I really enjoyed The Hunger Games when I read it. The movie wasn’t so good, but JLaw could make a film adaptation of Cinderella’s Secret Diary worth watching (you can read my review of that turd here). Catching Fire was ok, but towards the end, the story and my patience with the dystopian world Collins had created was starting to wear thin. And then there’s Mockingjay. Dear dear. It isn’t very good.
**The Hunger Games/Catching Fire spoilers will follow**
The plot picks up immediately after Katniss’ rescue from the games arena by the rebels. She has been reunited with her family and Gale, and is stashed away in their underground headquarters in District 13. While some of her allies from The Capitol have been saved, Peeta is still in the hands of President Snow, and out of a desire to save him Katniss agrees to become the figurehead for the burgeoning rebellion. The rest of the novel charts the exploitation of her celebrity/talisman/cult status by the top brass of District 13, against a background of the progress of the battle against the Capitol. Luckily for her (although perhaps not the reader), her celebrity affords her considerable freedoms in this totalitarian state, meaning there are the usual interludes of Katniss not being able to decide who she prefers kissing, hunting small furry things in the woods, and having panic attacks/tantrums. And then the book ended, thank goodness.
I think the biggest problem I had wasn’t the clunky writing and preposterous dialogue (books one and two had plenty of them too), it was the complete collapse of Katniss as a likeable or believable character. I went from caring about and rooting for her in The Hunger Games to totting up how many pages I had left to wade through and thinking ‘oh for God’s sake stop whining’ in Mockingjay. She goes from being a feisty, independent spirit who kept her family alive despite her grief at the loss of her father and made it through a horrific contest in one piece, to a pathetic, feeble mannequin, who spends most of her nervous breakdown worrying about boys. By the end, her twisted thought processes and absurd decisions are on a par with Bella Swan’s, and feel like a complete betrayal of the Katniss of old. Not good.