Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Thoughts (Spoilers)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic Press

This isn’t really going to be a review, just thoughts about “Mockingjay.” After reading “The Hunger Games” three times and “Catching Fire” twice, and anticipating “Mockingjay” for a year, I think I’m too subjective to do an actual review. For my opinions about the previous books in this series, please see my thoughts on the audios and my reviews of both “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire.”

To be completely honest, I was sort of bored at the beginning of “Mockingjay.” Maybe not bored, exactly, but not nearly as excited as I thought I would be. In fact, I sort of wondered why I was up in the middle of the night reading. The fact that Peeta wasn’t around for a long, long time might have been part of it, but I think more it was that Katniss was just sort of moping around, unsure of what she really wanted to do. Plus, she kept ending up drugged in the hospital, which always felt like a slightly cheating way for Collins to get her through situations.

Things started to turn around for me when Katniss went into the first disputed district. I loved how she stood up to Gale, determined to not just kill people who might be innocent. Finally, that felt like Katniss to me. It made me really dislike Gale, though, although he almost won my heart a bit with how he treated Katniss most of the time they were together in District 13.

The most horrifying moment of the whole book – perhaps the whole series – for me was Finnick’s revelation that President Snow had been pimping out the Victors. These are people that have had miserable lives in their districts, been pitted against other teenagers in a kill or be killed contest and manage to live, and now they are sexually abused? I almost threw up. “Mockingjay” got me really attached to Finnick, actually, and I was sort of devastated when he died.

A less devastating death for me was Prim’s. I know a lot of people didn’t like that scene, didn’t realize I was Prim, but I thought that was perhaps the most masterfully written scene in the entire book. I felt that I was truly experiencing the situation with Katniss, and she didn’t initially realize she was watching her sister die either. It seemed fitting to me that Prim died at the end of the series, since the entire thing started with Katniss trying to save her sister. It gave a sense of how much bigger than just Katniss and her family the entire thing had become, but was also a reminder of all that the people of Panem lost under the old regime and during the rebellion, a warning against complacency in the future. Plus, at least if Prim was going to die, she was dying doing something she loved and she felt was important, instead of being forced into the Games.

As to the romantic angle: I am SO GLAD that Collins did not kill off either of the boys. Regardless of who Katniss ended up with, if she had ended up with him only because the other boy was killed off, I would have been very annoyed. I was glad she ended up with Peeta, and glad that she realized that he is the one she needed, even if she hadn’t needed to get away from Gale after his weapon being used against Prim because, again, if she had seemed to end up with Peeta just because of Gale’s weapon I would have been really disappointed.

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34 comments to Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Thoughts (Spoilers)

  • You nailed my thoughts on both Finnick (I thought his was perhaps the best character development in this book), and Prim’s death scene.

  • Mari

    I had the same reaction to the book. I wa also bored at the beginning. I had no problem putting it down. It took me two days to finish. Finnick’s death was harder to grasp than Prim’s. Happy to see katniss end up with peeta.

  • I was amazed at how much Collins made me love Finnick in this book – and his death devastated me much more than Prim’s, which I didn’t expect.

  • Amanda

    I grew really attached to Finnick too, and was so sad at his death. I also didn’t miss the irony of Prim’s death. I really loved the book, and I wasn’t bored towards the beginning, probably because I had lower expectations going in (I really didn’t like Catching Fire).

  • Jen H

    Agreed, Finnick’s death was hard to handle, and I felt for Annie back in 13 and wondered if she would ever recover from it. I’m torn as to Kat’s assasination of Coin. I wanted her to have a speech or some type of one on one interaction with Coin to reveal the horror of what she was doing and to exploit her similiarities to President Snow. All in all a great YA novel, much more depth then the Pretty Little Liars series or the spinoff vampire series that are everywhere.

  • I have so very many thoughts on this book. I loved it because I loved the series but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit let down. Like you I thought Katniss was a bit too somber. She was whiny and just dour. I get why she would be that way, of course, but I was used to the strong gutsy girl and there was so very little of that shown in this book.

    While I wasn’t devestated by Prim’s death I was saddened that it happened/was handled the way it was. I felt like there was such power in the fact that Katniss endured what she did so Prim could live and then in the end Prim died anyway. I would have loved to have had that explored more than it was.

    I also felt like Finnick’s death was minimized. He became such an integral part of this last book and then in two seconds he was gone never to be heard of again. Again, I get that it’s war and that’s realism but for me I would have liked a bit more reflection on his loss.

    The end was super duper fast. All this time was spent building up to the rebellion and then when we finally got there it and it’s consequences were worked through in a few short chapters.

    Anyway, I could go on and on but I won’t. Suffice it to say I love the series but this was my least favorite of the three.

  • I sort of glanced at your post. I just got the book yesterday and I refuse to start it until I finish the book I am reading. I did read your last post…least favorite…really?
    ok, I am definitely finishing my book then…lol

  • paige

    Okay, so I think it totally sucked when Prim died-personally I cried. Finnick’s death was definitely to… short for me to ever really get a chance to mourn him individually. Boggs made me sad too, he was pretty awesome for a new character in this book.

    I’m glad she ended up with Peeta and I actually really enjoyed their banter when he didn’t like her- I actually wish she’d interacted a bit more with that Peeta. And Katniss never did learn about when it’s actually appropriate to kiss a guy, she still uses it as a sort of defense which bugs me.

    Overall I enjoyed the book, but I agree that Hunger Games was the best in the series.

  • Thanks for posting your thoughts. I’m still processing my reaction to it. I liked it, probably better than either of its predecessors, but there is a lot of “adult” material. Granted, I am an adult, but some of the stuff was pretty disturbing. I was pretty upset by the fact that they messed with Peeta’s memories. (Also, I was terribly bored at the beginning too.)

  • I completely agree with you about the scene when Prim died. The entire time I was reading the book, I felt like I wasn’t IN this world the way I was in the other two books. That was the scene that finally put me back inside the story. Everything else made me feel like I was just floating above the story.

  • I liked how Mockingjay allowed us to get to know Gale more. In the previous novels I always felt that we knew him through Katniss’s eyes: sure he was angry at the Capitol, but it never felt real; sure he was in love with Katniss, but it was in this quiet bestie devotion. Here, in Mockingjay, we see him in his entirety. How he does love Katness but his anger overtakes a lot of those emotions. At least that’s how I perceived it.

    • I definitely agree. Actually, that’s part of the reason I was always Team Peeta, because we hadn’t seen enough of Gale to know him well enough, we just sort of knew that he hunted with Katniss and suspected he loved her.

  • I feel mainly the same as you. I liked it, but it wasn’t the first two. I even think I probably agree that the first was the highest point of the series for me; I’ve just reread the first two and I do think it’s probably the best. None of the characters really felt like themselves, and while I understand that they had to change, it just made the whole thing really hard to connect with and lose myself in.

    I was really glad Collins didn’t kill the contenders for Katniss’s heart, either. I think she made the perfect decision, and I liked that it became really clear that it wasn’t Gale she wanted before she chose.

  • Finnick’s death was handled badly – no doubt. I like your argument for why Prim’s death work, but I still agree with Michelle that it seems especially cruel to kill off Prim especially when Katniss only started down this road because of her.

    I just posted a spoiler(full) review at my blog if you want to read more of my thoughts.

  • Great post! I was distraught over Finnick’s death too and I agree with your thoughts on Prim’s death.

  • I have written my thought post (up tomorrow) so I can finally come read what you had to say. I agree with a lot of what you said, but I don’t really understand the killing of Prim or why that would make Katniss hate Gale. I just didn’t buy that.

    • I didn’t read it as her hating Gale after that, just realizing that they had fundamentally different philosophies on war and that his philosophy may have unintentionally killed her sister. She doesn’t hate him for it, but she knows that this difference has made them fundamentally incompatible. That is what I understood that section to mean.

  • I feel so alone – I wish I had stopped reading after The Hunger Games!

    But…I also felt pretty sad when Finnick died, and a little annoyed that Prim died. You’re right, though. That scene at the end when Prim dies is pretty masterfully done, and it did give the over-arching theme/point some heft to it.

    I hated Gale, though, and I don’t think he was in character for most of the book. His rage and indifference just didn’t seem plausible to me. I don’t know why!

    Great review!

  • I just finished the book, and I did love it. It’s hard to compare it to The Hunger Games — as the first book, it was so unique and set up everything so beautifully, it would be difficult to measure up to it. Just like the Victors themselves, Mockingjay is more knowing and jaded than the other books.

    Finnick’s character exploration was spectacular in this book; I was crushed when he died, and actually found it effective that it happened so quickly and there was no time to mourn. I felt the shock of Katniss that so many were going down so quickly.

    Peeta’s hijacking was terrific. I didn’t expect it, and I loved both seeing this side of him, and watching him fight against it to come to himself.

    I do agree that Gale was handled a bit ham-fistedly towards the end. I get it — you have to buy that he and Katniss really aren’t right for each other in order to fully root for her and Peeta — but I thought Gale gave in and turned off too easily at the end.

    Truly though, my complaints are nitpicky. I loved the book, I loved the series, and my hat’s off to Suzanne Collins for a fantastic trilogy.

    • You make a good point about Finnick’s death, the shock of war with so many dying and no time to mourn. I guess what I would have liked was more recognition after the fact, but of course by the Prim was dead and she was on a path to being an assassin.

  • About the very ending, I totally agree. I was always leaning towards Peeta, but not solidly. I was waiting for the resolution to know. I had to be convinced that Katniss wanted Peeta, and I think that Collins did that for me.

    I was waiting to see if I was happy or disappointed to see where my real loyalties lied. When Peeta came back and went to embrace her (or so we thought until he crushed her) — I was SO happy.

    But I knew going in that the one thing that would have disappointed me was if one died and she just sort of went with the other.

  • Amy

    Thanks for all the spoilers! I put this on hold at the library but I’m #48 so I won’t be seeing it anytime soon. I may just give in and buy the book though.

    • Alexis

      It’s worth buying, and you understand it the more times you read it as it did confuse me in some parts.

  • Jamie

    My feelings on Mockingjay nearly perfectly align with yours.
    I was quite bored for the first half of the book. It didn’t seem to be going anywhere and I found it very hard to get ‘in’ to the story. I wasn’t feeling it.

    I, also, was disturbed by Finnick’s life in the capital after he won is Games. I think I found it the most shocking part of the trilogy. It surprises me that this was included in a Scholastic novel as I’ve recently been reading some blogs which say that Scholastic censors a lot of the content of their books.

    When Mockingjay first arrived in the mail our 7yo asked when she would be allowed to read the trilogy. I told her maybe when she was 10 or so, but after reading Mockingjay I think I am going to have to put that up by a few years.

    Prim’s death didn’t bother me so much. A shame that Katniss went through everything to have her sister only live two more years, butI believe Katniss would have made the same decision (to take Prim’s place) knowing the outcome.

    I wasn’t ‘Team Peeta’ or ‘Team Gale’ so it didn’t worry me too much who she ended up with, but I do feel Peeta was the more suitable option of the two by the end of Mockingjay. Not because of the part Gale played in Prims death, as Katniss herself said that she could work through her feelings on that given time, but that Gale felt so strongly about the cause and was a real fighter, whereas I feel that Katniss was pushed in to the role of Mockingjay. I don’t feel it was something she actively chose herself.

  • Jamie

    ooh, hadn’t quite finished my point there when I pressed submit.

    I think that Gale would be interested in continuing the fight, but Katniss would enjoy peace and a quiet life. With Peeta she can have that. He understands what she has been through, but doesn’t feel the need to fight back.

  • I totally agree about how much time Katniss spent in the hospital. I understand that she’s been “broken” and all that, but she3 got through the first two books with limited medical interference–and no hospitals. It kinda felt like how we used to play Barbies–horrible things kept happening to everyone, over and over again, just so something was happening. (I blame the soap operas Grandma used to watch.)

    I also really, really wanted to know more about Cinna. Why did he ask for District 12 in the first book? Was he from the Capitol? (I got the impression that he wasn’t, that he somehow had been recruited from a district.) And Haymitch! He was the last character I expected to remain so static.

    I disconnected right around the scene in which Prim dies, both times I read the book. I mean, Katniss didn’t feel very present through much of the book anyhow, but though I agree that it was a well-written scene, much of what came afterward really didn’t work for me. I don’t think Snow should’ve had any part in Katniss figuring out that it wasn’t the Capitol who killed all those kids & medics.

    And what was with the scene in which they vote on whether or not there should be a final Hunger Games? Does that decision, then, get reversed after Coin’s assassination? I know it was a pivotal scene for Katniss, figuring out that Coin was no better a leader than Snow, that nothing would really change under Coin’s presidency, but I’m still confused about Katniss voting yes. Unless she was demonstrating to Coin that she did blame the Capitol for Prim’s death.

    And having the double bombing be so linked with Gale–I really wish Katniss had come to her own decisions about Gale’s blood-thirsty, anything-goes attitude. I couldn’t figure out why, every time he said he was playing by Snow’s rules, she didn’t object to that justification. It felt like, because of the bombing, another decision was made for Katniss by outside forces instead of Katniss making the decision.

    Okay, those are my thoughts for now. Probably to be all said again when I finally get around to writing my own “review.” Sometime. When I’ve had enough hiatus-ing.

    • Okay, so the voting thing. Yes, I assume the decision was reversed, although it really doesn’t say, I guess. The thing about her voting yes, though, was meant to be a smokescreen. This is when she realized just how evil Coin really was and because determined that she needed to be taken out as well. If she seemed to be agreeing with what Coin wanted, there’s that much less security when she assassinates her, it was all just a ruse, and Haymitch knew that, since the two of them understand each other so well, which is why he voted yes too.

      For Katniss objecting to what Gale was doing, she actually started to in whatever district it was they went to, with the miners in the mountain, she was dead set against his plan, and that is when she started to realize that their philosophies were totally incompatible, it was just the realization that he worked on either the weapon that killed Prim, or something just like it, that cemented it in her brain.

  • Noah

    Three things I want to know:

    Did she stay in touch with Gale? Why didn’t it ever mention Peeta’s amputated leg again? And What did they end up naming their kids!? I was hoping she named them Finnick and Rue or something of that nature…. haha. I hate when I have dumb questions that wasn’t answered.

    • Alexis

      I totally want to no the same three questions because one I didn’t believe gale did anything that bad for them to never speak again. I also thought there friendship shouldnt break like that before peeta they were so close, but even though they were going down hill from the moment the games finished I kept feeling hope they would be best friends again not just a few flings and then gone he works in 2 never spoken again?

      Secondly in catching fire peeta could barely walk throw the jungle but yet in mockingjay he’s climbing ladders, running away from mutts and fighting in a war..

      Finally I really wanted katniss to call her kids names of fellow tributes or friends who had died.. The boy and the girl didn’t cut it for me..

  • Alexis

    I was so obsessed with the hunger games but mockingjay confused me.. I love the fact the gale and peeta both lived but I felt really quite upset that gale and katniss didn’t even clear up there friendship in the end. I would of like it if they had at least spoken one last time to when the wars were over and katniss was back home. I was very upset with prims death but I felt if it didn’t happen it some how seemed to easy that she survived without a scratch. I also thought some parts were a bit too hard to understand but I pulled though. I like the fact that everyone was still hurting in the end as if it were real no just some fairy tale. I love the hunger games to pieces but I would of also likes to no more about gale, his family and all the other characters that brought the story together such as Effie, Annie, haymitch and a lot more. Even more on katniss and peeta. Thanks, please respond. :)

    • I think to get more about everyone else Suzanne Collins would have to write some short stories or something, it wouldn’t really have got in the book itself.

      • Alexis

        She should right another book because I felt like it didn’t quite finish and I died when it finished