Catching Fire, or: Why I am not going to read Mocking Jay

This will be a short criticism, but I feel the need to get this off my chest: I will not be reading Mocking Jay. Yes, I read the first and the second, but if someone were to tie me to the couch and read the thing aloud to me, I would simply refuse to listen.

My reasons are threefold:

1. I did enjoy aspects of The Hunger Games, but, as I said in my previous post, I think Collins’s strength lies in the fact that she used a literary trick to make the pacing suspenseful and engrossing. Using the same trick in sequels is simply tiring.

2. The writing. Oh! The writing.

3. I simply cannot abide by a character who watches friends get killed, kills people herself, and then spends the train ride home wondering which of two boys she will date.

Also, three young adult novels were published this year with the title Mocking Jay (or close to it), and if I am going to read any title with a bird in it, it won’t be Suzanne Collins’s.

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2 thoughts on “Catching Fire, or: Why I am not going to read Mocking Jay

  1. I know I have been totally stalking your blog lately, but I really enjoy your reviews!

    I also found myself completely unenthusiastic about this series. Katniss felt like a standard, cookie-cutter version of a strong female lead. She was tough but sweet, worldly but also extremely naive. She was whatever the author needed her to be in whatever situation she was in.

    The most interesting aspect of the series is, as you say in your book one review, that we viewers are emulating the capital voyeurs without even realizing it. Especially since the movies have gotten so popular. Jennifer Lawrence very much *is* Katniss Everdeen. The circumstances are slightly different, but she is famous and revered for her rebellious attitude and her portrayal of strength. Teenage girls are wearing their hair in long braids like capital girls did in the book. Mockingjay pins are everywhere. It is this kind of beautiful and poetic irony that she has found so much fame by playing the girl who had fame thrust, unwillingly, upon her.

    I’m curious if you’ve read the Maze Runner series?

    • No worries, I’m always flattered by blog stalkers (though I have few stalking non-family members). I’ve enjoyed your comments. Even though I’m a librarian, I don’t feel like I spend enough time talking deeply about books, so I always appreciate someone engaging with my reviews!

      Fascinating point about the ties between the in-book audience and the real-world audience! I hadn’t thought of it in this way before, but you’re absolutely right. Again, this brings up the concern: did Collins intend to put her audience in the shoes of the capitol-ists? If so, what did she mean by it? Is it an extremely subtle criticism of society…. or was it accidental? Either option is scary in its own way.

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