Thursday, December 30, 2010
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
I grew impatient with waiting for the 130 people in front of me on the library request list to get through Mockingjay, so I purchased it to read over the holiday. I am one of those people who rarely reads a complete series. I'm usually over it by the end of book two and wander off to read something else. But, Ms. Collins did such an incredible job with The Hunger Games, that I had to pursue Catching Fire. Then that book ended with such a cliff-hanger that I felt compelled to pursue Mockingjay. Now, I know ending book two with a cliff-hanger caused quite a frenzy for the final book, but I also felt it was a cheap trick and I was disappointed and frustrated. Still, it worked, I went for book three.
Mockingjay is broken down into three parts. I found the first part flat and boring. I know it's difficult to jump right back into the story while also getting the readers up to speed, but I was used to Ms. Collins' high suspense style so that made the slow beginning a little harder to take. Part two gets a little better. Part three feels like it actually connects to the first two books. (part I and II do not.) I could see the mechanics of this book as the author tried to turn the plot. That wasn't apparent in the first two stories. Plus, I felt she wasn't being true to some of the characters as they were set up in the first two stories (specifically Katniss - in terms of appearance and Gale - in terms of everything.) I understood the Gale part to drive the story to its conclusion, but the Katniss part seemed random revisionist history and I didn't understand why it was done. (Okay, that won't make sense unless you've read the book and I'm trying hard not to spoil things for anyone.) Yes, characters in stories should be allowed to change / grow, but it was all referenced as having always been this way rather than having been a gradual coming about.
So, my conclusion is that I enjoyed the last third of Mockingjay. That part felt satisfying. The first two parts are a little clunky. But, if you are a fan of the series, then you'll definitely want to see the end.
If someone as talented as Ms. Collins has difficulty writing the third book of a trilogy, I wonder what success I'll have? (vague reference to activities percolating in my career as a writer) A difficult thing to pull off.