Friday, April 20, 2012
Review of Mockingjay
Book: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, the third book in The Hunger Games triology
Haven't read Mockingjay yet? You can check out my review of Catching Fire here. I didn't write a review of The Hunger Games (the first book), but trust me, it's awesome. This review will contain some spoilers for the previous two books, so if you haven't read them, you should probably stop reading now.
Oh, Mockingjay. If there are thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird, then there have got to be at least like, twenty ways of looking at Mockingay, the long-awaited final installment in The Hunger Games triology. The book covers a broad spectrum of topics - politics, revolutions, love, trust, personal responsibility, growing up - in its 400-some pages. I loved it, but I don't even know how to begin to talk about it. But, as always, the best way to start is just to start. So let's go!
Quick, spoiler-free summary: Mockingjay finds Katniss, literally and figuratively, awakening to the aftermath of what happened in the 75th Hunger Games. I say literally because, you know, she passed out at the end of Catching Fire. And figuratively because, over the course of the novel, Katniss comes to realize that she has unwillingly, unintentionally become part of something much bigger than herself. Katniss is brought to District 13, the headquarters of a revolution against the Capital, a revolution, she learns, that everyone expects her to lead. Or rather, she will be the revolution's figurehead, its poster child, while others behind the scenes make decisions for her. If you know Katniss, and I think you do, then you can probably figure she's none too happy about this - being a puppet while someone else pulls the strings. However, Katniss does want to bring down The Capital and, more importantly, bring peace to her people, and over the course of the novel, she discovers just how far she'll go to do so.
Lowlights: I'm saying the "lowlights" first this time because I really need to say this first: This novel takes a while to get going. Or, at least, I thought it did. I would say the first third of the book is mostly exposition and preparation, setting things up for what's to come later. But once things get going, the novel really moves, so when you're reading, just stick with it! It'll get moving, I promise. And I still really liked the book, despite its slow beginnings.
Highlights: I found the portrayal of the revolution in this novel to be really interesting. It was interesting to see the ways in which the rebels were similar to the very people they were rebelling against, The Capital. For example, they were very concerned with appearances and propaganda. I liked that Collins did this, because I think, too often, revolutions are romanticized. People see the leaders as visionaries, voices of the people, and while they sometimes are, often they are just as bad as the leaders of the opposition. Also, all politics aside, it puts Katniss in a very interesting position, where she's not quite sure who to trust, and it's interesting to read about that and see her struggle through it.
Also - because I know you all are wondering - there is some good love-triangle action going on in this book. I particularly liked one scene, in which Katniss accidentally overhears Peeta and Gale discussing, in a surprisingly calm manner, who they think Katniss will chose. Crazy! The book also brings back a lot of the interesting and lovable characters from the first two books, such as Finnick, Prim and, of course, Haymitch.
Overall: Overall, the book gives a very satisfying ending to the series. Although I felt that some of the things Katniss did were out of character for her, overall I liked the book and enjoyed reading it. It's definitely very interesting and thought-provoking, something you can't shake off for a long time after reading it. Also, I have to say, I was so sad, when I finished it, to think that there wouldn't be any more Hunger Games books! Sigh.
So, I would say, read it! And then come back and let me know what you thought of it. For those who have already read it, I have a few things to say to you, below, because I just can't keep my thoughts to myself. So, spoilers for Mockingjay after this video and picture:
Here's a song for this book. Eyes Open by Taylor Swift. I can't get it out of my head.
For those who have read it already:
First of all, I just have to get this off my chest - I thought it was totally unlike Katniss to hold a grudge against Gale over what happened to Prim. It wasn't his fault! He didn't give the order or make the plan. I feel like Katniss would've seen that. She's so logical. Although, I guess you could argue that she's not logical when it comes to Prim, but still...
That being said, I guess I did agree, overall, with her choice to leave Gale, because I did see him getting more aggressive over the course of the novel. He did get a bit ruthless, which really shocked me. But it wasn't totally out of character for him.
I liked the epilogue, partially because it was sweet and partially because it reassured me that the world of the novel wasn't just going to go back to the way it was before, with Hunger Games and all that. For the longest time, it looked to me like that was the way the novel was heading. Did anyone else feel like that? Like, when Katniss voted to re-instate the Hunger Games, I almost threw the book across the room. "What!?" I cried. "How can you go back to that after we've spent all this time reading about how you hate it!?" I thought that would've been the most hopeless, depressing ending ever (although possibly realistic), so I'm glad Collins didn't go that route.
So, what did you guys all think of it? Did you think it was a good conclusion? Do you wish there were more books in the series?