The politics of the novel are relayed by Katniss who, caring little for the political landscape that surrounds her, does a less than compelling job. Even through Katniss’s eyes however, the politics are insultingly simplistic and the themes are written without any subtlety. Potentially interesting ideas of media manipulation, inherited guilt, and abject poverty, all lack development and fall flat. With the manipulative Coin introduced, and Haymitch becoming significantly nastier, Collins opts to contrive a situation for Katniss to rebel against, rather than let the story takes its natural course and develop into a really interesting social commentary. There is teenage angst, but the ideas, what should be the meat of the novel, are so scatter-gun, and illogically forced into the plot that the overall effect is a real mess. Added to this, the rebellion is so easily and neatly achieved as to be wholly unrealistic, and the climax is jumbled, confused, and bares little relation to real life war.
Collins’s writing has always been fairly pedestrian, even for YA level but, as the pacing and the plot deteriorate, the inadequacies of the writing become increasingly glaring. The characters are wildly inconsistent both within Mockingjay, and across the context of the previous books. Collins doesn’t write complex and psychologically coherent characters, she simply forces plot-developing dialogue into the mouth of whichever character she has to hand; one minute Katniss is generous and compassionate, another she is spiteful; in one moment she’s gormless, in another she is more perceptive than even the most intelligent and experienced characters around her. This inconsistency runs through all the characters, and renders them hollow shells, in no way autonomous. Though Collins’s writing is consistently poor, perhaps the most notable problem is that, in contrast to the gripping style of The Hunger Games, here Collins commits the almost inexcusable sin of being dull throughout. So many of the ideas are rehashed from the previous books, and as the series moves towards its conclusion Collins seems increasingly incapable of writing powerful dramatic scenes to resolve the tensions she has built through the trilogy.
In fact, one of the biggest problems is the ending, which is rushed, illogical, unsatisfying, and an abysmal way to conclude a series that so many readers have invested in. The love triangle that has always been an unwelcome element is resolved in the most half-hearted, nonsensical, and dramatically unsatisfying way possible. That Collins chose to tie it up in this manner only makes its presence all the more aggravating. There is little to be said for the rest of the garbled final chapters; there are elements that leave one incredulous, and others that are a cursory nod to what might have been a satisfying ending.
It has been reported that Collins originally wrote The Hunger Games as a standalone novel, and was asked by her publishers to extend it to a trilogy. The upcoming film adaptations of the trilogy will, it is rumoured, be stretched over four films. These two points sum up the series: a half-decent idea, stretched so thin as to accentuate all its flaws, in pursuit of profit ahead of art. This is a great shame as Katniss had the potential to be a strong and positive female protagonist, in an involving and intelligent commentary on teenage life and society in the modern day. Instead, Collins’s good work at the start of the series is quickly undone; leaving readers with a host of inconsistent and poorly drawn characters, and a jumbled and poorly-realised plot.
Reviews of Mockingjay on Amazon (UK)
Reviews of Mockingjay on Amazon (US)
|Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book 1, The Hunger Games)|
The Hunger Games (2008) is a dystopian novel that imagines a North American of the future, where the country has been split into 12 separate districts, which are presided over by the... [Read More]
|Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Book 2, The Hunger Games)|
Catching Fire (2009) is the second book in Suzanne Collins’s best-selling Hunger Games trilogy. Having escaped from the 74th games with both Peeta’s and her own life intact... [Read More]
|Word Search #002: The Hunger Games Characters|
The Hunger Games is full of fantastically named characters. Hidden within the word search below are the names of eight characters from the series (first names only). How many can you find? (Hint: this is very difficult, so I have posted the 8 names... [Read More]
|Anagrams #002: The Hunger Games Characters|
Suzanne Collins created some memorable characters in The Hunger Games, with a range of unusual names. But, how many characters from the series can you recognise from the list of anagrams below?... [Read More]
|Review: Katniss the Cattail by Valerie Estelle Frankel|
Katniss the Cattail: An Unauthorized Guide to Names and Symbols in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games (2012) is Valerie Estelle Frankel's guide to The Hunger Games series, most specifically the symbolism used within the trilogy. This is... [Read More]