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Friday, February 1, 2013

Writer's Update and Mockingjay - Review

Admittedly, I've been a lazy little author recently. While my plan for my new W.I.P WALLS is sitting just over 10,000 words, it's still incomplete and I have a feeling I'll have to backtrack and change some things, because I have no idea how to end it at this point. All part of the writing process I guess. 

Meanwhile, I wrote a short story that is loosely based on a situation I've found myself in. Last time I did this, it got published in the SpineOut Online Magazine. I think this might be one of my strong-points, so it's something I'm going to endeavour to do more often. Fingers crossed that this and all future attempts will be as successful as the first. 


In the early hours of this morning, I finished reading Mockingjay, the third and final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy. I felt a rush of conflicting emotions, which were ultimately overridden by disappointment. Not a huge surprise as I was warned by a few friends and other trustworthy sources that Mockingjay was the worst of the three. Allow me to explain what when through my head while I was reading and when I finished. *SPOILER ALERT FROM THIS POINT ON*

I LOVED the new setting and the overall events that occurred in Mockingjay. Katniss and all of District 13, the visits to 12 both for filming the propoganda and for Katniss's own personal reasons. The visit to District 8, which ended in an unexpected attack from the Capitol and the relationships Katniss formed with Finnick, the love/hate feelings between Katniss and Haymitch, the fact that Gale of all people went into the Capitol to help rescue Peeta and the other captured victors, Peeta being 'hijacked'. The plot had potential to say the very least. It was great, but unfortunately, it was the potential that kept me hooked, rather than how beautifully written it actually was. 

Overall, I'd say the disappointment and 'potential'-hook didn't hit me until the later parts of the novel when I found it became too repetitive with Katniss always ending up unconscious and back in District 13 for recovery, sinking deeper into insanity. Perhaps it's because the way it was written didn't communicate it right. I didn't feel much sympathy for her, when I think I should have. Especially towards the end of the book. Katniss had lead a revolution to victory and lost so much that she cared about along the way; her home and all of District 12, many friends who could not evacuate in time, friends like Finnick Odair and Boggs who were fighting alongside her in the war, and eventually even Prim, who Katniss had been protecting from the start. Yet all I could see by the end was a girl wallowing in self-pity. 

And then the ending, when she ended up back in District 12 and eventually with Peeta again... those last few pages of the book felt like an absolute flop to me. It was more like they were forced together for the sake of comforting each other, rather than actually being in love. And we don't even hear anything from Gale. What was his reaction? Do they continue their friendship? I'm still largely undecided on which of the boys I wanted her to end up with, if she should have ended up with either at all. I felt like she was supposed to stay alone, like she always said she would before the uprising. Whatever the case, it just wasn't the ending the story deserved. 

Of course, I still enjoyed parts of it. And not just because of the plot devises. After Prim's death, the beginning of the next chapter blew me away. I thought it was perfectly written, Katniss's feelings perfectly described. In that passage, I actually was able to appreciate Katniss and pity her. Peeta's hijacking was another pointer I liked, at least to an extent. His attempts to kill Katniss, and his attempts to control himself (although I found him a little 'Hulk'-like at times...), and the games of 'Real or Not Real?'. Then there's Johanna Mason. Well... need I really explain that little morphling-junkie to-be? 

The Hunger Games trilogy overall was enjoyable, but I found it highly overrated. They're good books, but they're not the greatest thing in the world. I can see why they became popular, but they're still nowhere near my favourite books. I'm still astounded by how poorly polished and proofread they were (maybe I'll apply for a proofreading job at Scholastic) and stand by what I said about a slightly less simplistic writing style being beneficial to some of the themes and issues. 

Who else has read the complete trilogy and would like to shoot me down for my criticisms? What were your thoughts on Mockingjay and The Hunger Games trilogy? 

- Bonnee. 

22 comments:

  1. Now I'm going to *have* to read them just so I can go back and read the middle 4 paragraphs of this post.

    Good luck with your projects!

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    1. Hahaha yes, you will :) Thank you!

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    2. In case you missed my response on my blog post, I did not get your message through blogger about a guest post. My e-mail is in my profile, you can send it that way.

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  2. hey Bonnee, i have to agree with you. the end of mockingjay had me shaken quite a bit. it was almost a bit sad and felt rushed. but then you need to ask yourself... what else could have happened? reaaly? sure she could have been by herself forever but isnt that depressing? im kind of happy for katniss and peeta because for some reason i always had a feeling that peeta was best for her.

    i think ive said this before, but im going to say it again. when i read the books (which was a while ago, mind you,) i personally didnt notice the poor grammar and spelling that you picked up. probably because i was too enthralled by the storyline and i dont have the proofreading/editors eye that you do c: but now if i read it again im sure now after reading what you've said ill pick some stuff up cx

    sorry for such a long comment too btw!

    love EJ xxx

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    1. Like I said, EJ, I'm undecided who she should have ended up with. I would have been quite happy for her with Peeta if it had maybe ended differently. As in written differently. Like I said, the way it was written made it feel forced. I agree that Peeta was probably best for her. Gale's passions are very fueled by hate and a need for revenge.

      Haha I can't help spotting those little slip-ups!!!! Aaargh! I have to say it ruins it for me a little, but I'm glad I can do it.

      Long comments are okay with me!!!

      Love you EJ xx :)

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    2. Yes I agree :) I find Peeta a bit more sweet than Gale and you said it perfectly...Gale is all about revenge. but i cant help but still remember he was a great friend for Katniss.
      but overall I really enjoyed the series, its minor defects aside.

      and hahaha you must have a good eye :D it is always good to have a bit of constructive criticism! now Im waiting for the next big series now Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight's books are all released...any ideas on what it might be??

      and love you too xx :D

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    3. That's what's got me caught up on Gale. Especially the way he just vanishes at the end, like he doesn't matter anymore. He did matter to Katniss and the emotions are never dealt with between them.

      Next... hmm. I dunno, I know that the next series I want to read are "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo/Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest/Girl who Played with Fire", "City of Bones/Ashes/Glass/Fallen Angels" and "50 Shades"(the last one is purely to see what the hype is all about, I swear!... and maybe for a bit of a laugh...). What do you think it's gonna be?

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    4. yeah exactly. from what i remember his and katniss' last interaction was pretty sour, wasnt it? but honestly its been so long since I last read it that i cant remember it all that clearly..

      anyway yeah ive heard good things about The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, theres been movies made of it isnt there? and hahah oh sure sure your only gonna read 50 Shades for a laugh :P i believe you.....not ;)

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    5. Yeah well, there wasn't much of an interaction between Katniss and Gale after the Rebels won over the Capitol. Gale got captured and Katniss forgot to shoot him. Then when Katniss killed Coin later on, she called out for him to shoot her and he didn't.

      Yeah there's a couple of movies versions I think. The original one is Swedish, I think. But that's okay, I'm used to subtitled movies. I SWEAR I'D ONLY READ IT FOR A LAUGH!!! Lol! ;)

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    6. Yeah mmm I dont like how things ended between those two :/

      haha anyway yeah i thought so. I get slightly annoyed with subtitled movies, but I'm going to have to get used to subtitles, and different languages for that matter since im going to Japan next year :p

      SURE SURE SUREEEEE :P

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    7. Arghhbobnwoneoksgjwgojsobhwogjskgosjg!!!!! Why is everybody I know going to Japan?! D: I wanna gooooooooooo!!!!!!

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    8. hahaha awwh poor Bonnee ;) ill post some pictures on blogger when I go! promise xx

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  3. I told you not to read it Bonnee but did you listen? no.

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    1. Oh hush you! I don't listen to ANYONE telling me what to and not to read...

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  4. I have been pondering reading them myself but I hear such mixed thoughts. I may have to get it over and done with!

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    1. I had the same dilemma :) I guess it's an opinion you can only make for yourself...

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  5. I think I'm in the minority in that I actually liked the ending - especially the epilogue - but there were so many other parts of the book that left me frustrated. Had I been reading a paper copy instead of an ebook, I'd have thrown the novel clear across the room when Prim was killed. I was so upset. I get that it's an impetus for the rest of the story, but it just felt completely unnecessary. I was also irritated when Katniss agreed to one more Hunger Games. I interpreted it as being her way of testing Coin, without any intention of actually following through, but wish that would've been made clear, because otherwise it goes against everything she stands for, you know?

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    1. I STILL CAN'T BELIEVE PRIM DIED!!! :( And THAT with testing Coin and agreeing to the second Hunger Games... I was so frustrated by that! It seemed really out of character for Katniss...

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  6. Hmmm, well I have to say that I completely agree with most of your insights. She deff does feel to much self pity. My main problem was the unwritten potential!!!!! When I read I often automatically envision possible plots or circumstances in my head, well virtually none of these were realized in Mocking Jay, she could have done so much more...
    The ending, well yes the writting wasnt to hot, and it was a little simplistic, but after having lived and really grown up in a post Communist Super Country, in ways similar to THG world; I understand where she is coming from. The deep social issues, what really matters once you have lost your home, family, and even the moral system of your soul; I think Susan Collins wrote the end sloppily and typical because she wanted to leave readers thinking not about the future, but the past, feeling something of what Catniss felt... She even admits this in some interviews about what the real purpose of THG was. Really, I think that the ending was brilliant because it totally left me open to take in the whole message of the books, and wonder about myself, not what Petta and Cat were doing; not hoping for another fourth book.

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    1. I know what you mean about the unwritten potential. Much more could have happened but didn't. I mean, plenty DID happen, especially in the Capitol. But still...

      I think Suzanne Collin's could have thought of a better way to leave the reader thinking about the moral of the story than with the ending she gave. Sloppy writing is not something I can agree with. I'm definitely not hoping for a fourth book, of course. Three is enough and the series found a new equilibrium. The 'sort-of happily ever after' with Peeta was unnecessary. The more I think of it, the more I think Katniss should have stayed on her own.

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  7. So I finally finished this. I tend to agree with you, it was disappointing on a number of levels, which included some editing and several moments of "Wait, who just said that?" Let's see...

    -I actually thought Gale was resolved reasonably well. She acknowledged that she really couldn't be with him because of his attitude and his probable role in Prim's death. I was okay with that.

    -I wasn't crazy about how she came to life at the end only when Peeta returned. It was a little too Bella Swan-ish for me. I'm not surprised she ended up with Peeta, because all through book 2 he was the one who could comfort her. Though after she voted in favor of the last games....

    -I wanted more of Haymitch. I think he was the most interesting character in the book, with a lot of depth to be explored, but he really disappeared as the series went on.

    -I agree, a little too much wallowing throughout the book by Katniss. Yes, she's a kid who would be scarred by all this and would feel guilt; I just felt like there were a few too many, "Oh, all the deaths I've caused" moments in the book.

    -The last Hunger Games. This is one of the biggest frustrations in the book, and a lost opportunity. After all she's been through, after the long-lasting impact of the games on her life, she agrees to it with BARELY ANY DEBATE! And one other thing: It's presented as, "We're either going to kill everyone in the Capitol OR we're going to have one last games, just Capitol children." But where's the protest? Where's the argument? Where's the CRAP TON OF FUSSING AND FIGHTING? There was none. It was, "Vote on this." Bang, it's done. What? And if it figured into her rationale for killing Coin, it really didn't come through.

    I didn't hate it, didn't think it was terrible, but it could have been so much more. But maybe that's on me and what I expect from a book.

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    1. It definitely had a lot more potential than the author took it up on. The coming to life over Peeta at the end, I agree, was very Bella Swan, which I hated, but I think I've accepted that they should have been together. I still think she and Gale had some sort of potential, but now that you raise the point of him possibly having something to do with Prim's death, it does put a bit of a shadow over things.

      I cannot believe she didn't debate the last Hunger Games! Why would her character agree to such a monstrous end to the war after everything she's been through? No sense!

      I'm glad you finished reading the series anyway. Thanks for putting up a discussion!

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