For What It's Worth

For What It's Worth

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
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. (YA)

There are no spoilers for Mockingjay but if you haven't read The Hunger Games or Catching Fire you might want to skip this review.

Review:
If The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were about The Games and manipulations of The Capitol then Mockingjay is about choices and consequences.
At the beginning of Mockingjay, District 12 has been destroyed, the “non-existent” District 13 has been discovered and Peeta has been captured by The Capitol.
Mockingjay is different in tone and pacing than the previous two books in the series. Katniss has matured and hardened. She has to face the realities of being "The Mockingjay". It’s not something she can escape from just because the games are over. There are still those who want to use her and what she represents for their own goals, but this time she’s in control. She also comes to the realization that she needs help, not an easy admission for her.
One thing I really loved about this book is that she has relationships with the other characters for once. The romance takes a back seat, as it should, although it is always looming in the background (and a decision is made) but in Mockingjay we get to see her interact with the others and expand her sometimes narrow views. Instead of being the loner, questioning everyone’s motives, she has to work with a team to take down The Capitol. I liked that she was able to form a bond with her former tributes – Finnick & Johanna.
She’s not the only one who has been changed by the games. Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Johanna and Finnick are also profoundly affected by the manipulations of President Snow. They are not the same people we read about in The Hunger Games. We learn more about their backgrounds and just how evil The Capitol was in keeping an iron grip on the residents of the 12 Districts. The parallels to war and its effects on the psyche of its victims are the driving force in this, the last chapter to The Hunger Games series. Suffice to say it made for some rough reading at times.
The relationship between Katniss and Haymitch was the most profound to me. What has he been to Katniss? Mentor? Traitor? Friend? He has now become Katniss’s conscience and the person who knows her best, because honestly – they are so much alike. Sometimes Katniss needs a whack upside the head! I love her but she can be incredibly self-absorbed. My heart went out to Haymitch as we learned about his past and I was happy to see his character get a bit more development.
And I’m going to give a little shout out to Buttercup – Prim’s cat – yes Buttercup. Katniss’s interactions with him provide a welcome respite from the relentlessly bleak backdrop and let us in on a vulnerable side of Katniss that we don’t often see.
If I have one complaint it would be that Collins delved a little too deep in explaining certain things such as each line of a song but then hurried along at other (more important IMO) points. There were a few important conversations and scenes that I would have liked to have read but were left out.
Many of the themes and symbols from the first two books were carried through to the finale and most things are resolved. There are twists and turns that I’m sure you won’t see coming. While a few things happened that people predicted, I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of you will be shocked by at least once during this book. I personally was stunned at the path she took – I expected something….different….more epic and yes I was a little disappointed after all the buildup.
I don’t think this is my favorite book in the series but it is a fitting end to one of the best YA series I’ve read in years. I hope I don’t ever get that stressed out over a book again! The wait almost killed me!

Rating: 3.5 out of 4. A fantastic end to a brilliant series. I believe this series is best read all at once - so set aside a few days and get reading

If you leave a comment that has spoilers please say *SPOILER* so people will be warned!!

26 comments:

  1. thanks for keeping it spoiler free. Great review and awaiting my book still. No mail yet.

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  2. I'm exhausted but satiated after reading this conclusion. I agree there were some areas that I had expected a little more rounding out. Particularly at the end. But overall it was a fantastic ride.

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  3. I agree with you. I felt like almost everything interesting (in an action way) was left offstage. It was an interesting choice, and I, too, had a bit of a letdown. I need to read it again when I'm not so hyped for it, and maybe I'll appreciate it more. For now, though, I'm not going to lie--a little disappointed.

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  4. I'm just drained. I didn't expect the story to be quite so horrific, in every way possible, it was a really difficult book to read. I also liked Katniss' interactions with other people, especially Finnick, Johanna and Haymitch.

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  5. I agree! We should have combined all three reviews, you and Bella both highlighted points I was too numb to articulate.

    I agree with Bella, I am drained:(
    I am in a book funk now and only somewhat satisfied with the ending.

    I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't what I got.

    YAY! Haymitch & Finnick. My two favorites in Mockingjay!

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  6. finally finished and I agree some scenes missing , but more realistic and lot more internal conversations. Overall I liked it alot.

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  7. I haven't read this series yet.
    I am still undecided about whether I will.
    Decisions, decisions! Argh.

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  8. I just CANNOT wait to get my book in the mail. Your review just makes me want it so much more (if that's even possible) Thanks for keeping it spoiler free.
    (Contest)
    gbubookreviews(at)gmail(dot)com

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  9. I am not reading your review as I am still waiting for my Mockingjay copy to be delivered today. GAH! I set up a linky today for people to link any Mockingjay related posts so please feel free to do so if you would like :D

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  10. Fantastic review. But I'm like Bella--drained by the horrific-ness. It was a spectacular feat of writing, and I can fault the construction, but it sure was depressing.

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  11. Wonderful review! Like Bella's & Paperback Dolls it makes this series a must read, at least for me.
    I've moved it to the top of my must get list. Thank you.

    contest

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  12. *SPOILER*

    It was definitely a rough read. I think when I was done my exact words were...huh. It was just so different than any scenario that I had envisioned. I liked it - a lot and I think the ending stayed true to katniss but I didn't love it....too many important things happened just out of view.

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  13. Great review! I am just a little jealous because the book doesn't release in my country till October!!

    Misha

    CONTEST

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  14. For me, the book was a letdown. The story didn't flow and keep me on the edge of my seat like the last two books. The book just felt disjointed to me. I also think that she spent too much time on describing how Katniss was feeling and nit enough time moving the story along, it really dragged out for me.

    *SPOILER kinda* if you compare the big death at the end to Dobby's death in Harry Potter, I feel that the death in Mockingjay really lacked the emotion that was supposed to be felt. It seems like Suzanne Collins just kinda threw in that sentence where the death happens. For me, it could have been such a sad moment, but instead I was just disappointed that the death was written so poorly.

    I am not exactly unhappy with how the book ended, I just felt that the spark that captured everyone's attention in the first two books fizzled out in this book. It was very poorly written and the story was disjointed.

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  15. I honestly still don't know how I feel about this book. I know I loved it and it was just as good as the other two but in a completely different way. It was draining and I can't lie, I did feel a bit let down. But, I'm still a bit confused and frustrated. And, I've decided that I will no longer delve in the whole Team Peeta or Team Gale debacle. I'm going to be Team Katniss because I love both Gale and Peeta and the romance subplot is in no way as important as the major plot.

    Contest

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  16. Contest

    What an intense book. I have mad respect for Suzanne Collins.

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  17. Excellent Review. Well thought out and expressed. I also agree with your comments on Buttercup. Great points about Haymitch
    (Contest)
    contestmom AT hotmail DOT com

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  18. Gabe - I agree with you on many of your points. I think I liekd it a tad more than you but it was a let down. So much happened behind the scenes that I didn't feel the emotional impact that I'm sure she was going for. *SPOILER* Katniss would just wake up after each big event and it was over.....well what the hell happened?? I think we deserved to see it.
    My Hubby is reading it now and will post his own review and I think it's more in line with what your saying. I have more to say @ the whole thing but you kind of can't - it would be too spoilery.

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  19. I have to agree I liked seeing Katniss interact with other characters - Buttercup, Finnick, Johanna, and Haymitch.

    My overall reaction of Mockingjay was "holy crap" but there are a few parts that I didn't like for a few reasons, then there are some parts that I thought were perfect. Can't talk about them...I do not talk spoilers.

    I know everyone's talking about how they didn't see the action. My little sister finished Mockingjay last night and she got a little confused on a scene towards the end (not gonna say which) and I had to tell her she was mistaken...she was upset about what I told her. I didn't have much problem with the action thingy.

    In a few months I think I'm going to take a weekend and reread the entire trilogy. The Hunger Games Trilogy is most definitely one of my favorites it is up high on the list.

    **contest

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  20. Wow ive waited soooooo long for this book to come out and i just got it in the mail and i cant put it down!!!! The way Suzanne Collins writes is truly amazing and is different from Stephanie Meyer and J.K Rowling but in a very good way. I found this series when my best friend was reading it and at the time i thought that reading was boring until she demanded i read it and wouldn't shup up about it until i read it so I did. Did I ever thank her enough, this book had me dreaming about it for a month and wanting more. Thank you Suzanne Collins this book wil always be on my book shelf forever!!!! *contest* michellejue007@gmail.com

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  21. I am super excited to read this!!! I want to read it so badly. I can't wait to read this.

    behapppppppy(at)hotmail(dot)com

    CONTEST

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  22. I was waiting to see some reviews from people who didn't absolutely love the book because I can completely understand why. I figured the darker tone and the divergence from the feel of the last two books had to make some people like it just a little less. Fortunately, I was not one of those poeple. And while Mockingjay was not what I expected at all, I think it was an incredible conclusion to such a phenomenal and epic series.

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  23. I haven't read this book yet so it was good to have no SPOILERS! I think from what I've read,that I'm going to like this book a lot. I think I was really shocked when people expected this book to be less dark and sad and all. I mean, after everything that's happened in the previous two books? I think this "There are twists and turns that I’m sure you won’t see coming. " adds to the excitement to the story!

    WONDERFUL review! Thanks for being honest!

    contest

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  24. I loved this book, my favourite of the three, and was totally satisfied with the way Collins ended it. It wasn't what I expected but I loved it all the same.
    I agree with you that I was slightly annoyed how she had to explain every line of the Hanging Tree for the reader. I can only guess it is because maybe she thought some of her younger readers might not get it?
    (spoiler) My main disappointment was not getting Cinna and Madge's backstory to why they had wanted to help out with the rebellion. I thought they would make appearances in this book for sure.

    contest

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  25. Reading this series to stay on top of what my son is reading. Thanks for the review.

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