I think I now know why I cannot get into this trilogy all that much. At first, I thought I got turned off by the hype and that fact that it is a young adult novel. I just wasn’t buying it. But it wasn’t any of that. I read the first book and it was okay at best. I watched the movie and liked it a lot. And you know in my Catching Fire review, I loved it. Yet one thing bothered me about that book… the writing.
I had the same problem with this. I had such high hopes after the very well-crafted second book. I could not wait to read about what happens to Katniss and Peta, and even to Gale! (I am Team Peeta all the way but I like Gale too.) In the first two books, Collins introduced these characters and gave them storylines that made me care so much for them. I felt sorry for Peeta, sympathized with Gale, wanted Katniss to succeed. But by the end of this book? I don’t know what happened.
The story picks up where the second one left off, at District 13. There, Katniss and the other rescued victors are recovering and adjusting to their new home. Not all of them were saved. Peeta, together with Johanna and Enobaria, were captured by The Capitol. Under the leadership of President Coin of District 13, Katniss, Gale, Finnick, and other soldiers will try to unite the Districts, infiltrate The Capitol, and rescue Peeta and the others. For Katniss, she has one more goal… to kill President Snow.
Sounds action-packed, right? Well, it is. But the writing did not do those ideas any justice. Everything felt rushed, especially towards the end. Things were just starting to heat up and then I noticed that there were only about 25 pages left. Told in Katniss’ POV, it was like she was merely narrating a story while in a daze. I think months pass by in the book where nothing much happened. The deaths of some of the well-loved characters were mentioned in passing. Half the time, I had nothing to go on. So and so died and we’ll just forget about him/her, okay? Then what?
There were so many things that I was looking forward to in this book and it is just frustrating the way they concluded. The author could’ve done so much more. It had all the ideas but everything fell short. The changes in the characters were relatively subtle yet it changed my opinion of them drastically. Halfway through this book, I almost stopped caring for Gale. Katniss became weak and whiny. I think the author might be shooting for vulnerability but I wasn’t getting that in this book. All the other characters faded – or disappeared all together – during the second half.
And I thought the writing was pretty bad. Not Twilight bad though, just… uninspired. It didn’t flow well although it was consistent in Katniss’ flat tone. Clearly, emotions and feelings are not the author’s strongest suit. It is readable but not that engaging. Out of the three books, Catching Fire had the best writing and construction while The Hunger Games had the best characters. Mockingjay had none of that going on for it.
One thing I liked, however, was the way the romance aspect was treated. I’m a sucker for angst and mix that with the right amount of romance then you’ll get plus points from me.
Overall, it is disappointing. Personally, it was frustrating. Just when I thought I finally found a YA series that I can get behind, the last book has everything I dislike about the genre: bad writing, whiny characters, and a half-assed epilogue. I guess I’ll just stick with the movie.
Recommendation: If you liked Catching Fire, don’t get your hopes up for this one. But it’s the last book in a trilogy so it’s rather pointless to skip it if you are a fan of the series. If you’re just buying off the hype, you can hold off reading this after you’re finished with the second book. You’re not missing anything.
Get your copy here.