Review: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A fair warning. Spoilers ahead so do not read this review if you haven't read Mockingjay. Please, do yourselves a favor and do not read this until you haven't read Mockingjay.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As soon as I finished reading the acknowledgements (Don't judge me! I like sweet little things like saying sweet things to your husband and kids about how they supported you blahblah), I weighed in on my thoughts and immediately rated Mockingjay a 3 here in Goodreads. But then, I felt bad about giving a "liked it" rating to this book because it's such a good novel, if not great, it's almost great. It was very gripping and you couldn't help but just read it all. Gripping in that I think I'll be dreaming of how they tortured Peeta and how everyone died. This book just paints such abhorring images that I trained myself to just read and not dwell on the words and not imagine them because it will end up consuming my thoughts. And as I write this review, I do think of them all and I keep on swallowing in my empty mouth and prod myself to just finish this darn review and somehow straighten my thoughts and get the words out.

Now, back to my rating. Based on my enjoyment or satisfaction level, it would easily warrant a 3. You must think I am contradicting myself and I actually think I do but even with twists that I expected (I'm thinking President Coin, anyone?) and did not, this book didn't had me like Catching Fire had. Somehow, I felt that I know what's gonna happen and I'm just reading to find out how did it happen exactly. Moreover, my interest waned in the latter parts of the book and I was just going through the motions of flipping the next page and reading the spread and flipping to the next. Now, don't write me off as some insensitive, heart-made-of-stone person because I almost cried at times, if not for not wanting to wet my copy of the book with saltwater. You can ask people in my house as they were witness to my moaning, as if writhing in pain, unable to go read the next page. This book was so sad, with all the deaths, the torture, everything. It was painful to read that like I said, I just read through it, trying as hard not to imagine how they died but greatly failing. So why the 3? Maybe it's just the happy girl in me but I don't like dying, especially if it's in the thousands and more especially (if that's even grammatically correct) if it's children dying. I just can't stomach it. I wasn't happy with what happened although it was completely necessary. (Prim, anyone?) Moreover, the ending was kinda flat to me. I rather Collins showed us that Peeta's more or less back and that they're happily together, rather than just telling us. I guess you can't really end on a happy note there even if Katniss and Peeta were together but everything's too grim. Sigh.

So I'll just air out my disappointments then. Gale. Oh, Gale. I was on Team Peeta ever since he became the boy with the bread. All the way. I was never once swayed to side with Gale though I wished there had been more of him in the previous two books because he just didn't seem a competitor enough since he barely appeared or had a role. It was Peeta's show. But here, even here in Mockingjay where he's everywhere, I was never swayed to side with him. He was too brutal and he didn't appeared as the compassionate person Katniss described to us. Well, he isn't really compassionate but he's gone off the handle here. He's full on no mercy and unlike Katniss, who still thinks of other people's lives even if they're supposed enemies (which is actually why I still liked her given she wrote off Peeta too many times for my taste), he doesn't think about others anymore. I know he's too into the cause but it's as if people are like his hunting preys and that killing off people is the same as killing animals. Which is totally wrong. Which also made me love Peeta even more because he's just the good one. And, here's another thing, so Gale just left for District Two, huh? Somewhat lame but good for him. He can harness all that rage into defense tactics. (This is actually weird since I am known to be the person who roots for underdogs and second fiddles and such. But it felt like Peeta was actually the underdog all this time to me, loving a girl who loves another, Another thing is that, I keep picturing Liam Hemsworth while reading this even though I haven't watched the movie. (I actually crammed reading the books to watch the movie soon. And I will go for Josh Hutcherson any day than Liam Hemsworth. Sorry but I guess it's another factor.)

I admit I got irritated so many times at Katniss, for writing off Peeta and for a lot of things. But okay, I can somehow forgive her, maybe, given the circumstances she's in. After everything she has lost, everything she was forced to take, everything, practically after everything, she has stood her ground and fought her battles and thought for herself. That even being repeatedly used as a pawn, she tries to break free of that, to become her own entity. Certainly, she has lost some of that strength and spark she once had, having spent most of the time drugged or sedated, but she still fought, though late at times. I couldn't imagine myself being in her shoes and for that, I can't judge her.

Do you feel that at times, that the guy is just too good for the girl and that the girl should just get on with the second fiddle for you to have the guy for yourself? I thought that a lot of times, especially at times when Katniss just angered me, either by giving up on Peeta, or not realizing things or writing him off. I mean, girl, how could you get angry at Peeta at his disheveled and insane state for having altered memories of you? While you kissed Gale in the mountains, writing him off to oblivion. How could you think he knows anything and that everything that happened to him was his fault? I just can't comprehend why those thoughts crossed her mind. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just too protective of Peeta because I like (more like I am in love1) his character but I think even Gale shippers felt bad for Peeta. Sigh.

Here's something I wrote before I finished the book in one of said rages: "I still believe Katniss doesn't deserve Peeta. But she needs that unwavering kindness in her life, that hope, that warmth. And as much as I think Peeta's better off without Katniss and better off with me, I cannot make him happy because his happiness is Katniss. So I guess, okay, I need to accept that he'll only ever be happy with Katniss."

Now, finishing the book, I don't think Katniss doesn't deserve Peeta anymore though I still seethe at times when I remember her lapses in judgment. Haha! She was so whiny really and I couldn't help remember my annoyance with Elena in The Vampire Diaries. But that's a completely unrelated point (though I'd like to discuss that) so let's get back to business. But only in Peeta's arms will Katniss ever be better as she needs that warmth and hope Peeta just emanates, to patch up her brokenness and Peeta just needs her. Period. I think Peeta will kill himself if Katniss was dead and the war over. It's just that, we know that he's loved her since they were five and his world revolves around her. Sigh, love.

I do think Peeta's torture was necessary though painful to me. He needs to shed some of that goodness and have a taste of reality, of this harsh place, in order for him to grow. Because without those flashbacks that still haunt him at times, his character wouldn't have grown. Katniss, I think, had experienced growing then stunting and growing and stunting again. I can't blame her for the reasons I've stated earlier. But at least, she can finally accept Peeta's love without thinking it's some debt to pay. A big step, really.

Sooooo, my review's too long already, I think. It somehow devolved into a rant post. So that's the reasons why I felt giving it a three based on enjoyment. But if I will judge the book objectively, then it's a four. I keep thinking that it might be a five but then I rescind that thought because it's just not great enough for me. Surely, the book fares differently from the usual YA stuff and delves into a revolution, progressive and subversive ideas thrown here and there. But I don't know, that twisting feeling in my gut I had with Catching Fire was not present here. It was present at times, yes, but even after rereading parts of the end, I just had a hollow feeling in my gut. I just put the book down and started writing this review, no writhing in pain that isn't really there. Maybe because it's the last book, the book that will surely offer the resolution for the conflict established in Catching Fire. And as we know, stories progress downwards after the conflict. Resolutions to stories are viewed as a downward slump and it just halts. The story just stops there, even if it isn't an open ending. Because, surely, the ending depends on where you stop the story. And I am sure that Katniss is somewhere having nightmares and Peeta having flashbacks and I pity them, sincerely pity them and mutter a thanks that I am not them. But just the feat of making me think about how these characters are faring far after the book ends, where the story stops telling us what happens in Panem, makes this book, this trilogy great. Though I rated Mockingjay with 4, I rate this trilogy a 5. Because deep down, it moved me to places and made me feel emotions my heart never knew and these, these thoughts, these feelings, now haunt me like a mutt.

(I do hope it won't haunt me forever because that's just gruesome. I'll send hate mail to Collins if I don't get over this feeling in a month. Hahaha!)

P.S. Finnick! <3333333 *my heart shatters* I have not even mentioned you here because it just hurts. How much Finnick loves this deranged, mad girl unconditionally. I mean, how can you top that? My heart, Finnick, don't take it. Huhu.

P.P.S. I just had to end in a lighter note because I felt that the review was so intense. Haha!

*Originally posted last April 4, 2012

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