Okay. I have literally finished this like 15 minutes ago, so whether or not I’m in a position to provide an opinion not doused in tears remains to be seen. But I shall try.
To be honest, if asked for a rating after the first 100-150 pages of this book, I’m not sure I could have happily rated as I have. Yes, I understand there was a lot of non-action activity taking place but I don’t think that was the issue. For some reason the opening of Mockingjay lacked a little of the pizazz that Catching Fire wowed me with, almost as though the book had regressed to the slower opening I’d associate with The Hunger Games.
But then Peeta showed back up. I did wonder for a while if it was his absence that was bothering me about it. After all, he’d been with the reader throughout–as much a rock to their mental stimulation as he was to Katniss. So for him to show up and it not go quite as my mind envisioned it made me sit up and take note at last. So onward I read. And after spending a tonne of chapters intermittently peeved at Gale for decisions/attitudes he showed, I then began to get frustrated with Peeta. Frustrated over his situation, frustrated because this isn’t OUR Peeta–the one we’d all come to love. Frustrated because I couldn’t physically do anything to make him okay–just as the characters in the novel didn’t seem able to. I wanted Peeta back, dammit.
So, the reader is left to deal with their screwed up emotions over Gale, their frustrated emotions over Peeta, and then they have the death of a character to deal with. I’m talking about Finnick. I congratulate the author on getting me to so readily connect with this character. Because, as though I actually knew him, the moment his demise was certain, my immediate thoughts went out to his lovely female they’d rescued especially so they could reunite, and how his death would affect her in her delicate state of mind. But (luckily, I guess) just as Katniss and the remaining gang don’t have time to ruminate over it unless they want to join him, the reader is also nudged along with them and caught up in what comes next.
Unfortunately, with one bad happening leading to another, we’re not given any reprieve a second time. We’re tossed into the separation from Peeta, then the separation from Gale, and just as Katniss is left 100% to fend for herself, she is hit with the cruelist twist of fate she could possibly be pounded with. And just like with Finnick’s death when Katniss’s lack of time to mull is extendedly stolen from the reader, with Prim’s, her lengthened recovery from something so head-screwy means that the reader has no choice but to slow down and absorb the entire shock of it all, too.
So basically, by the time Katniss found her way home, and Peeta found it with her, and they once again found what was there all along with each other, this emotional wreck pretty much blarted like a fool. Damn, my kids even wanted to know what I was so upset about. I didn’t care that I had my suspicions confirmed about District 13′s dodgy president and was left guessing right up until the very end exactly who she had on her team and was checking out and watching everyone’s movements very closely, or that I pre-empted exactly what Katniss would do with that final arrow. None of that matters. What does matter is the authors ability to instil this level of emotional response from me–and that is what well and truly bumped this book back up to its 5 star rating.