I can't adequately express my disappointment with the final installment of this triology, it was really lack luster, disappointing, and uninspired...and this is coming from someone that loves this story so much that I scheduled months in advance to have the release date off of work, just so I could sit around and soak up the story.
I'll admit that the series has always been a rather dark one, but it had that underlying promise of hope for a better future, good will triumph evil in the end, etc.. and characters so real that the reader was really invested in their individual stories. However, that aspect was completely missing in this book.
It was almost as if the author wanted to destroy everything and everyone just to make a philisophical point..and I'm not sure what point she was trying to make. We all know that war is terrible, but in every great tragedy their is always something redeeming or hopeful to hold on to. Not in this war; everything of beauty was taken away, everyone is destroyed physically, mentally, or emotionally, and in the end you are just left empty. The last ten pages of the book, meant to be a happy ending?...just aren't enough to redeem the characters, or repair the damage and heartbreak, the reader has experienced.
Mockingjay was my favorite out of the series. All three books were wonderful and had their own strengths but Mockingjay was my favorite. This series is funny at times, heartbreaking at times, and infuriating the rest of the time. I do not want to give anything away so all I will say is that if you have read the first two books and think you have seen the worst of it you are wrong some of the things that happen in this book were enough to drive the listener crazy with why’s and how’s. This was a great end to a wonderful series. I now need to take a break and relisten to something to give my mind time to get away from The Hunger Games Series (I can still hear The Hanging Tree, it’s haunting). As with the first two books I would recommend Catching Fire to any adult and leave it up to the parents of children since these books are very violent.
I found this to be a wonderful ending to this epic trilogy. It went on so many twists and turns that I had no idea where it would end up. I would guess what would happen next, and though I was right, the book would amp up what just happened to levels I wasn't expecting. It is quite violent, but that's the nature of the series, and I applaud it for being so gritty. All in all, this is a series that should be read. Dark? Yes, but also quite moving.
As for the narration, I found it to be excellent. Carolyn McCormick did an excellent job of mixing up her voice for the various characters without being silly. Some of the voices, basically those of Capitol characters, might have seemed a bit silly, but that actually fit the characters best. All in all, she did a superb job!
I found the first two books of the series to be enjoyable and thought-provoking. Any first book of a series is full of discovery and often the most eye-opening as was The Hunger Games. The second book can sometimes be a sophomore slump, but I thought Catching Fire was as entertaining and moving as the first.
I anticipated Mockingjay would hold the same kind of discovery and adventure. Instead, I found the plot to be haphazard and confusing. I was left with questions throughout the book. I expected many to be answered by the book's end, but as the time wound down I became frustrated knowing that some of my questions would not have answers.
The dark edge of the book did not bother me and I enjoyed Carolyn McCormick's narration. She has become a character of the audiobook series.
With all that said, if you are a fan of the book, you will undoubtedly have to listen to this book, too. While I am disappointed in some of the aspects of the book, I do not regret listening to it.
Normally the second book in a trilogy is the most difficult to write. Yet in this it seems as if this third book was the one that was off kilter for Collins. Perhaps it was the pressure of the success of the first two. Or perhaps it was simply difficult to end. Regardless, I found the book to be somewhat disappointing. Katniss, who never really understands her role or grows into it, becomes a whining brat. She became a heroine with no redeeming characteristics. Constantly hurt, unable to support a single person, she is a liability to the rebellion. While she displays moments of being a "real live girl" they are short lived and she is undependable at all turns. Gale, on the other hand, is a far more interesting character and becomes better developed. But then Collins just throws him away at the end. And Katniss, of course, watches without doing anything. She doesn't even follow up later when things have settled down. The story line was hard to follow and did not have the "edge" the first two books had. It was just another war story at that point. The fact that Collins brought back the arena was irrelevant because she didn't really use it. When the war ends, neither side is really victorious, which is a typical ending to any war in fiction or real life. The ending lets you know what happened to everyone, but it is disappointing. I looked forward to this book for months, but it was all hype. McCormick reads the book in the same style as the first two and I have to give her credit for keeping outrage at the cardboard handling of the characters out of the narrative. Nothing is new or fresh in this book. Save your money if you wish, although it will be tough to not finish the series if you've read the first two.
I just finished and after having really enjoyed the first two I was really disappointed. I am afraid of even slightly spoiling this for anyone so I give warning I will not reveal what happens but it may be contrived from what I have to say from this point on.
I felt the story had so many opportunities for what may have been somewhat predictable to the average adult, but satisfying conclusions, and yet it did none of that. It came so close- to the point where i found myself annoyed wanting the story to just get to it, and then it almost does, but by sort of narrating what happens through what Katniss is told rather than by showing us, which would have been far more interesting, and what happens falls so short of answers. I don't know if I am making sense, but those who read Catching Fire will remember the last chapter where we are told what Katniss is told by her mentor about what happened after the hunger games. So much of the end of this book as well as much of the middle is like this. As though the author did not really know herself what she wanted to happen and threw something together at the last minute to just finish the book.
It reminds me of the days when I would write a book report on a book I only half read and then looked at the cliff notes for the ending and interpreted it slightly wrong in the retelling.
once scholar, now bibliophile
I'm assuming if you're reading this, you've already read/listened to the first two books and plan to read the last but are looking here to see what to expect.
Throughout the trilogy there is the opportunity for the characters to develop, but yet they remain shallow and in many cases one-dimensional. For example, Katniss, who plays the part of a pawn throughout the first two books, never redeems herself. Towards the end of the book when she has the opportunity to kill Snow, she has one moment to become a strong and worthy character; the reason behind the decision she finally makes neither builds her character nor endears her to the reader. In fact, the reader is never quite sure why she makes her decision--there are only brief allusions. Also, her decisions throughout the book are so contrived, I believe the general adult reader sees most of the action coming.
I'm the type of reader who expresses herself verbally when she reads (or listens to) a book; very often I'm like that annoying person in the theatre who laughs too loudly or yells out, "Don't go in there!" This book made no impression on me. While it was still a "page turner" and I listened to the audiobook for nearly the twelve hours straight, there is nothing in this novel that really stands out as original or philosophical. I'm never in love with any of the characters with the exception of Prim or Finnick, and as such I never had an overwhelming response to who dies. Katniss isn't strong, she's dull. Gale isn't down to earth, he's vengeful. Peeta isn't peace loving, he's broken. The story is tragic but predictable. It's clear that Collins never loves her Katniss the way Hardy loved his Tess, Larsson loved his Salander, or even Meyer loves her Bella.
One note on the narration: sometimes it is difficult to determine if a character is speaking or if it is part of Katniss's inner dialogue. McCormick doesn't adjust her voice enough sometimes for me to hear the difference.
The final book of the trilogy is as riveting and well constructed as ever. Don't let negative reviews keep you from finishing the series. Mockingjay is definitely worth the listen.
However, I think the author tries a little too hard to make it realistic. I am not usually turned off by dark twists or psychological trauma in books. In this book, though, I sometimes felt frustrated and disappointed by some of the depressing twists and unnecessary deaths of major characters I had grown fond of.
Of course war is horrific and traumatic. Of course novels need death and conflicts (both internal and external) to hold interest and simulate reality. But the beauty of fiction is that it can be made better than reality — not necessarily idealistic or even uplifting, but at least satisfying. At the end of the day, I don't want to walk away from a YA book depressed.
The first book was great. The second book was good. The third book seems to focus on 'message' at the expense of character development and storytelling. Disappointing.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - Almost everyone has seen the movies, read the books or heard of the Hunger Games series. This final book does not disappoint. The Capitol and President Snow are under attack and out for revenge, and Katniss has become the figurehead of the rebellion. The characters we've come to love must continue to band together and fight for what they believe in, as opposed to being in the arena. They aren't super-heros. They are young adults who are forced to grow up in lives they didn't chose for themselves, but they are smart, brave and resourceful.
The story has lots of action and violence, so there is loss and sadness. The conclusion doesn't tie everything up with a big, happy pink bow, but it's realistic, positive and very good. It's also hard to predict. With only 45 minutes left to listen, there are still major questions unanswered, so the story is suspenseful to the very end. I wanted things to turn out a little differently, but overall it's the perfect ending to a great series.
PERFORMANCE - Initially I didn't like the narrtor's voice, thinking it sounded too old for Katniss, but I've come to totally accept her and enjoyed her performance.
OVERALL - Recommended for just about everyone but, due to the violence, I wouldn't recommend for below about age 15. Great book, great series. Definitely listen to them in order, and definitely get them!