Saturday, June 23, 2012

Book Review: Mockingjay

Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3)
Published By: Scholastic
Publication Date: August 2010
Page Count: 390
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Dystopian

I found Mockingjay to be a difficult bird (pun intended). It is very different than the other two books in the series. The enemies are more abundant and less obvious, and Katniss has a serious struggle on her hands for mental health, let alone freedom from oppression. She has seen so much by the time Mockingjay begins, that she really finds it hard to cope... and the bodies certainly pile up in this, the final installment of the trilogy. 


I really found it difficult to review this the first time I read it, and a year later, and another reread have helped me sort out my feelings. I don't love this book. I think it is amazing, but it completely gutted me. I am a hopeful reader and I love a good happy ending, but I was unrealistic to hope for such a thing here. The message is that in war, no one is safe. Suzanne Collins spent the first two books building up to a horrifying finale where loved characters die in the worst ways, and hope is very nearly lost. All that is left is a tiny flicker of a flame, and Katniss doesn't look to be the girl to fan that flame for a lot of the book. She rises up at times to deliver stirring speeches, but then is pulled back down by the weight of all the things that have happened to her. 

Katniss learns the truths of characters such as Gale, who is shockingly heartless and blood thirsty, and Haymitch, ever calculating and surprisingly cold. She is left with no one really that she can trust, as even Peeta is not available to her at times. My heart went out to him on this reread; it has taken me a long time to come around to Peeta, but now I wonder why!! 

In the end, I felt like Katniss was trapped between a rock (President Snow) and a hard place (President Coin) and her solution was probably the only thing she could have done. Details got a little vague and drawn out after the crescendo moment, and it all felt a little anticlimactic... I was left wondering how life could go on normally, given what happened, and I think it would have felt like that to Katniss too. Brilliant but brutal.



My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.



12 comments:

  1. I agree Jen... Mockingjay, although it was still part of an amazing series and deserves the high ratings, it was a bit of a 'different bird' as you said. But I don't think there was any way that it could have ended differently to give us that 'happily ever after' we look for in most books. If it ended all 'la-de-da' -- with everyone happy and unscarred by all that happened, it would have been unrealistic. Ending it the way Suzanne Collins did, was realistic but left us sort of depressed and stunned and numb. A most unusual feeling for a book ending, right?!

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    1. After reading your review I have to agree. It definitely left me feeling sad and unfulfilled. But I guess after what Katniss and Peeta went through we couldn't expect much more. I would have liked to have seen the two of them have a little more happiness.

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  2. I hated the climax as I felt it was incoherent with the rest of the plot. You either write realistic novels or mindless fictions. There is no mid way. Hunger games was always a piece of fiction flooded with unexpected turn of events to make good prevail over evil. I mean Katniss surviving 2 hunger games despite the presence of trained assassins from district 1-4, capitol not using it's nuclear arsenal to wipe out the districts while facing a certain defeat, district 13 being able to not just survive but garner a pile of armoury underground to fight the capitol and eventually all 3 stars surviving their bloody trail to the capitol. So why make it realistic by reducing the most lively character of the novel into a war victim. The answer is simple. Suzanne Collins is am ambitious writer. She was an instant hit with the masses with the very first novel. So she used the last one as an opportunity to appeal to the senses of the critics with a grim unorthodox climax. But in the process she ruined what could have been an inspiring work of fiction that could bring hope and unparalleled exhilaration for generations to come.

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  3. I think the Mockingjay is on a completely different train of thought to the other 2 books. This one seems more real and show the pressures of war and how that affects every person in the novel. The only thing I find difficult to understand is that all 3 of the main characters survive and that would not happen in a war like this. I also think that it will be a difficult film/films for those whho have not read the book as almost all of the characters that you like (besides the main 3) all die in a brtual way and I don't know if people would be able to handle so many deaths throghout the film.
    The brutailty of war is a main theme in the novel but based on the hunger games movie I do not think they will be able to show this brtaility unless it gets a certifictae '15' and that would lose alot of the audience for the film.

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  4. To me I hated The Mockjay. The Hunger Games and Catch Fire were breath-taking. But The Mockingjay is a different story. It kept repeating things over and over again. The story does not flow smooth.

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  5. Honestly, in my opinion, Mockingjay was an excellent book, overall. I empathized with Katiniss' sorrow, and I felt her emotions perfectly, as I should have. The plot line flowed smooth, and I understood, (for the most part) what was going happening/about to occur. All of it was good until the climax, that is. At the climax in the Capitol, everything happened so fast that I kept thinking to myself, "She's just dreaming, she'll wake up and continue on her way soon." Because the climax happened at such a rushed pace. It almost felt as if Collins was ready to get the book over with, and rushed through the ending. Wish Mockingjay's ending would have had a bit more detail, and not have seemed so rushed, but overall it was a wonderful book.

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    1. I agree. I just read the book and went looking for reviews. The end was so shocking to me because it read like Collins's hands were cramping and she just wanted to finish it. Everything was so slow and consistently paced before the ending, which was fast and blurry. I don't really understand why she wrote it that way, but what happened is I ended up enjoying 150 pgs of a 170 pg book and hating the end, which, unfortunately, made me dislike the book overall.

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  6. I liked the book, no where near as much as the first two books, and the deaths of loved characters was really sad but realistic in the terms of war. However, I really wanted a happier ending for katniss. Overall the book was good but possibly too much crammed into one book

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  7. I read the book once, I felt like the beginning was a little slow but I think that made it little more dramatic, I also think that we got a chance to know Gale's character a little better, and see their relationship, the tragedies in the book does make you realise that the world is not perfect and somethings are inevitable like death. The ending for me felt so rush and I did not like it. It felt like suzanne collins was in a rush and she just wrapped at as a summary. I was hoping for an alternative ending.

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  8. I have to agree on a lot of points here, beginning with that book three is definitely very different from the first two. I'm very torn about it because I like it and hate it at the same time. So much is unresolved. So much of the book is just about Katniss and her mental problems. There are also so many plot devices and bits to the story that just seem pointless and make no sense. It's a very depressing story.

    But first off Gale. This book portrays him just as you say, cold and heartless. Which is what troubles me as books one and two are just the opposite. Gale is depicted in the first two books as Katniss's only friend, the only one she trusts and confides in, and someone who looks after her and her family. They share common ground in so many areas, from losing their fathers and protecting their families. So I find it somewhat unbelievable that he would just leave her and she would just let him go after building that bond over so many years.

    Peeta is another problem for me. To me he's like the lost puppy or the annoying little brother that idolizes you and won't go away. In spite of his worshipful puppy love attitude he is far more cold and selfish than Gale. While Gale is providing for, taking care of, and saving the lives of the people around him, Peeta is in the arena telling Katniss that he should be the one to die because he has nothing to go home to. Guess he doesn't care about his brothers, or his father, or the fact that his father has build up a very good business that will keep Peeta not only fed, but put money in his pocket and keep him out of the coal mines. So I don't agree with Collins having Katniss choose Peeta over Gale, but I guess after three books about trying to save Peeta it's the logical plot direction.

    As others have mentioned it seems as though Collins just got tired of writing and just ended the book in a few paragraphs. There needed to be a lot more closure. I felt there should have been some better closure and reconciliation with her mother. Did anyone notice that after the death of Prim, Katniss went into the same psychological withdrawal that her mother did following the death of her father? Katniss was no different than her mother after all. If Katniss were in her mothers position, it looks as though she would have done the same thing on losing her husband.

    I could write so much on this book, but I'll stop here before I bore you all to tears.
    Thanks for reading
    Gote

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