Mockingjay’s a Letdown. . .

26 Sep

I haven’t had a chance to write about it yet, but The Hunger Games is my favorite book of all time.  It’s full of action—something that any book needs if it wants to capture my interest—and it’s got interesting main characters that I actually cared about by the time that the book was over.

It’s also about standing up to power, which is a theme that you’ll see in almost every book that ends up on my Books that Rule list.  There’s something about seeing the little guy stand up to power that is just plain interesting to me.

Maybe it’s because I’m an American!

That’s why I dropped everything a few weekends ago to read Mockingjay—the third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.  I mean I dropped EVERYTHING.  I didn’t do any of my part time work.  I didn’t watch any television.  I didn’t grade papers.  I didn’t eat.  I didn’t sleep.  I didn’t feed the cats.  I didn’t give my daughter a bath.  I didn’t give myself a bath.

I read.  On my Kindle.  For hours on end.

My wife was ticked.

What made matters even worse—although there’s not much worse than smelling bad, an angry wife, a dirty child, and hungry cats—is that Mockingjay was a SERIOUS LETDOWN.

The story opens with the 13 districts of Panem in open revolt against the government after Katniss and Peeta stage a mini-love-bellion at the end of the Quarter Quell.  Katniss—who almost died at the end of Catching Fire—has been saved by the rebels and nursed back to health in the mysterious District 13.

The plan for the rebels is really quite simple:  get their little superstar in fighting shape and turn her loose on President Snow and his lackeys in the Capital.

Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? After the action scenes in both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I COULDN’T WAIT to see the young Miss Everdeen going bonkers on the power hungry people in the Capital that had been controlling her life for the better part of two years—-ESPECIALLY after I found out that Snow was torturing her beloved Peeta just for giggles.

But here’s the thing:  Katniss almost never fights in Mockingjay.  For the first part of the book, she’s in the hospital having horrible dreams and in District 13 making commercials.  Heck, the only thing the rebels DON’T do is put her on the side of a Wheaties box.

And while I’m SURE that her commercials were VERY important, I wanted to see her fighting.  That’s what she’s good at.

When she does finally get into a battle—defending a hospital in District 8—she shoots a few explosive arrows and then makes another commercial.  The entire scene is over in about 6 pages.  That’s a lot of reading for a few arrows, don’t you think?

Mockingjay only gets WORSE after Katniss’s first battle though. In fact, Suzanne Collins makes a mistake that I HATE to see in a book:  She skips over a TON of important events.  When Katniss is fighting in District 8, the rebels have control of ONE district.  Katniss then heads back to District 13, which gets bombed by the Capitol.

When the bombing is done, miraculously the rebels are in control of ELEVEN districts.

Just like that.

No explanation.

No fighting.

No Katniss shooting arrows through the hearts of enemies.

Nothing.

Now, the ending of the story—where Katniss finally gets to the Captial to confront President Snow is pretty cool.  It’s full of the kinds of morphlings and science fiction robotic fighting action that made the Hunger Games a great read.  But Collins blows that momentum, too, by having Katniss get knocked out by an explosion while standing outside the President’s mansion and having the rebels end the fighting while she’s unconscious and in the hospital.

Yup.  That’s right.  The whole story is about getting back at President Snow and Katniss never gets that chance.  The whole story is about rebelling against the Capital, and all but two of the districts are conquered in pages that you never get to read.  The whole story is about Katniss the hero, and she spends the entire book making commercials.

Now, maybe my reaction is partly because I was so jacked for Mockingjay.  Maybe I’m just disappointed because Mockingjay didn’t live up to the hype—or to the action—of the earlier books.

All I know, though, is that right now, I’d say that this book is BARELY better than The Lightning Thief.

Mockingjay’s Score:  Way5

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21 Responses to “Mockingjay’s a Letdown. . .”

  1. Brian September 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    Alright. First off, in my opinion, Mockingjay is better than Catching Fire. If I were to give it a rating, using Mr. F’s scale, it would be way75. But only way5 from Mr. Ferriter? Thats ridiculous. In the beginning of that book, Katniss is making commercials because she just got out of the hospital. If you remember from Catching Fire, she pretty much got hit by a lightning bolt. And when she is asked to be the mockingjay, no, TOLD to be the mockingjay, her list of conditions is great. When the district 13 president announces the terms to the public and adds her own flip to it, it just got me hooked. When she goes to district 8 and blows up a few planes using only arrows, that just made me like it more. It is pretty upsetting that the hospital was destroyed, but it did add even more hatred to the capitol. She goes unconscious and wakes up a couple of days later. If you remember from a little earlier in the book, there were troop movements (rebels) in every district, and the rebels had about half of each district before she blacked out. So its no surprise that the rebels finished off the few that remained loyal to the capitol in just a few days. When there is only one district left to obtain, Katniss goes there. It is a let down that she doesn’t really fight in that district, but she is there to make plans. Then when she goes and tries to make peace with the last few men that were in that districts hideout, she gets shot. That got me very excited. When she wakes up from being unconscious, she has to get new ribs. When the surgery is completed, the head rebel government doesn’t let her join the army. I thought that was really surprising. When they told her why, she had to go through three weeks of training with the new cadets. When she gets to do the final exam to see if she got to go with the army and she passed, I thought that really brought the mood of the story up. After she meats her team, they head straight for the capitol. The leaders of each group have a holographic map that shows them where the traps are. On a failed trap destroying mission, the leader dies and Katniss becomes the new head. There was a black substance that came to kill them, but it also helped them. it triggered all the traps that it passed, letting the small group go farther into the city. When the black goo gets thin, they head into a deserted capitol house. What part of all that I just wrote doesn’t sound interesting. The team then crawls into an air vent and goes to a house that has access to the underground tunnels. Once they crawl in to the sewers, the party travels for long hours until they find a place that is able to rest in. The small group is awoken by howls of a VERY large pack of dog-like beasts that are on their way to kill Katniss. That just makes you intrigued, doesn’t it? After traveling through the tunnel for a couple of hours, the team breaks down a structure to slow the advance of the dogs. Two of the group stay to defend the area, and are soon killed. That just makes me so interested in a book. Once reached, there is a part of the sewer that is very acidic. Makes you hooked, right? The pack soon reaches them and many fall into the acid. Many more don’t. Once they escape through a ladder and two more are killed, they end up in a womans house. Katniss kills her, and the group takes clothes from her wardrobe, there are also guys clothes, they head into the street. Skipping to after they hide in the cellar of a strange womans fur store, very boring, they go into the streets. After a few hours of being crowded in the streets, it opens up into the deadly part of the sewer. I literally mean opens up, like the street folds inward. Katniss and Gale barely escape the threat. Gale gets captured, and Katniss runs to the center of the capitol, where the president of the capitol lives. The children are huddled into a fence that is surrounding the presidents home. What part of that would you say you would not want to read? All of that was very amazing. I wont give away the whole book for those of you who haven’t read it, but you definitely should. Mockingjay is number 4 of my favorite books of all time. (First three are: #1, Bud not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. #2,Hunger Games by Suzzanne Collins. #3, The Moves Make the man by Bruce Brooks.)

  2. wferriter September 27, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    Brian wrote:
    She goes unconscious and wakes up a couple of days later. If you remember from a little earlier in the book, there were troop movements (rebels) in every district, and the rebels had about half of each district before she blacked out. So its no surprise that the rebels finished off the few that remained loyal to the capitol in just a few days.

    Here’s the thing, though, Brian: How likely is it that a bunch of rebels can stand up to the entire government successfully in “just a few days”? Wouldn’t the government…who’ve been in power for like ever…be able to hold off the rebels for more than a few days?

    If not, why didn’t they rebel earlier!

    For me, the biggest problem, though, is I wanted to see Katniss leading the rebellion. She’s the star of the series. She’s the one who started the rebellion. She’s the one with the military talents.

    And she’s making commercials.

    Way5, but nothing more from me.

    Mr. F

  3. Gibson Girl *2* September 27, 2010 at 11:53 pm #

    I agree with you Mr. Ferriter. It’s boring. And the summary is “My name is Katniss. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.” or something like that. If you can’t come up with a summary better than “My name is Katniss. Why am I not dead? I should be dead,” then I’d bet money (if it wasn’t against my religion…) that the book that is summarizing is pretty lame.

    I give it a Way.10.

    ☺Blair☺

  4. Brian September 28, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    Improbable that a small group of rebels could overcome a powerful, established government? Sounds a bit like the Revolutionary War, where a small group stands up to the greatest power on the earth and ultimately wins. The speed at which the rebels overtake the rest of the districts is a bit fast, but not impossible. The fact that the little guys toppled the big guys intrigues me.

  5. Armon K. September 28, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    I’m going to hve to go with Brian here, she was literally forced to do those commercials, put into the battlefield (yes for about ten pages) and needs to get some good footage to show that the rebels mean buisness. Whether it’s shooing down planes to inspiring (to the rebels that is)quotes by the Mockingjay herself, this was a serious page turner. Another thing, does a book really NEED to have fighting for it to be a good book? Come on, in my opinion as long as I am interested and it sums up the other 2 books its really good. Katniss does get hurt alot and wakes up to this: ” Oh yeah Katniss we controll 11 districts now” or ” WE WON” the reason for this is that Suzanne Collins did not want to have Katniss be in every single seen all at once. I mean Katniss is eventually going to get hurt, but thats because some people in the districts think she is a monster for causing this whole mess. Must she do everything?? I agree with Brian on alot of things such as getting intruiged ( im pretty sure i spelt that wrong) by suprising moments. Another thing is that having sad moments like the hospital or the kids in front of the house. These types of things make me thing: Why does this happen? Why does this affect the main character? Those questions are always in my head waiting to be answered. That is why Mockingjay is a good book.
    There are so many suspenseful moments that MAKE you want to drop everything and read this good book.
    I do think that Mockingjay is better than Catching fire. Not action wise but thought wise. About 50% of this book was to answer all questions from books 1 and 2, and sum up the story with a bang.
    My scoring: WAY 75.
    This may not convince you to change yout rating, nut i’ve been dying to share my opinon from the day you said it was horrible. If it doesn’t convince you oh well, i spent 20 minutes of my life sharing my opinions. Thank you approving this blog.
    Oh by the way….. MY top 5
    1. Bud not Buddy by: Christopher Paul Curtis ( Brian and i can back that up with HUGE explanations another day)
    2. The Hunger games
    3. Levithan (so far)
    4. Witch and Wizard By: James Patterson ( Best author on earth)
    5. Theodore Kid lawyer Boone By: John Grisham (highly recommended)

    • ryan September 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

      Just for your information Armon if you think the Leviothan was a good book, than I think your missing a link or something. I only liked the first 60 pages of the book Leviothan. The reason why I dont like Leviothan is because all it talked about was a REALLY REALLY long boring book of how a girl covered up as a boy just crashed in a cave by a hot air balloon not working the way it was supposed to! You can keep enjoying the book if you want but im worning you, it is not going to be a pretty sight after page 60!
      way:15
      -Ryan

      • Emma A. September 30, 2010 at 10:27 am #

        Ryan says… I only liked the first 60 pages of the book Leviothan. The reason why I dont like Leviothan is because all it talked about was a REALLY REALLY long boring book of how a girl covered up as a boy just crashed in a cave by a hot air balloon not working the way it was supposed to!

        I completely agree with him, I read the first 15 pages of Leviathan and was immediatly bored because it didn’t catch my attention at all. Now, I know “Read the whole book before you judge!” But why would I want to read a book that didn’t catch my attention and the beginning. I believe, if you don’t enjoy the first couple of pages immediatly drop the book!

        The part that I did read from Leviathan…
        Way:10

  6. aroc September 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    I am half way though Mockingjay and it is good. Mockingjay is kind of a let down because it has almost no fighting in it I mean compared to the Hunger Games it is a compleate let down. I think it is a little fast with the rebels haveing control of the districts but it makes sense to me.

  7. Brian September 28, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    Ryan, I’m more than halfway through the book and it is a page turner. Its not just that a girl disguised as a boy, its a bout a prince in the run from his own country, too. Somehow, through a strange turn of events, they both end up in Switzerland. The girl ended up there because her ship was shot down. The guy because he is running away from the people that murdered his parents. Its really a great book if you read past page 100.

  8. Brian September 28, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Now, back to Mockingjay, I still don’t think that it only deserves a Way5. I’m thinking you don’t like it because it doesn’t have AS much action as the first two. But it still got me hooked when Katniss was walking through the remains of district 12.

    When she wrote I KILL SNOW, as one of the conditions to be the rebels mockingjay, I got very interested. When it was announced she was to go to district 8, a district that was thought to be completely under the rebels control, I got actually bored. I assumed there was nothing but Katniss addressing the people of district 8.

    I was completely wrong. At the beginning, she only walked through a hospital, encouraging the afflicted. After that small bit of depressing thoughts, Katniss walked through the streets, heading for a place that I can’t quite recall at the moment. The bombing then happens.

    I’ll stop talking about the action of the book, for this post. But, would your first reaction after me telling you the bombs started to drop, then stopping the writing right after be to wonder what will happen to the party? That would be a common reaction. Sadly, Suzzanne Collins doesn’t do exactly that at district 8. But in many other parts Collins does. That is part of what made me love Mockingjay so much. This is not the only reason it is so great. I might write them later on, but for now the only way to find out is to read the wonderfully amazing book!
    Mockingjay might even seem better after this argument about it. Its moved up to the all-powerful Way80. That’s all from me for today, so read Mockingjay!

    What i didn’t add for the last post talking about Leviathan, is the rating. It is probably a Way85, at least at page 385.

  9. Emma A. September 29, 2010 at 11:29 pm #

    Now, I have only read the beginning of Mockingjay, but I strongly enjoy this wonderful page-turner. I loved the ending of Catching Fire and thought it was a great way to end the book, and to continue into the last book. Now, I know there is a very strong contraversy over how the ending turned out, but so far I really like the book. Mostly the idea of District 13 still being there and having them kinda being the home of all the District 12 survivors and rebellions really interests me. Also, I love the first couple of pages when Katniss walked through the remainings of her long lost home, it really helped you understand this horrible situation she is in and how she is taking care of it. Peeta is being held by the capitol, her district is destroyed, she is the face of the rebellion against the strong capital, and is kind of in a daze or confusion of some sort; her thoughts mix around, she doesn’t pay attention much… she is just honestly confused. I mean, imagine being in her situation……..

    • Emma A October 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

      My score of Mockingjay so far….

      Way60

  10. Sam September 30, 2010 at 8:44 pm #

    Mr. Ferriter said:
    up. That’s right. The whole story is about getting back at President Snow and Katniss never gets that chance. The whole story is about rebelling against the Capital, and all but two of the districts are conquered in pages that you never get to read. The whole story is about Katniss the hero, and she spends the entire book making commercials.

    Now, maybe my reaction is partly because I was so jacked for Mockingjay. Maybe I’m just disappointed because Mockingjay didn’t live up to the hype—or to the action—of the earlier books.

    Now i can understand why you might be a little disappointed…mocking jay definitely wasn’t the best out of the series, but it was NOT the worst…i thought it was a little slow at the start, but it picked up and really got me hooked!

    Oh, and Katniss defiantly did not spend the whole book making commercials…she was only doing that so people would have some hope and know she was alive…with out her the never would have survived. To the people Katniss was a hero..and she needed to give them hope.

    And Mocking jay in all would probably be the second best out of the series…it was better then catching fire, which was i total letdown to me, and worse then the Hunger games, i will admit. About catching fire, it was horrible, it seamed like a total repeat of the hunger games, it seamed to me like the author was having a writers block, it was the same exact thing!

    In catching fire you knew Katniss and Petta were going to live…why? Because there was a 3rd book coming out and there the main characters…in mocking jay at least the was some suspense, i mean the author could have just said, “and then they were all dead” and ended the series like that, and i thought she would, but yet the characters lived.

    Also i thought it was defiantly un-predictable when Katniss’s mom and Gale never came back to 12, there home. I never would have guessed that Peeta would end up being the one for Katniss, that was a good ending, and completely un-predictable..all in all mocking jay was awesome, and i wish there was another book to the series!

    • wferriter October 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

      Sam wrote:

      Oh, and Katniss defiantly did not spend the whole book making commercials…she was only doing that so people would have some hope and know she was alive…with out her the never would have survived. To the people Katniss was a hero..and she needed to give them hope.

      But Sam…If Katinss is supposed to be a hero to the people, shouldn’t she be doing something heroic instead of making commercials?

      You’re proving my point!
      Mr. F

  11. alex ram October 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    personally, i think the hunger games did not need a sequal, let alone a sequal to a sequal. the hunger games series would have been better just as a singular novel. if only suzanne collins put the effort of books two and three, into improving part one (which is horrible.) nobody can argue with that.

    back to mockingjay… i am on page 20 or so, and the book starts as katniss, the main charachter, in the ruins of her poverty rich home district, which was apparently bombed by the capitol, and is in ashes. she is then saved by district 13, but before this, she runs into the woods of her now burned district to round up survivors to 13, for a widescale rebellion opposing the capitol

    ???????????????

    did i miss a book?
    or two?

    how am i supposed to understand that? all that was explained in less than 30 pages. that could have been a part 1, but it took suzanne collins 20 pages to explain what could have been a book 3. and even so, another thing, i have heard from people that there are not hunger games in mockingjay. just something in district one. big disapointment. i was expecting an actual real hunger games in an arena. BIG DISAPOINTMENT. even though it would not make sense, i wanted hand on hand combat once again. maybe in district one?

    hopefully. but seriously, somebody help me understand the first 20 pages…

    next time I read a book by suzanne collins, i will check to see if it is 50 pages or less.

    i probably should not be leaving a reply about a book i have barely started, but whatever it is, i hope i find action and suspense, just like the mockingjay i hoped for.

    how is this for a pushback?

    are you ALWAYS right?

    i gues we’ll find out

  12. Blair G. October 8, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    I only read most of Mocking Jay. Well, not even most! I read to the top of page 138 and a little voice in my head became a screaming voice, “NO!!!! NOT THIS KIND OF BOOK AGAIN!!” and I dropped it.I mean, really? just for Gale to make himself look *even more* pathetic, just to get Katniss to kiss him. I gave this book a way 10. And that’s being generous.

  13. Sam November 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Mr Ferriter wrote:

    But Sam…If Katinss is supposed to be a hero to the people, shouldn’t she be doing something heroic instead of making commercials?

    Ok, so yes, she should take some action…but she can’t do that without help, and in order to get help she needed to get the message out, “im alive people” so they could help her, until everyone knew she was alive in the first place no one was doing anything but laying around hopeless! And she did do something heroic…after she had the chance!

    • Brooke January 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

      Mr Ferriter wrote:

      If Katinss is supposed to be a hero to the people, shouldn’t she be doing something heroic instead of making commercials?

      (Sam already responded to this, but I have a response, too)
      She Is being a hero to the people simply being the Mockingjay is heroic! And when she is being filmed at District 8, and she is visiting the wounded people when bombs start raining down, Katniss risked her life to help shoot down the planes and save the wounded. I do think it was kind of rude for Gale to break the other man’s nose by stomping on him, though. But they had good intentions.

      Katniss was very passionate about the people she was appearing to and that’s one of the reasons she shot down the planes. and when she gave that speech at the end, I found the “IF WE BURN, YOU BURN WITH US” very moving. I think Katniss is very inspirational.

  14. Amy November 30, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    I agree with you Mr. F. After I was done reading the book I wanted to throw it against the wall. The only problem was that it was a library book. All of the other books were filled with romance, suspense and action, but Mockingjay was just boring! The main parts that were interesting were about Peeta and toward the end when Katniss was in the capital. She sneaks in does a little fighting and killing. Then she loses a few friends in battle. The worst part is that she went through two hunger games, lost her home, lost her friends, all most lost Peeta and loses her sister to just be knocked out by a bomb while they overthrow the capital. This is what made me mad. I also did the same as Mr. F, dropped everything to read except school and sports to just get let down. I would rate this book a Way5 just like Mr. F.

  15. Blair G January 17, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Sam says:
    And she did do something heroic…after she had the chance!

    What do you mean, after she got the chance? Like at the end of the book… she listens to Snow and kills Coin? Or when she was trying to get to Snow in the first place? Or airing the commercials of her fighting (those weren’t very intriguing)?

    But if I had been writing that book, I would have made Katniss seem a little stronger. Like shoot a flaming arrow at Snow and THEN shooting Coin.

  16. Ryan M. September 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    The most annoying part of this book is when it seems that Katniss and President Snow are about to fight, and Katniss gets hit with this grenade thing and just blacks out. She then wakes up in a hospital bed and that exciting moment is almost instantly over.

    It’s totally just lazy writing be Suzanne Collins. She could’ve easily just expanded that climax a little bit. I mean, I could write something better than that. I always trust Suzanne Collins to write good books, and she usually does. But, as you said before, Mockingjay’s a letdown.

    -Ryan M.

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