We arrive here, at the end of all things. Mockingjay, book 3 of the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, concludes the saga of Katniss, Peeta, and Gale as the districts begin a revolution against the Capital, a culmination of all that Katniss and Peeta accomplished (accidentally) as they survived the horrors of the Hunger Games. I've already spoken to my distaste for Collins' writing style in my reviews of books 1 and 2, so I'll just say that it doesn't get any better here. We still follow Katniss as she struggles with the events that transpired at the end of the last book: she's been rescued by the revolution and taken to District 13 (gasp!), where they have apparently been biding their time to begin the revolution anew in secret. District 12 has been firebombed to oblivion, and few survived the destruction (naturally Gale and her family are just fine), and Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.
This book suffers by far the most from Collins' sometimes ponderous and repetitive writing style. In what should be the big action piece, very little happens at all. Far little than either of the preceding books, actually. I was really looking forward to the war between the Districts and the Capitol, but guess what? We really don't see it. Instead we're treated to Katniss having a complete breakdown for the majority of the book, spending her time wandering from one closet to the next, where she can hide and cry over her loss of Peeta and her very confused feelings for him and Gale.
This book had a lot of potential. Katniss, who had been such a strong female character for the series, who had used her anger to jumpstart a rebellion, who would do anything to survive and protect those she loves just kind of stops doing all of that. Her big role in the revolution is that of a propaganda figure, dressing up in fancy armor and looking good for the camera. They keep almost taking her into actual combat, but aside from the first foray that never really happens. It's absolutely frustrating.
There are also a great deal of characters that are introduced, and never really used. Or used briefly, then thrown by the wayside. It seems like there may have been a larger plan that just never happened. Frustrating.
Then there's the end. Yes, we get everything nice and wrapped up, but it all seems incredibly rushed and lazy, actually. The love triangle between Gale, Peeta, and Katniss is resolved, but in a completely unsatisfying cop out that does nothing but wrap it up. Katniss' revolution is also rushed towards the end, and ultimately lacks any kind of real conclusion (in my mind). Katniss never actually decides anything for herself. Things just fall in a certain fashion that she decides to go with. Even the love triangle, when it seems that the decision has been made for her, seems undecided. There's a line (I won't quote because I don't want to go digging around for it) where she says that she's "relieved" that she can't go with one of them. THAT is your resolution, her decision. She's just "relieved" that she doesn't have to make any decision.
This book is by far my least favorite of the series, and seems to actually tarnish the first two books with inconsistent character development and plain old annoying decisions. The Hunger Games seemed to have not been edited very well for grammar, but Mockingjay seems to have been poorly edited for plot. I wonder if, due to the popularity of the series, they rushed the conclusion out the door before it could have fully developed, before it had properly matured. If that's the case, then it's a damn shame to conclude what could have otherwise been a very good series with such a lackluster entry. Who knows, maybe translating it to the big screen will allow them to fix what was so very broken with this conclusion.
I don't like this book. Real, or not real?
Now, I'm off to read something a bit lighter. I think the Black Dahlia should do the trick.