27 April 2014

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Caution: Spoilers

Here it is then, the last one of the trilogy before I have to decide what to do after this. But that is my problem and it's neither here nor there, or not anything to do with this review come to that. Not that that ever really matters in the first paragraphs of my reviews, I tend to ramble on a bit before I get down to the point. But not today! Shall we begin...?

Another quick read for me but not necessarily because I was so completely into it that I could not put it down. I made myself read this one quickly because it was the only one where I did not have a basic outline of what was going to happen because of the films. This meant that I went into the book blind with only my ideas gleaned from the previous book to tell me what might happen. Now I can see how they are going to split the book into two films, there is a fairly obvious point in the book in which you can split it in two.

From the beginning of the book we find ourselves with a civil war going on in the background. Despite this we do not actually get to see much of it as our main character, Katniss Everdeen, plays very little part in the war itself. She is used by the President of District 13 as a propaganda weapon against President Snow in the Capitol. This lasts until Peeta Mellark, who is held prisoner by the Capitol, is put on television by President Snow and Katniss realises that he is being tortured, at which point she has a mental breakdown. The war itself is very much in the background of this book as we focus mainly to Katniss’ struggle in district 13. Now when Peeta is rescued in order to try and bring Katniss back into the war we see the result of this torture. This leads to Peeta and Katniss being unable to be near each other, seeming to bring an end to their developing love affair.

As the war is won in the Districts Katniss moves in to the fight against the Capitol itself, in order to escape from Peeta. With people on both sides who want her dead, she manages to use an attack in the Capitol to fake her own death in order for her to exact her revenge on President Snow, which is the only thing keeping her going at this point. Through this mission she is constantly battling the decision she will eventually have to make concerning the two men she loves as well as the defences set up by the Capitol. As her mission climaxes she loses many people she loves which drives her fragile mental state into an almost complete breakdown. At her mission end everything is resolved from the point of the revolution, but not as you would expect it to be.

My first issue to characters in this book is Katniss Everdeen herself. If you were expecting a strong female lead in the book who is the powerhouse behind the whole resistance you will not get this. Katniss is an unstable mess throughout this film, driven mad through loss and the war she sparked with her antics in the first book. She is controlled and kept alive by other characters throughout the whole story, even succumbing to drug addiction and two separate points during the book. When the book finishes she has given up completely and is a psychological mess living with someone who is not much better and on top of that occasionally has the urge to kill her, completely abandoned by most of the people who claim to care about her.

Now another part I did not enjoy was the death of my favourite character, Finnick Odair. Now Finnick is not exactly his normal self in this film, suffering in a similar way to Katniss mentally, but he is still a source of the only humour to be found in the book. Finally, and this is no one’s fault just something that I personally did not enjoy, Plutarch Heavensbee. Now this character was played brilliantly by the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who really makes you connect and admire Plutarch. Now in the book this character could not be more unlikable if he tried, he comes across as manipulative and uncaring despite his role in Katniss’ escape and the revolution.

Now I was very complimentary of both of the books that came before this one but I am afraid I did not enjoy this one. Maybe because I enjoyed the first two books so much that I raised my expectations so high that the third book was only ever going to fall short. I did not like the storyline, which areas were focused on or the eventual outcome of everything that goes on. I would still recommend the series to anyone who asked me about it but I am disappointed that the final book could not live up to the first two.

4 out of 10