September 14, 2018

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (Hunger Games series #3)

by Suzanne Collins

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian Fiction
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 501 pages
Published: August 24, 2010
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

Note: Spoilers ahead.

My Goodreads Ratings: 3 out of 5 stars

Official Book Summary:

"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 plans -- 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."

Quote:

"It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart."

Excerpt (from Chapter 1):

"I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table. The bricks of the chimney, which collapsed in a charred heap, provide a point of reference for the rest of the house. How else could I orient myself in this sea of gray?

Almost nothing remains of District 12. A month ago, the Capitol's firebombs obliterated the poor coal miners' houses in the Seam, the shops in the town, even the Justice Building. The only are that escaped incineration was the Victor's Village. I don't know exactly why. Perhaps so anyone forced to come here on Capitol business would have somewhere decent to stay. The odd reported. A committee assessing the condition of the coal minds. A squad of Peacekeepers checking for returning refugees.

But no one is returning except me."

My Book Review:

Another 3-star rating for Mockingjay, the last installment in the series though the second-half of this book was my least favorite part of the series.

Unlike most readers, I actually preferred the first half of this book, the part where Katniss is basically catatonic, depressed, suffering PTSD, and hiding in broom closets. I hope people don't read too much into that because generally speaking that sounds like a terrible plot for a book, but it appealed to me because it was more honest about the trauma of Katniss's experiences. If she'd just jumped into battle or war with the Capitol and not been a bit messed up, I probably would have set the book down. I kept reading, however, because she was damaged and that made sense. She seemed genuinely conflicted and I thought that made sense.

By the book's second half, I was a bit exhausted from reading about all of the violence and I had mixed feelings about the ending (there seems to be some general consensus about this). If Katniss had to choose someone (could the series have ended another way?) I guess choosing Peeta makes more sense because there's no way anyone can sanely decide to have a romance with the dude purposely responsible for killing your sister--that's just messed up.

Overall, the series is really successful because Collins did so well creating this other world. I felt I could visualize Panem in my mind, there were interesting characters, conflict, and compelling reasons to keep reading. I can understand some readers' objections to the series--it is extremely violent--but if you consider Greek and Roman myths as a background or jumping off point, the modern-day dystopia was an intriguing idea.

It's been so long since her last novel was published--eight years--that I'm wondering where her writing career will go from here. In 2013 she published a picture book, Year of the Jungle, about a girl whose father is serving in the Vietnam War, but since then it's been silent. What do you hope Collins writes next?

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