August 26, 2010

Mockingjay Review: No Spoilers Here!

Amazon's description:

"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year."


All right, so I just finished Mockingjay about an hour ago. Still can't really believe I'm done after all that anxious anticipation! Also, I can't believe that there won't be any more books in the series...it feels kind of like finishing the last Harry Potter did.

Anyway, on to my reaction: this last book is very, very dark. You thought The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were dark? Think again. Mockingjay is ten times that. I'm going to have to tread carefully here so I don't give anything away...but it's a fabulous final journey Suzanne Collins takes Katniss - and her readers - on.

The book starts out a little more slowly than the other two (a bit surprising, given the cliffhanger ending of Catching Fire), and generally the writing is not quite so full of fast-paced non-stop action as the previous novels. This makes sense, though - in the first two, Katniss was thrust into the arena, where we can expect a constant struggle for survival. In this last, it is a larger-scale, epic struggle for ideals and values that we deal with. And Collins plans, sets up, and executes this well. It's true that the pacing isn't quite as smooth as the first two books, maybe because those had a given structure to follow, while this one branched out into new territory and covered a lot of ground. However, because of the first two novels I was now heavily invested in finding out what happens to these characters I've grown to care about - so it was all right that there was a bit more strategizing going on in this last book, and fewer impulsive reactions (though there are certainly some of those as well!)

We get to see more of some of the side characters introduced in the second novel, which I really enjoyed. Finnick and Johanna both make an appearance and it was great to see their personalities being developed further. And of course, center stage is Katniss - I don't know that I'll ever understand her entirely, but she goes through a lot in this book and it's impossible not to empathize with her situation. I will say that because everything is from Katniss' perspective, at times we as the reader don't get to see the bigger picture, because Katniss doesn't see it. Since this book's written on a larger scale, this was sometimes frustrating for me in trying to visualize exactly what was happening. (On the plus side, however, this is realistic. One person, even if it's Katniss, is not going to be privy to everything that's happening in various parts of the country).

I did have a couple small complaints. One I can't really discuss without spoilers (big ones); the other was that Collins was a bit heavy-handed in her explanations of the metaphors used. I generally enjoyed these metaphors, but thought that it wasn't really necessary for her to explain each one so very thoroughly. Perhaps this was done because the book's marketed for teens, and younger readers won't fully understand the symbolism. However, I like there to be some more room for interpretation on the part of the reader as to the meaning.

Finally, a warning: there are some gut-wrenching events that take place. Characters died in the last two books, and I doubt it's a surprise to anyone that more die in this one. There are twists and turns you won't see coming, and some parts that will likely be very hard to read. If there's one thing Collins does such an amazing job of, it's demonstrating the power of the psyche, and the terrifying consequences of someone playing on your emotions and twisting your mind. Questions are raised about trust, friendship, loyalty, morality, compassion, revenge, humanity...and everyone seems to have a different answer.


Moreover, some things from Mockingjay just keep sticking with me. And what better sign of a well-written book is there?

5 out of 5 shooting stars.

10 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to see another great review :)

    A lot of people are disappointed with Mockingjay, but I think this was a fitting, albeit heartbreaking, end to an amazing trilogy. Oh, and I also loved the Johanna and Finnick are back!

    Brilliant review!

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  2. I still haven't got my copy :/. Hopefully it should arrive tomorrow, but ah, I'm in agony here. Glad you enjoyed it though, and thanks for keeping your review spoiler free!

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  3. I am reading it now and have 150 pages to go! I am biting my nails :/

    Also, you have an award waiting :0)

    http://idsoratherbereading.blogspot.com/2010/08/one-lovely-blog-award.html

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  4. I'm still thinking about this book and going through everything. Finnick and Gale were my favorite characters in the book.

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  5. Nice review of Mockingjay. I loved the book, though I had a few problems with it, too. I'm still trying to figure out how to review this-- to spoil or not to spoil, that is the question. :-)

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  6. Great review! I'm still trying to find words for mine. I finished the book yesterday and I haven't been able to get into anything else yet. Some stuff was just heartbreaking!

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  7. I liked your review! I haven't been able to post mine yet because I really want to include spoiler details and I don't want to give anything away to my students. I'll have to admit to being one of those people that was really disappointed with this book. But it did have it's moments and was still a good read.

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  8. YAY! i need to hurry up and read Catching Fire*shame on me* the Hunger games is the BEST series eva!

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  9. I completely agree with your review! My only complaint is that Mockingjay seemed to end too quickly. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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