Opinion by Carina Leaman

You’ve been captivated for the past two books. You preordered the last installment, ran to the mailbox every day, snatched the book from its box and read it in four hours straight.

You shouldn’t have bothered.

Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, is the third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. And while the first two books were captivating and beautifully written, the last book just fell flat.

By far, Catching Fire is the best novel in the Hunger Games trilogy. In what world is the second novel of a trilogy the best in the series? The first sets up the characters, the second is the rising action, and the third is where everything goes crazy. It’s supposed to be the climax of the entire series, and it’s always the reader’s favorite.

But the plot–carefully constructed and developed in the first and second books–simply fell apart in Mockingjay. It’s just battles and death and war and disappointment. Apparently, The Hunger Games just isn’t interesting without the Hunger Games.

The character growth in Peeta Mellark was a very fascinating downward spiral. His transformation was extremely unexpected and very well written.

But while there were a few interesting additions to the characters, their fascinating new arcs and backgrounds were snuffed out when half of them died in the blink of an eye. And while death is something that is necessary in a book involving a gruesome war, these deaths were not handled well. One moment they were there, the next they weren’t, and that was it.

No grief. No reflection. Just gone.

But perhaps the most frustrating piece of the novel–even the series as a whole–was the ending. The idea of it is a wonderful way to tie up an otherwise lackluster novel, but it wasn’t enough. The unfortunate way Collins writes the end doesn’t give the events enough of a focus. They just happen, and she moves on.

Anyone who’s read the first two installments of the Hunger Games trilogy needs to read Mockingjay to wrap up the series. Just know that you’ll probably be disappointed.