If My Mockingjay Don’t Sing

Finished Mockingjay.

Loved Mockingjay.

But wondering: why all the middling reactions toward Mockingjay? I wouldn’t call it “hate,” exactly — but I was warned repeatedly that the third book was essentially a big disappointment from the high of the previous two. Lots of “ehh,” “mehhh,” “pbbbt” reactions.

To which my jaw drops, my eyes launch out on springs, my tongue rolls, and the floor drops out from under me. Dang, I did not find that to be the case.

Your job, then, is to explain your disappointment (if you desire) in the comments.

I will not fling aspersions toward your general character. The question is not subject to any wrong answers. I mean, sure, I’ll throw flaming bags of poo at your head. I kid! I kid. They won’t be on fire. Sheesh.

My thoughts (and this will contain some very light spoilers):

The book was unflinching. Unflinching. This is not a shiny happy book. It is a book about children and war. It is a book where lots of characters you care about die. It is a book that again puzzles me and haunts me with the question: “How the hell are they going to make this into a PG-13 movie?” Seriously. Blood. Gore. Children dying. Nightmarish images. Murder. War. It’s not splatterpunk, but it’s not Harry Potter, either. Any effort to water this down to an acceptable family-friendly rating potentially does harm to the story’s message, a message carried on purpose by such grim, unceasing nastiness.

The book felt to me as the natural conclusion to the series — it carries the “game” motif back into play, this time on the battlefield. It pays off on things to which it was building. Nothing out of left field. For the most part the characters we care about are… concluded properly, I suppose you could say. Only one sticks out (Finnick) as feeling narratively inconclusive (and actually a little strange).

And yet, the book remained surprising, too. At no point did it feel rote.

The ending was pitch perfect, for me: like a shot of espresso, the book was super dark with a very bittersweet finish. I’ll say it again: not a happy book. And it does exactly what I was exhorting the other day — the storyteller is an emotional manipulator and the best and most memorable stories are the ones that truly made us feel something. Collins doesn’t fuck around. She’s constantly kicking you in the spleen, punching you in the kidneys, wrapping her hands around your throat. The woman knows how to hurt her audience. And the ending doesn’t do much to salve the wounds — a little. But not much.

So, chime in.

You read it?

You like it?

You find it disappointing?

Color me curious (which is actually a robin’s egg blue!).