Friday, August 23, 2013

Mockingjay By Suzanne Collins

Originally posted at Goodreads

I'm thinking of the perfect way to open this review, and while doing so, I realize that I am genuinely saddened at how the series developed and ended. I liked Hunger Games, I liked it to the point that even after what Collins did with Catching Fire, I still finished Mockinjay, partly because Catching fire was evidently prefatory to Mockinjay and partly because I sincerely hoped till the last pages the book can recover. It did not.

I see that most if not all of my Goodreads friends have rated the book from 4 to 5 stars. I could have given the same rating to Hunger Games, but doing so to Catching Fire and Mockinjay would be taxing credulity.

Collins killed her own creation.

Collins killed the Katniss that has captivated readers from Hunger Games. She killed the independent, headstrong, resolute and determined Katniss. Instead she gave us a Katniss who is fatally fickle-minded, inconsistent, vacillating and hesitant. This points out Collins' failure in developing Katniss' character concomitant with that of the plot, both in the substantially abstract aspect and the literal one. Notice how Collins has perpetuated the use of questions and maybe's in Katniss' extended internal monologues. Katniss was left unsure and questioning all the time. It is worth repeating that one of the reasons I have read this book is the empowerment and divergence from gender norms presented through a female lead. However what remained of such positive assertions were obliterated with the 2nd and 3rd books. They contained nothing but mere vestiges of something that should been worth perpetuating in any literary work. It is truly heartbreaking.

Collins killed the plot too. Systematically done through an incoherent execution and severely erratic pacing. One moment we see a rescue getting organized for Peeta's liberation the next, he's just there. Collins could have cut back on Katniss's internal monologues, because by this point, it is tedious and borders boredom. I half-expected that she would do so, she had every capacity and opportunity to her disposal, considering that there were numerous moments she could have drawn out in the book, like writing out Peeta's rescue but instead we get a sudden surprise that it was successful,(view spoiler) I know Collins wanted those deaths to deliver a wallop of an emotional punch, but it did not. She failed to establish the reason and the need for the deaths. It was simply disjointed. Collins did not need to spend a hundred pages or so on building-up the rebellion through Katniss' long walks over District 12. And most especially revolting, since this book is half dystopian and half romance is how the romance was eventually played out. I was eagerly looking forward at how it will be resolve, at how Katniss will choose between the two, I could swear I could have thrown the book in the thrash when I notice EPILOGUE suddenly looms over the next page. I mean just fu*k it. Fu*k it. Aside from the indecisive use of the kisses and the subtle objectification there was actually no resolute conclusion on the romantic issue was there, or could one hardly call Peeta's reappearance shoveling the snow at Katniss' house the decisive moment? This was the point that Collins should have employed those excessive internal monologues of Katniss and explained why Gale is suddenly out of the picture. Well, if one fundamentally considers, Katniss did not actually choose anybody did she? Peeta chose her from the beginning till the end (bolsters the predicament that Katniss is indecisive). Haymitch was proverbial when he said to Katniss that she does not deserve him a thousand lifetimes over. For all its worth, Peeta's the real martyr here, that is why it was actually a relief that he was hijacked.

Believe it or not, Collins managed to kill the excitement too. The books were overly anticlimatic. The escape from quarter quell being told in hindsight, and so is the conclusion of the supposedly epic rebellion. I mean, Collins simply build it up and up and up and just cuts it. It would have been more riveting if she wrote it straight out.

I finished the series because I was in love with the possibilities presented by the plot I experienced with Hunger Games. I was captivated by that Katniss. And I am saddened of how things turned out. This was something that started out great, turned tepid in the middle and ended up badly. One of the stars in the rating is rationalized by my love for Hunger Games, the other comes from my sister. She's gonna hate me with leaving Mockingjay with only a star, so here's two.
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