Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book Thoughts: We now live in a post-Mockingjay world...

So my original plan was to blog immediately after reading Mockingjay, but I was so flipping tired at 4:45 AM, that I chose to pretty much crash straight into bed. And then sleep through my alarm and not wake up until 9:30. For the record, I'm supposed to be starting work at 9:30, not getting out of bed.

My feelings towards Mockingjay are complex, but out of deference to the fact that many of you probably haven't made it to a bookstore yet, or haven't received your Amazon shipment, I'm not saying anything on the front page of the blog today. I might have more to say on Friday - depends on if I've managed to really process the book yet!

However, it takes an extra click-through to get to the comments, which in my opinion makes spoilers fair game there! Feel free to discuss all the details of Mockingjay in the comments, and if you're still reading the book, for heaven's sake, stay away!

Tonight or tomorrow I'll post about the Books of Wonder party! Complete with pictures!


Tia said...

I just finished and am so disappointed. I thought Katniss was dull, the pacing was off, there was no real tension or excitement, and the very ending came out of nowhere. I'll still consider Hunger Games my favorite YA, but I'm really upset it ended like this.

Angela Craft said...

Oh thank goodness - I was afraid I was the only one who would feel that way!

There were a lot of great moments in the book for me - for example, when Buttercup came back to Katniss in District 12 at the end, I just started sobbing. Prim's death made me sad, but the darn cat guarding Katniss at night just made me lose it.

I felt the love triangle took too much precedence and. AND. The ONE THING I did NOT want to have happen was some Harry Potter-esque epilogue. When I saw there was an epilogue and it started with kids playing I very nearly threw the book.

Anonymous said...

I never considered 'Hunger Games' a romance, which is why I always thought the whole "Team" business concerning the boys was silly.

And yet... this novel felt very much full of romance. And its not that I don't like romance. But in the first two books, it was about survival and then had an undertone of romantic interest. In this book, it felt all about the romance with the survival/rebellion being a back drop.

All in all, I was disappointed. And yes, the epilogue made me groan.

Tia said...

Uh, yes, the epilogue was terrible! And after that one paragraph--"And then Peeta and I got together, cause, uh, we hung out a lot?"

Katniss seems to lose so much of her independence and autonomy in this book, and she never really gained it back. She's hysterical a lot, and I definitely agree about too much love triangle. And then to focus so much on the romance only to not really resolve it. Gale's hanging out in 2. Peeta's here.

But I also loved the Buttercup moment at the end. I liked Finnick's development. Truthfully, I can't think of much else I liked!

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Throughout the book, I was caught up in the action, and I paid little mind to the romance. Though, I have to admit, when Peeta got hijacked, I kind of switched to a "Team Gale", as repulsive as the "Teams" are.

I didn't like the ending at all. When she killed the President, I just kind of went "Dang". Because I didn't like that Snow got to kill by himself--this was the man who poisoned so many, and basically ruined Katniss' life. And you're going to kill someone else, over him?

Prim's death made me sad, but not enough to cry. And while I was happy Katniss got her "happy ending", I felt it should've ended with the "Real," because that would've left more up in the air, to our own imagination. I hated the epilogue.

As a whole, I liked the story up until about page 320. Then, it just went sour for me.

Angela Craft said...

Tia - you're right about Katniss' autonomy. She's been a pawn in the first two books, but always with an emphasis on doing it on her own terms (singing to Rue, choosing Wiress, Beetee and Mags as her preferred allies, etc). This time she stated the end terms up front...and went along without question. Part of it I'm sure is the fact that Coin made it clear that if Katniss were suspected of anything but enthusiasm in her mockingjay role all deals were off, but we saw absolutely no inner-turmoil from Katniss on that point. All of her angst was about the boys. UGH.

And since we hadn't seen Katniss conflicted at all throughout the book, her sudden turnaround on which president to execute definitely came out of nowhere. And I really feel her character was cheated a bit when her trial defense was all boiled down to being crazy. Again. Learning about the trial reminded me of when we learned about what had been going on outside of the arena in CF - a couple of paragraphs in the last few pages and bam, we're done, when really that should have been a gripping part of the story.

I don't think I ever would have been totally happy with the way this book ended (since I was sooooooooo against any settled romance. A happy romantic ending for me would have been Peeta and Katniss at a more neutral place in their relationship, finally free to see what would happen *without* Capitol influence), but the epilogue really killed everything for me. Have authors learned nothing from the backlash against the epilogue in HP7?

GeeBee said...

Parts of the novel almost seemed to be written by other writers--like when you go to writing workshops and start a story and pass it on to the next person. Katniss seemed incredibly uneven, dazed, and unsure of herself. I was surprised it didn't end w/her realizing she'd be better off w/out both guys (she even said this!), but then again, NOT surprised. The one element of the series that has always rubbed me wrong is the Twilight, torn-between-two-lovers element, which seemed overplayed. Still, I was fine with the ending. The Epilogue didn't do much for me--wasn't as hokey as HP7's was, but to me the actual ending of the book was Katniss' line to Peeta.

And she'd been injured so many times I didn't believe it was as bad as it seemed when [pick a catastrophic event] happened. Too repetitive in that way. So when Prim died in that scene, I didn't believe she was even hurt until I read the next chapter.

GeeBee said...

I also got weepy when Buttercup showed up at the end. When the "hospital" got bombed I was sad, but not teary-eyed.

Does anyone know if Collins was rushed to put out the final book?

Angela Craft said...

GeeBee - Well, I assume Katniss was dazed and unsure was because she kept getting injured ;-) No, I agree, she did seem to get catastrophically injured a lot. I'm going to start re-reading, possibly even today, and I'll keep an eye out for the repetitiveness. It didn't quite register the first time through, but I certainly started the book with rose-colored glasses, hoping that this would be an epic and fitting end for the series.

The bombing of the makeshift hospital in District 8? No, that didn't get to me either. After all, the Capitol has bombed entire districts, even destroying an important resource in District 12's coal. So killing the wounded was terrible, but not uncommonly evil for the Capitol.

Part that made me gasp and was one of the major shocks for me - Finnick's story of being pimped out by President Snow. I literally gasped when he said that President Snow had sold his body. It totally changes how I look at Finnick.

I know that by October or November last year (whenever she visited Books of Wonder for Catching Fire), she was still working on the book. I imagine that was re-writes and that sort of thing, however. Undoubtedly she had less time for Mockingjay than Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but I don't know if it would have been so short it would have drastically effected her writing.

Melissa said...

SO glad I'm not alone in disliking the way this series ended. There was so much potential for this to go really well, be really intense. But the more I think about it, the less I like it as a book. There are elements I did like. I did like how she kept me guessing. I liked Peeta's development at first, but then he just went back to being boring. But - and is this horrible of me? - I wanted, WANTED, Gale to have been absolutely responsible for the bombs. No wishy-washy maybes. I wanted something definitive. Wanted a show down, at least with Gale. Disappointing.

Angela Craft said...

Melissa - I don't think it's terrible at all, but I think the ambiguity about Gale played into a lot of the greater ambiguities. One thing I did enjoy about this one was how explicitly war is hell and it's rarely black and white. So while I also wanted some conclusion on the bombs, I think it played into the greater theme of the book.

A showdown of sorts, however, would have been awesome. On the other hand, why did Prim have to die? The whole story started because Katniss didn't want Prim to die. And at the end of it all...Prim dies. For Katniss, on a personal level, what was the point of all she has endured if she has failed in her first goal?

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