Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Review: Mockingjay (2010) by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (2010)
Suzanne Collins

The final entry in Suzanne Collins's trilogy The Hunger Games is at least as depressing as the first two books. She still has some good ideas, and she cleverly spares us a third round in the arena (sort of), but it seems clear early on that Katniss Everdean has to choose between the lesser of two evils--the Capitol and the Rebels--and that once again no really good outcome can be expected. There is an ingenious plot twist at the book's climax to resolve some of this conflict, but all in all I think the series went on for too long and was too bleak. I realize that children today are exposed to very dark versions of, for example, Batman, James Bond, and any number of comic book heroes as compared with my generation, and that this gloom is supposedly justified by the terrifying world we now live in, as if it hadn't always been terrifying. Nevertheless, I feel there is very little reward for following Katniss's adventures to the dismal end. Worse, the series seems to decline with each book.

Current Hollywood plans call for splitting this final book into two movies a la Harry Potter. That's fine in itself, but they might think about lightening up the tone toward the end if they don't want to end up with a serious downer. J. K. Rowling, after all, considered killing off Ron Weasley but reconsidered. Suzanne Collins went ahead with her dark ending, but I can't imagine too many readers of any age are happy with the conclusion to this book.

Note:  My brief review of Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, can be found here.


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