Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Informal Lazy Book Club: Mockingjay!


I need to discuss Mockingjay! I have finished but Leigh is just starting Catching Fire, so I'm barely speaking to her for fear of letting something slip. And I know there are people out there who have finished, but have no place to discuss without causing a riot because you've posted spoilers. I figured those of us who have finished can discuss in the comments section so we don't ruin it for anyone.

So, obviously, if you have not finished the book, DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS!! For those of you who have... I would love to hear what you thought!!


  1. I have so much to say, but I'll just start with my initial reaction. I finished the book and literally sobbed (thank goodness I was alone) for ten minutes straight. I had to go back and re-read the last 10 pages just to be sure. I think I felt such relief that it was over - not that the books were over, but the Hunger Games were over. And I LOVED the ending. I could not have asked for more.

    I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

  2. I haz no thoughts because our DAMN POSTMASTER SENT MY COPY BACK.


    So, I'm crying for different reasons.

    But I'm so glad to hear it that it is a great and fitting end to the series and that it wrapped up the series without losing its way the way so many other series ends (Breaking Fail anyone?)

    Now if you will excuse me, I have a postmaster to go yell at.

  3. I have so much to say about this book!
    The ending: I would have RAGED if she didn't end up with Peeta, so I was TRULY happy about the ending. And I had a hunch that she would end up with children, only because she kept insisting that she'd never have them. :)
    Now for Gale: Wow, I knew I'd fall in love with him in this book, but there is something about the last part of the book that made me sad, there was not enough closure for him. Yes, he's in another district with a great job, and we can assume that he ends up happy. But for me, it wasn't enough. I needed to SEE him happy and I wanted to know that he was still checking in on Katniss to make sure she was okay. It upset me that he didn't (or that we didn't see it)
    While I loved this book, and the ending had me crying HAPPY tears, I just can't overlook the fact that i was confused by things:
    1. Several people had mental illnesses as a result of the games or the capitol. Annie: She seemed to get better (or did I imagine that?) but there is no explanation as to why. Same goes for Finnick after the Quarter Quell. And Katniss, and Peeta. These people all seemed to get well, but I don't know how/why. With Peeta we at least see people trying to help him decipher real from not real, but I wanted more, it felt unrealistic.
    Also, can someone tell me why Katniss voted to allow another Hunger Games in the ending? That baffled me and I can't help feeling like I'm missing something there.
    I knew a lot of people would die in this book, but I really held out hope that Cinna would be alive. But, OMG, the way he planned in advance for Katniss and her role in the rebellion really kept his memory alive and made me CRY happy and sad tears.
    Other horrific deaths that I did not see coming: Finnick and Prim. CUE MORE TEARS!

    Best unforseen moment: Katniss killing Coin! Wow, that had me cheering out loud. Again, Katniss saves the day by preventing the citizens from another president who was power hungry and didn't value human life.

    I'm sure I have a ton more to say but my thoughts are SO jumbled! :)
    All in all, I loved it, but felt like it lacked the tight story line that her other books had. In the first two books, I felt like every word counted, each line had a purpose. Of course I didn't see this until I re-read them, so maybe I'll feel the same way about Mockingjay when I've read it again . . . but I'm not so sure.

    (LisaCA707 - Twitter)

  4. Let me start by saying that I did love the book. Really, really, really loved. BUT there was one part that bugged me to the point that the end was almost ruined for me. And that's still bothering me this morning (I hoped it would pass).

    My minor problem: I bristled at the re-introduction of Peeta to the story. I thought it created a tension that wasn't necessary to the plot, but more than that, I think I really wanted the original Peeta to be there for Katniss and for them to travel through the final "hunger games" together again. Keep each other safe, as Katniss pointed out. But the more that I thought about it, the more that I realized that this version of Peeta was true to the story and true to the world they lived in. As much as I didn't like it, it seemed honest, and I was able to move on.

    My major problem: The scene after the parachutes drop outside Snow's mansion. I honestly thought that was a dream sequence and read it very, very quickly, trying to get to the "real" story again. A page or two into it, I began to realize that this was the real story and I had to go back and re-read. I was completely flummoxed by the change in tone and pacing here. It really made no sense to me. Collins has always taken such care with her characters and the telling of her story, and this seemed so rushed. It rang completely hollow for me. One sentence about what happened to Gale, what happened to Peeta, what happened to Cressida and Pollux. What? A quick synopsis of Katniss's recovery and the imprisonment of Snow. Even up until the point where she was walking through the room of roses, I thought that this MUST be a morphling-induced dream. That she was going to wake up on the battlefield and that we would get the real story. I wanted the story of Katniss as warrior and was really disappointed that she was incapacitated at the end. I felt as though the story got back on the rails with the assassination of Coin, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that something in the telling was missing at the end.

    I worry that Collins was rushed in her story telling (the story's too long! tighten it up! you need to get to the end!) because this seemed so completely out of character for her. Maybe I just wanted more story than I got.

  5. Ashley - that's a good point. I had to go back too, because I was a little confused. I think we were all expecting some big show-down with Snow, and so it did feel a little anti-climatic. But without that scene, Katniss would not have made the move against Coin.

    And I actually did see her assassination of Coin coming. Or maybe it's better to say that I wanted her to do it, so I had that in my mind when it happened. Not that it was "predicable" by any means, but that was what I was pulling for from the beginning of the book. I had a bad feeling about Coin and the way things were run in 13 - it felt too controlled and could end up just like the Capitol. Esp when her prep team were found locked away.

    I just read over at Alexandra Bracken's blog that some people are calling Katniss a "bad mother" based on those last two pages. I'm shocked by that. Seriously? I think it's obvious how much she loves her children - she wants to protect them from the horror she had to endure. Thoughts?

    And, Peeta. (I'm c&p'ing my thoughts from Alex Bracken's blog here:) I was always confused between the two boys until I re-read CF last week, and then I knew it would be Peeta. Gale didn’t listen to Katniss. And when he said (in MJ) “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without,” it really hit me that he didn’t understand her, or what she’d been through. I mean, to a degree, that statement is true, but not in the way he meant it. Peeta had been the only one to calm her – ever, and that is what she needed “to survive.”

  6. Oh - and the part where Katniss votes yes to another Hunger Games. Yes, that was troubling for me. It's hard to reconcile how she felt about the games with that vote. But then I think maybe she knew what she had planned, and she knew it would never happen. But then, of course, why vote yes in the first place? And I really thought Peeta would never forgive her for that.

  7. Lisa - I think that Katniss voted for the Hunger Games at the end b/c it presented her to Coin as an ally not a threat, which allowed her to assassinate her. I was so confused by her choice until she changed the trajectory of the arrow. Then it clicked.

    And I must be missing the whole bad mother thing. I can't think of anything that would cause that reaction, but again, I was completely distracted at the end by the things I list above.

    What I truly thought was going to happen was that Katniss would die, would sacrifice herself for the safety of the people. I thought that would be the truest ending to the story and for her character. Especially when Peeta came back murderous. I thought that sometimes there are no happily ever afters, and that's okay. But to kill Prim instead was painful.

    And yes, I wholeheartedly agree about Gale, which ties directly to my comments above. I felt like there was too much missing from the big picture and it kept me from enjoying the end.

  8. I thought about that ending - Katniss dying, and I really believed it would happen a few times. But I think that she deserved a happy ending. I think that is part of the relief I felt. Katniss and Peeta both deserved what little happiness they could find - in each other and in their children.

    And Gale - I agree - there could have been more closure. I wondered last night (after reading) if he really dropped out of her life so completely. She was sitting on the rock, realizing it was too big without him there... and then nothing. But then again, what more could there have been? Perhaps it was too painful for them both to continue their friendship?

  9. Ashley!
    Thank you! THANK YOU! I'm not sure how long it would have taken me to put two and two together with Coin and the Hunger Games vote! I think you are exactly right! Phew, I feel so much better knowing and understanding that! Just another one of Suzanne's brilliant moves that really makes you think deeply!
    I feel bad criticizing any part of the book because I really do love it, but I wish I could have had the chance to be one of her pre-readers and offered her some feedback before it was complete. OH well, still and AWESOME story that I'd recommend to EVERYONE!

  10. I think she could have killed coin without having to say yes to the hunger games. What was the point in that? would coin not have been there if she had said no to the games? Also the whole snow thing dying on his own on the pole??? what??? how is this possible after two books of hating the man how did nothing come of it?

  11. so i love the hunger games and catching fire and the whole series, but mockingjay has been under my skin ever since i finished it. I've always been more of a Gale fan than a Peeta fan, but I could have come to terms with the ending if it would have made logical sense. After everything Gale and Katniss have been through, it makes no sense for them to just have a few sentences exchanged and then turn their backs. And the fact that Prim died and then Katniss passed out or whatever you'd like to call it seems pretty ridiculous. The whole ending just seemed extremely rushed.

    But, criticism aside, and looking at the series as a whole, it was magnificent and beautiful and poignant. I just wish that Collins had added two or three more chapters in at the end for more closure and a more solid ending. But, that's life.

  12. I really loved this book!

    I have to say i think the killing of Prim was a way to have Katniss's pick of Peeta a little more palatable for the Gale lovers. She would never be able to pick Gale because of the idea that it was his invention that killed Prim.

    As for her voting for the Hunger Games, I agree it was a way to make Coin think that Katniss was on her side. I also think it was a way to make people believe she had really lost her mind and that when she killed herself the people who loved her would think that was the reason.

    I really liked how Snow died, it was kind of poetic justice. I choose to believe he suffocated on his own blood. In all his years of poisonings, he in a way died of the same thing because he caused the damage to himself

  13. I'm loving everyone thoughts on this story! <3 I'm *slightly* obsessed with this series. It seems like most people (including myself) aren't quite as happy with Mockingjay as they were with the first two books. What a bummber, but YES, still an amazing series!!!

  14. I JUST finished, and Stacie is going to be upset that I haven't talked to her yet, but she's "out" doing "mom things" *huffs* so she's not answering her cell. So y'all have to deal with me instead. I have SO SO MANY things to say about the ending...

    I'll start with Gale. I admit I was solidly Team Peeta after CF, but most of the way through MJ I kept waiting for him to die. I assumed it'd be Gale with Katniss, if she survived, and I didn't like it. I knew they'd love each other, but they wouldn't be GOOD for one another. It would be TOO harsh, TOO abrasive. And as for Gale "checking in" on Katniss... well, that doesn't really make sense, does it? When he realized that no matter what, they SHOULDN'T be together, then he needed to move on. And him moving on would be out of Katniss's sight. This is Katniss's story. I was completely comfortable with not seeing more of him because seeing him would just have been painful for Katniss.

    Speaking of Katniss, I have to say that while I *wanted* her to assassinate Snow and come out some sort of vigilante hero, how realistic would that have been? How would she have managed to get into his mansion? How effective could a 17 year old girl be against all of the forces? I spent the entire lead-up to the firebombing waiting for the other shoe to drop, so I wasn't surprised when it did. One person doesn't usually win against an entire armed force. Unless you're Angelina Jolie in a movie. As much as I LOVE Katniss, THAT would've seemed more unrealistic to me.

    As for her depression/morphling/absence... Well, again, it's Katniss's story, right? How many people have suffered from depression when NOT in war? I have suffered from depression in the past, and I found that depiction to ring true as well. To be so low that you can't even motivate yourself for suicide is a very real place that lots of people find themselves in. The fact that Katniss survived, that she and Peeta managed to find ANY life together, that's truly the most remarkable thing about horrors of human history. How many people survived the death camps in WW2 to remarry and have families? They were wounded, broken, but carried on. The ending of Mockingjay is the truth of our society's history repeated over and over.

    I actually feel that Katniss's mental state was the basis for the flow of the books, each one, including Mockingjay. Mockingjay felt different because KATNISS was different. We may not have wanted a mentally wounded heroine because physical wounds are easier to accept. But no seventeen year old girl could go through any of that without being fractured inside and out.

    As for Coin and Snow, I was SO GLAD when Katniss killed Coin. Snow's death wasn't anticlimactic to me because he was powerless at that point. The damage had been done and they were both villains cut from the same cloth. The difference was simply based on which place they were born in.

    The things that will stay with me from this series, that I can't shake, are how Suzanne Collins managed to capture everything that is right AND wrong with humanity. Children playing over a mass grave is a terrifying image, to be sure, but it's also very very true.

    I think it was masterful. Way to go Suzanne. <3


    I agree about Katniss and the idea of showdown with Snow. Remember when she smelled the roses in the tunnel and how she was almost paralyzed with fear? At that point I was thinking - there is no way she can pull this off. While part of me wanted her to look him in the eye and find her courage and kill him (in the midst of the revolution), I would have found that a little unbelievable too. And, I like the point you make about Snow's death. Good observation there.

    Another good observation? That MJ felt different bc Katniss was different. So true. From the start of the book you have a whole different perspective. There are moments of the "old Katniss," but they are rare, and you can see the sadness/depression/horror taking over. And the beautiful thing is that she DOES go on. Peeta comes with the primrose bushes and something clicks within her.

    I also really love how you've taken real-life events and tied them into to this book. WW2 - holocaust survivors - can you imagine how they might respond to these books? Very interesting.

    Okay, that's all for now. And I'm loving all the comments!!

  16. Also - Alexandra Bracken has a really great post in defense of Katniss:

    Crazy that people are questioning the ending like they are!

  17. Wow, the more comments I read about MJ, the more I realize just how awesome the book is (meaning, more awesome than I thought it was when I finished it) And I'm discovering that some of my complaints were stupid! hahaha So, thank you ladies for putting your thoughts out there! You're awesome!

  18. I think that Leigh took up residence in my brain and wrote everything I was thinking, but way better than I could have. I have to do a "what she said."

    The one thing I want to add to what Leigh said is that I appreciated that there wasn't a fairy tale ending. Collins noted that Katniss and Peeta still struggled, that they still had nightmares, that Katniss couldn't tell her kids about what she went through, and that Katniss struggled for so long about having kids. It wasn't all nice and easy, wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top, kwim?

    And I think it was completely understandable that Gale got a job in 2. What was there for him in 12? He knew he couldn't be with Katniss, whether or not she believed it was his weapon that killed Prim. I think he knew that Peeta was the right man for her. Gale had impressed people during the rebellion, I think, and was able to make a name for himself as something other than Katniss' sidekick. They all moved on, and that was good.

  19. Re: Katniss voting yes to the Hunger Games, when giving her conditions to be the Mockingjay she says, "I kill Snow." Coin doesn't agree to this outright but says, "I'll flip you for him." When Katniss voted yes, she was saying yes to Coin's idea. If she'd said no I think she would have been denied killing Snow...and the opportunity to take out Coin. I think Katniss realized that Snow was dying quickly on his own (between Fennick's testimony and seeing Snow for herself as he coughed up blood-no one lives long with that symptom.)

    I really loved this book. It rang true for me-Katniss didn't become too big to be believable. She did what she needed to, she survived. When she originally stepped forward to take Prim's place the goal was to save one child. In the end, she lost Prim and yet saved many generations of children to come. She wasn't just "that good" but kept doing the next right thing that she could tell given the information she was given.

    She wasn't all better and sunny at the end but she was forging ahead. She was a testament of what humans can bear and still find joy even though they can never forget. There is hope that something good can still come at the end of suffering and loss. Still, there is a cost.

  20. I absolutely *loved* this book. Especially the last line, which was so poweful and so concise and fit *so* perfectly. But I do agree that some of it felt kind of rushed. I thought it through a bit, and it makes a kind of sense when you think about the state Katniss would have been in after the two Games and the rebellion. She even said it herself, that sometimes she was unsure what parts of her life were real and unreal. Some parts feeling rushed might simply have been a product of how Katniss would have been experiencing life - some parts dragging out, some parts making a big impression, others simply seeming like a dream or being skirted because of the pain they would cause. Maybe the pacing wasn't as constant as in the first two books because Katniss wasn't as constant as a person and as a narrator.

    As to Gale in the end, I think it's fitting that he got a life in 2 and was never really mentioned again. If he had still been checking up on Katniss, coming back to 12 even if he didn't live there, would he ever have really been able to let go? And for her to let him go shows that, while she chose Peeta, she still cares about Gale. It would be an ultimate, eternal kind of torture to ask him to stay in 12 and watch the woman he loves live out her life with someone else. Even if he accepted it, accepted Peeta and her children and her life, there would still always be that nagging thought saying "that could have been OUR life" which I think would have ultimately led to resentment. Considering all that Katniss and Peeta and Gale had to work through seperately, they didn't need a resentment that they could avoid.

    All in all, though, I loved the ending, loved the series, loved the writing, the characters, the world, the everything. This series will have an important place on my bookshelf for years to come.

  21. I had a thought as I was drifting off to sleep last night. It killed me when Katniss voted yes to the new Hunger Games, even though she was voting for Prim. I couldn't understand it, and I still don't truly believe that she would have voted that way, although she was exhausted and had realized that (in her mind) nothing would ever change in the world.

    I realized later, though, how important that vote was to the basic writing of the book when Katniss explained why she and Peeta would have ended up together no matter what. She said she needed Peeta's goodness (he voted an emphatic "No!" to the idea of the new Hunger Games) to balance the fire and rage she felt burning in her (as evidenced in her yes vote). I got it then.

    In my heard, I wanted her to be with Peeta. But I couldn't let go of the fact that had there been no Hunger Games, she and Gale most likely would've been together--which, in my mind, meant that she and Peeta had been almost forced together by their circumstances. But Suzanne Collins took care of that with Katniss's yes vote and the examples in all of the books of Gale's rage and how he overlooked the innocent to see the grander picture, which was revenge on the Capitol and winning the war.

    But I gotta be honest: I still don't get Katniss's yes vote. If she were voting that way, overlooking the innocent children who would have been put in to get revenge at the leaders of the Capitol, then how could she have continued to be mad at Gale for his bomb idea?

    Either way, I loved, loved, loved the trilogy SO much. It seriously affected me, and was the only thing since Twilight that has touched me this much. Thanks for the recommendation, Stacie!

  22. To clarify: Katniss needed Peeta's goodness to balance her rage, which she felt she had too much of already, without the rage of Gale (if she had decided to be with him) burning along with hers. And I think Collins used Katniss's yes vote to illustrate her rage, sort of to prove that point. I wasn't sure if that was clear in my above post.


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