Have I distracted you enough? Have you noticed my complete LACK of reading children’s books in the last month? Lets face it, it has been a complete lack of reading in general. Oh yeah, it might be because of this giant move to New York. Between packing boxes, agonizing over which books to bring into my small new apartment, unpacking boxes, wondering around Brooklyn, and starting my new job I have managed to not only purchase a book but also read it.
Luckily, Suzanne Collins was there to motivate me out of my slump with her finale to her three-part series, Mockingjay. Unfortunately, the anticipated sequel to Hunger Games and Catching Fire left me kind of….meh? Complete with shoulder shrugs and squinty face.
Don’t get me wrong, this book has got some killer plot ideas (no pun intended…well maybe a little bit) but for me, plot means nothing when the writing is lacking and I, as a result, am distanced from the characters. And that means a lot because I loved these characters in the other two books, I felt connected and informed. I don’t know if Collins was on some rushed deadline or what but her prose is sorely lacking in Mockingjay. In fact, there is this particularly awful bit where the first person narrator slips into a third person narration and whether it is done in some attempt of dramatic effect or not it is extremely off-putting and feels out of character for Katniss.
I will also note that Collins had quite a challenge with Katniss. It is hard to connect a reader to someone who is slowly losing their grasp on their ability to deal with emotions in general. It is emotions, these fundamental aspects of all humanity, that are common links between characters and audiences and when they are not present (other than simple lines like “Later, the human feelings will come”) because your character can’t even process them it is hard to get connected. In the same breath, I think it is interesting to present such a character and I may have been thinking a lot more about that if the first half of this book hadn’t disconnected me.
The prose also has a static feel, as if Collins completely relied on her engaging plot to suffice. There is little description of reoccurring characters (I had no idea what Gale or Finnick looked liked other than ‘handsome’). And you know what, I can’t blame her for thinking that way. The gigantic fandom of the Twilight series has proved that it is plot, not prose, that matters to most readers and it seems, at least in the case of Mockingjay, that Collins has joined in.