(Warning: There will be Spoilers)
Summed Up Impression: Sad, Shocked, Heartbreaking, Serious, Intense–all leaving me in the end = Heavyhearted.
Yes, this has taken me FOREVER to finally review and put out there. First, I must say I needed time to process this book. Then the holidays took over my life. Then I had to return and review the book, take notes, watch other book-tubers reviews (to refresh my memory on things/points I may have missed) and finally–here I am!
Here’s a funny thought I had: My feelings at the end of Mockingjay could have ended up being very different. I believe Allegiant saved my impression of the ending of this series. *chuckles* Those who read Mockingjay years ago when it first came out (2010 – 3 years before Allegiant was released) seem to have been slightly disappointed with it. Then again, it seem to be just like Allegiant‘s reactions–there were half pro-ending, half con-ending. Allegiant, to me beat out all crippling ending books by a landslide. That being so, I wasn’t mad at Suzanne Collins at the end of this series, but I was definitely heavyhearted about it.
So much to say but not sure how to say any of it…so bear with me–here goes:
From the beginning–chapter one–Katniss is visiting what is now the non-existent District 12 which was obliterated by the Capitol once the Quarter Quell Games began. Katniss takes a trip to see the remains, taking it all in alone. The end of Catching Fire, Gale tells a wounded Katniss as soon as she wakes up from unconsciousness that District 12 is gone. She goes to visit her old home, the one before becoming a Victor in the Games, and then to the Victor’s Village home where she finds a white rose, President Snow deliberately left to shake her. This symbol becomes a prominent element that haunts her till the very end. It’s so sad and impacts you reading her inner dialogue, her struggle, her mind tormented, traumatized by all the events that have taken place.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she finds out Peeta–the boy she finally realizes she loves–has been captured by the Capitol, and Haymitch did not keep his promise. All along, keeping Katniss alive was the true mission because she is to become The Mockingjay for the District 13 Rebellion (dum, Dum, DUMMM!) This for a lack of a better term, PISSES HER OFF!
My heart was mourning Peeta’s lack just as much as Katniss’. More than half of the book and no Peeta–not really, if you count his brief TV appearances as him being around. I fell in love with Peeta in Book 2 and here we are Book 3 and there’s barely any Peeta–whoa! And don’t get me started on when he finally DOES show up…well, sure, get me started but let’s get into that in another paragraph or two from now.
Katniss finally and reluctantly accepts President Coin’s offer to be The Mockingjay–Gale’s encouraging–and her first connection with what it means to be this symbol happens in District 8–at the hospital with all the wounded who reach out for her–they’re broken, dieing–just the sight of her, give them hope. This scene touched me. Collins described the reality of war in this scene, leaving no gory detail behind. I was there with Katniss. I felt the heat, I could smell the stench, the rotting wounds, the metallic blood fogging the lack of air in that tent. It was an emotional scene. Then the freaking planes came to bomb it and I was feeling Katniss’ rage, and anger over this inhumane injustice. Here we meet the leader of District 8, Paylor, who is not afraid to face danger and kick some ass. (she ends up playing a big role in the ending)
President Snow…man, talk about a well written villain. There were parts in this book where he made my hairs stand on my arms. The way he was using Peeta. At first, you don’t fully understand what is going on with Peeta. You assume, logically they are threatening and torturing him to say the things he has said on air during his interviews with Caesar. Then…oh, THEN! Okay, let’s get into it now:
Peeta comes back!
“yay” Peeta has been rescued, Katniss is running to see him. I feel the anticipation, the need to jump into his arms, hug him, kiss him, cry with joy that he’s back…and then…HE FREAKING TRIES TO KILL KATNISS? What the hell just happened?!
I literally put the book down.
“Why? Why would Peeta do that? I don’t understand.” My heart stopped.
I mourned throughout the rest of this book at Peeta’s condition. He was brainwashed to hate Katniss and think she was a Capitol mutt. My heart broke. It broke more when they tried and tried and couldn’t fix him. The interactions between Katniss and Peeta when he was finally able to be calm in her presence–his cold, angry, sarcastic, resentful demeanor–it was so sad. I wanted to slap Katniss a few times here. Her defense mechanism was to become cold and hard in return. I was mad at how she was handling it. I knew she was hurt but it wasn’t helping. Gale was able to swoop right in and take advantage of this time.
In the end, he knew it…her heart was Peeta’s, no matter what he had become or was going through, she loved him. She tried moving on with Gale, but she couldn’t keep lying to her heart. She tried, but Gale called it.
I applaud Collins’ ARC for Gale. It was beautifully done. From the beginning, there were flickers of who he was and who he was growing to become. In Book 2, it was his moment to rise up and act upon years and years of conspiring hopes and plans. In Book 3, he rises to a certain level of authority (Which sways back and forth at times for coming to Katniss’ rescue or just taking her side on things). In the end, where Gale ended up made complete sense. It was well done.
This was a book about WAR, and every aspect of WAR, we most definitely got.
When you’re an adult reading these YA dystopian series, you forget sometimes that these are sixteen, seventeen year olds dealing with more than any teenager, or even adult should ever deal with in a lifetime. Katniss goes through SO MUCH, that for the ending, Katniss’ ARC was slow to come around…like…20 years later slow. (epilogue) Initially, it upset me but then I remembered that this was a poor seventeen year old who went through the pit beneath the deeper pit of hell and she did it for love and in the end, lost that love she sacrificed everything for. She was left in the wake of a brutal, beyond repair reality where nothing felt, or would ever be the same again. Almost as though, her difficult reality prior to volunteering for the Hunger Games was a better way to live than everything that followed that one choice.
There was a time I truly believed we would lose Peeta forever. There was no curing him. He wanted to be sacrificed, left behind, not trusting himself to go through one of his “Kill Katniss episodes”. My heart ached over this Peeta. He was broken apart and not put back together correctly. The boy of the bread, who grew into a man in Catching Fire, now stood before us, changed, altered beyond his will, with aspects of him gone.
By the time they all ventured out to get Snow on Katniss’ “fake” mission, I almost couldnt get through the rest of it. My heart was heavy and aching. So much death. One catastrophic obstacle and failure after another. When those damn mutated white lizard people who permeated of Snow’s white roses came into the scene, I was sick to my stomach for Katniss. Her torment and trauma as these things hissed her name, desiring her blood and killing ruthlessly anything and everyone in the process was disturbing. They had creep me out.
When Finnick died…it all went downhill from there for me. Poor Finnick. Finding out what they did to him all those years in the Capitol–he was a sex slave–threatening him to cooperate for his love, Anne’s sake–heartbreaking. After getting attached now to Finnick–him and Anne finally getting married, her pregnant with his baby–UGH! My heart needed a moment after Finnick died. Not Cool.
Then hell broke loose. Death everywhere. Chaos. Hopelessness.
AND THEN…After EVERYTHING this series based itself upon…PRIM…DIES…
Excuse me…I need a moment…
I mean, seriously! (moving on)
President Snow is captured, Katniss confronts him one last time, and she finds out Coin (who I never trusted) ordered the bombing where all the children and wounded were–that killed Prim.
Katniss kills Coin instead of Snow, gets put away, Snow coughs blood while laughing to death (literally, that’s how he dies) and Katniss is ostracized to the non-existent District 12 with Haymitch, while Paylor of District 8 becomes the new leader of Panem. (told ya, she had a bigger role in the end)
Yeah, that was a mouth-full.
One of the saddest chapters I have read (next to the last chapters of Four in Allegiant-UGH-stabbed in heart) are of Katniss’ PTS (Post-Traumatic-Stress disorder) as the book comes to it’s ending were heart-wrenching. She is withering away, mentally, and physically during this time. At this point of the book, I was freaking out. There wasn’t much of the book left. I was sitting in bed thinking,
“It can’t end like this! Where’s Peeta? It can NOT end like this? How in the world is she going to end this?”
I was yelling in my head,
“Come On! Not another freaking Allegiant!”
In the end, Peeta returns–mostly himself again. He comes with bushes of Primroses to plant. District 12 is being rebuilt and he stays patiently by her side. One day, Katniss describes a kiss with Peeta that felt like the one at the beach in Book 2, where she knew, she loved him. It was a kiss like no other that they had previously shared for the cameras. The last lines redeemed all the trauma for me…hmm, well, redeem is too much of a hopeful, fulfilled word…it helped ease the trauma and ache enough to accept it, is more like it.
I did love this:
What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.
So after, when he whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.”
I welled up a bit just now reading those last lines. That was beautifully done. The elements, the “Talisman” symbols she incorporated in those last few sentences, bringing back things, moments of all three books was well done Collins. (i.e. The dandelion, “real or not real” game, etc.) Then the epilogue made me sad again. Twenty years later, and still, Katniss has episodes of PTS and Peeta still suffers moments of rising episodes from the brainwashing of the Capitol. It’s sweet they have children and are still together and love one another, but in the end, the book leaves you heavyhearted.
I applaud Collins for demonstrating truth and reality of war, and then added the element of teenagers being thrust into the realities of this war to give you a bigger kick in the gut. You felt it, and I assume it’s what she desired to accomplish. I am grateful to her for not pulling off a Veronica Roth (sorry VRoth, I love you and you were my favorite YA author and your first two books were my favorite all time YA books…until Allegiant) and at least, in the midst of all that sad heaviness, giving our MC a glimmer of hope to hold onto…Peeta’s renewing spirit that helps her go on.
I loved this series. I can’t believe it took me so long to get to reading it.
I continue to stand by, that for me, personally, Catching Fire is my favorite of the three. Mockingjay was intense, and difficult to process in the end, but I didn’t dislike it.
For me, Mockingjay gets a:
Four **** out of Five Stars
Well folks, there it is. I had not planned on this being so long–my apologies. Would love to know what you all thought of Mockingjay. I am extremely excited for Part 1 & 2 of the movie. Sucks to wait another year for the official finale of it all but after seeing what they did with Catching Fire (HA-MAZING), I am definitely eager to see this final installment of the series through Film!
Happy Reading all!
<3, D. Marie