A Review of Susan Collin's Mockingjay
I recently read Mockingjay, by Susan Collins, book 3 of the Hunger Games series and I have to admit, I wasn’t thrilled.
Collins piled on the pain with out providing catharsis. She was doing plot gymnastics in order to deliever repeated sucker punches. I know what she was going for, the horrors of war and all that. But it resulted in a story that just didn’t hold together very well.
As the story progressed, the punches took their toll. I started falling into a deep depression. But it wasn’t the bittersweet that comes from a sad story, well told. It was a state of delirium and disbelief.
Katniss spends much of the book cycling repeatedly between hospital beds and states of near psychological collapse. When your narrator and window into a world are constantly delirious, it follows that you will be a bit woozy. But Collins takes it to an extreme in Mockingjay, and I spent large poritions of the book positively nautious.
Eventually, the disjointed writing that characterized Katniss’ trauma followed her to portions of the story where it didn’t belong. As if Collins had gotten stuck in that mode of writing and had lost the ability to write with the crispness and vividness of the first two books.
The whole book takes on a nightmarish Groundhog’s Day quality.
When the end finally rolled around, I was ready for it to be over. I wanted a catharsis. At least, as long as she wasn’t going to go full 1984 on me. But if she was going to provide a happy ending, then it ought to have been one that made me feel something.
As it was, the handful of pages she devoted to the aftermath felt weak. As if she was just phoning it in, glad to be done with it all. They weren’t vivid enough to make me feel anything.
Throw it all together and the result is a book that just doesn’t cut it. The rest of the series was wonderful. A well told story set in an excellently crafted world with a thought provoking allegory woven through. But Mockingjay was a dud.