Ok, so I just finished reading the book, and I can honestly say I don't know how I feel about the ending yet. I don't really want to post spoilers yet, because I don't want anyone getting mad at me, and my mental state isn't ready for that.
However, I will have you know that I cried. and teared up at least a dozen times.
CV - It's 2:14am and I just finished Mockingjay. Honestly I feel like I've been reading for days and have only just come out of some sort of trance. That's a good thing.
But I'm with you. I don't honestly know how I feel about the ending yet. My first instinct, and not very spoilery at all, is that there were a lot of false endings, like Lord of the Rings, which softened the emotional impact it should have had. That being said, I'm not sure how I feel about it as a whole. I think I need some time to let it settle. And maybe some sleep. Maybe dinner. Or breakfast?
Cool! I finished around 2am as well and wanted to scream, but didn't want to wake up the family. I almost threw my book when you-know-who died. I was like, WTH? Wasn't that the whole point of the story anyway? To save her? That part really annoyed me.
As far as the neatly tied ending, haven't processed that yet.
Robin "A glass slipper is only a shoe. Dreamers who only dream never have their dreams come true."
Up until the last 50 pages, this was my favorite book in the series. Then, well, the last 50 pages happened. I feel that Collins switched gears from simply telling a fabulous, entertaining story to trying to teach me a lesson: War sucks, and everyone suffers in the end. What I feel should have been a logical progression of plot morphed into a whole boatload of death and destruction for the sake of shock value. Well, heck, I know war is hell. I don't need it preached to me.
It's not like this ruined the whole series for me, or anything. I still enjoyed Mockingjay, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the books to others. I just feel let down--not because so many beloved characters died, but because it didn't feel natural to the story. Look at the last Harry Potter book. JKR axed plenty of characters, but it flowed with the plot. It felt believable and real. Then ending of Mockingjay didn't, at least not for me.
I loved the book, it was so well written and I enjoyed it so much. The hanging tree song? Absolutely brilliant!
That is, up until the end.
I agree with the comments above that there was something off about the ending that just didn't flow with the rest of the story. After everything we've built up to, there was so much telling me what happened and almost no showing me what happened. Most of the important conflict moments happen while she's drugged in a hospital bed or locked up. Which is sort of anti-climatic when she's our hero. And the death? I didn't...I don't know. It didn't feel right. After everything that has happened from the very beginning of book one, all of it was for nothing. She still dies.
I don't mind tragic endings. It just felt like after everything Katniss and Peeta have gone through they deserved a more heroic, satisfying ending. Even if they had died. I even kind of prefer if they had died. They were just kind of depressing and lifeless. The message I took away was "It doesn't matter how hard you work or how much you sacrifice." I wanted more for them. After everything they'd been through.
There's no romance, no love, no satisfaction, no enjoyment, no pride. Just a lot of misery and suffering.
I still enjoyed the book, no doubt. The second book remains my favorite. This would have been my favorite except for the dramatic change in tone in the last few chapters.
I think what bothered me more was the absence of the romance between Peeta and Katniss. The development of the relationship is what pulled me in. Yeah, the action was well written and pretty amazing, but Peeta and Katniss made it more than an action book.
My main issue with Mockingjay was the absolute lack of any compassion, sweet moments, tenderness, etc. It was hard core depressing from beginning to end. At least with HG and CF there was the redeeming hope of romance with them.
Also, Finnick? really. C'mon! That was unnecessary. Prim? I'd rather Katniss died protecting her. Johanna? All the training for nothing. Its almost like she was built into the story and then forgotten about, a little disappointed.
Sommer, I agree with the show not tell thing- I was actually thinking that as I was reading it, but she did that in the first third of CF.
Overall, MJ tied up loose ends and illustrated how horrible mankind can be to retain power and control. I'd read it again, its well written.
Robin "A glass slipper is only a shoe. Dreamers who only dream never have their dreams come true."
Well I won't read it again. The ending just depressed me. The only time Katniss showed any type of feelings it was towards Gale and then he just disappears from the story. I don't buy the relationship between her and Peeta; the ending makes it seem like she just settled. The 'girl on fire' became the 'girl who gives up hope and lives a depressing life, taking whatever scraps she can find'. The ending with Coin was good (but predictable) then after that there was nothing. Just loss.
*Spoiler Alert* I have to say that I disagree with you guys. At first, I was totally shocked and angry that she was killed. But after I let it process, I realized she had to. If she didn't die, Katniss wouldn't have confronted Snow, therefore putting doubts about Coin in her head. If she didn't die, Katniss wouldn't have assassinated anybody and the cycle would have been repeated. There would not have been a place for Peeta's child to grow up (the beach scene, Cathching Fire). As for Gale, they did have a goodbye. The scene where they discuss the bomb. I do agree that the ending felt rushed and I did miss the romantic moments between Peeta and Katniss, but there are very subtle moments in this book that brought tears to my eyes.
Man--I'm so glad you all are here b/c so far I'm the only one I know who's finished, and I was SO disappointed. For all these reasons you all are giving. The inconsistency, the preachiness, the telling, the absolute lack of compassion or caring. Yes, why Finnick? Why Prim? The conclusion was dissatisfying. The message: Everyone's corrupt & no one can be trusted. So cynical.
I understood that the whole book was supposed to be one big Hunger Game, but by the end I felt like one of those moles in that Whack a Mole game. Katniss would be another mole.
(P.S. Did anyone else get Descent flashbacks from those underground muttations???)
This was a very rough book, that's for sure. Very little in the way of lightness or hope, which I get - they were in the thick of war - but still. As someone mentioned upthread, even during the brutality and horror of the Hunger Games, there were still moments of happiness and hope.
The ending threw me, as well. After the explosion, I was really confused when Katniss ended up in the hospital and just... nothing. The war was over, everything was resolved while she was unconscious, Haymitch goes back to his drinking, and weeks/months pass. The momentum felt lost. And I always have a hard time when protagonists fall into this depressed funk where they just sit and do nothing for long periods of time. I understand that she was traumatized and any normal person would probably react much the same way, but... protagonists aren't supposed to be normal people. They're not supposed to sit in a kitchen staring into a fire without changing their clothes for MONTHS. I kept hoping she'd really take up the mantle of the Mockingjay and become the embodiment. But she wouldn't. She hated every minute of it and was constantly going on about how she was no hero.
Peeta felt totally lost to me, as well. I get it, but he was just gone. Replaced by this rather unlikeable shell of himself. Very little happened to improve that until the last page, when it was, "Oh, and Peeta got better and we healed each other The End." I did like the closing lines, though. I kind of wish she'd ended it there instead of the epilogue. Sure, it's nice to have the image of Katniss and Peeta raising a family, but I didn't need it.
All that said, I still enjoyed it a great deal. Dark, moving, and horribly beautiful. I ended up caring about Fennick, when I hadn't given him much thought before. The turmoil and pain of war was well-drawn, I thought. The imagery was visceral.
Okay, I'm late to the party as usual, but I finally got through Mockingjay.
First of all, thank goodness she didn't kill off Gale. Whew!
Of course, midway through the book I kept thinking he would be better off with anyone but Katniss. For a heroine, I thought she came off as a total basket case in this novel. She spends nearly two-thirds of the book in the hospital angst-ing.
I agree it was well written. Fabulous at times. The first half had that same Hunger Games spark, but then, I don't know, something shifted. All of a sudden the stakes got too real, as if the author had a statement to make instead of a story to tell. A little preachiness seeped in maybe? I don't have a problem with the message, but the delivery was a little heavy-handed. And, yeah, a lot of people died who didn't need to, IMO.
And I agree with others who said the romance between Katniss and Peeta felt a little false at the end. I don't know, those last few pages just depressed me. I now imagine Katniss as a shlumpy, middle-aged woman in sweat pants with two kids tearing at her all day while her husband is at the office selling insurance. Not what the image of the heroine of the Hunger Games ought to be. Maybe I'm being over critical, but I just wished she'd had a little more of a triumph at the end.
Has anyone else had time to process more and see it differently?
Wow! I have to say I'm a little surprised at the feedback. I thought MJ was right in line with what she started to tell back in book 1. I didn't think there was preachiness seeped in because the whole thing was supposed to mean something. And Even though I was sad to see a lot of characters go, that's war. With the exception to the mutts, I think the whole story line was completely plausible and she stayed true to that through out. Even Prim's death meant something. They didn't start a war to save Prim, she was just the reason Katniss fought. It was the author's way of saying, hey look! Even sweet little Prim is willing to give her life for the cause. The epilogue was totally necessary. In that short two page conclusion you see the entire point the author was trying to make. War is ugly, it takes away lives and leaves people shells of who they used to be. But sometimes war is necessary. You don't fight to save yourselves. You fight to save your children. Ok, who's getting preachy now? Sorry, I had to defend this book. It's worth it.
A friend of mine, who has also read the book and agrees there is something wrong with the ending, told me I'm going through the five stages of grief. I think she might be right.
It has been a few days and some of how upset I was at first has gone away. (I've moved into acceptance) But not everything. I think I've narrowed it down, at least, to what I'm actually not ok with. I think the reason I really loved the first two books was because of Katniss and Peeta...not their relationship, I mean their courage and power and fire. The girl on fire right? But when it is finally over, neither of them are on fire. Neither of them have much of anything to them. Empty shells. And maybe that's what happens after war...but Katniss and Peeta aren't normal people. They aren't normal soldiers. They were the heroes. The strong characters that inspired us. They aren't much of anything in the end, and I don't buy it. And I don't like it.
That being said, I still haven't changed my mind that I loved the book. Which is weird, because usually when books disappoint me in the end, they retroactively take away my enjoyment of the rest of the book. Not in this case. The book is still beautiful, haunting, and dark. The writing is killer. The secondary characters are powerful and I loved them. But I just don't buy the ending and I don't think any more time or consideration is going to change my mind.
I thought I'd share this because I love music matching my book experience and a lot of book blogs have been posting The Hunger Games soundtracks of their own. A friend sent me this song and I realized it was kind of the perfect song to the ending of The Hunger Games series. It's pretty sad, but applies to pretty much all the characters (most especially to Gale). Hope you enjoy it!
lol @DTW--I had the same reaction of "at least she didn't kill Gale." Sheesh. SC did seem to be on the warpath this go-round. Appropriate, but still.
I (like some) am still waiting for my disappointment to pass. Don't want ot be Owen Glieberman reviewing Moulin Rouge... But so far, I still don't care for the book. The overall message is very cynical, despite the tacked-on ending. I don't take it as "war is bad" I take it as "everyone is evil." Everyone in this book, even Gale, betrays Katniss. I dunno, maybe that's just real life. But wasn't there some post here about serving raw meat as opposed to a nice, prepared meal?
Ultimately she loses everything, and that last 'graph didn't make up for the previous 300+ pages.
I guess it's the bleakness that's getting me. Katniss deserved better.