd suggest you not pick this one.

9 comments :

  1. Thanks for the honest review. While I liked how she tied up Mockingjay, I actually didn't think The Hunger Games series was THAT "amazing" as others call it. Of course, it really depends on the reader. Still, I thought it was a good read and a very original one at that. But yeah, I don't know if this is the best book ever. If you want to read more dystopian YA, try The Maze Runner by James Dashner -- not much hype around it, but deserves a lot more recognition.

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  2. Great review! While I thought the ending was fitting, and I'm glad it wasn't some fluffy, romantic, happily ever after, I do think you have good points. I guess this is my preferred genre, and I like dark...I second what Jilliant said though...the Maze Runner is excellent.

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  3. Nice review :) WHile I have finished my copy yet, I am only half way through, I am a little upset as the way things are going. Also a little nervous.

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  4. Thanks everyone! I agree, Jillian, I like the series but not to the extent that everyone else seems to. Maze Runner is certainly on my list, and the author is actually going to do a signing at my B&N sometime this fall.

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  5. I agree, this is one good review. That is one of the newest novel I know and I am planning to buy one. Thank you for this review now I know that I must buy that book.

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  6. Anna here- Tahleen, your review kicked ass! I couldn't agree more.

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  7. I wasn't wowed by the series first two books, either, despite the hype and rave reviews by some friends. My standard for a dystopian trilogy is still Lois Lowry's The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger. But I do want to read Collins' conclusion. Very good review.

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  8. I agree that the beginning was slow and a lot exposition, but I really liked the ending of the book. I was pleased with how Katniss developed over the course of the series and I think the review was an honest portrayal of life, I really find it preachy. At least no more preachy than any other dystopian book I've ever read.

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  9. For me, the best thing about Mockingjay was Johanna Mason. I could have happily read an entire book with Johanna as the main character instead of Katniss. I loved Katniss through the first two books, but by Mockingjay she seemed so depressed and defeated that I wanted to avoid her.

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