Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

In the event you do not want to be spoiled, just know this.  I loved it.  Now, stop reading this review and go read the book!

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!!!


I finished Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) a few days ago but needed to take some time to think about it before blogging. I think I am ready now!

I loved Mockingjay.  I know a lot of bloggers and readers were unhappy with the direction that Collins took the book in, I thought it was sheer perfection.  When we last left Katniss, she was the face of the revolution.  But what many readers seemed to forget was that she was chosen as the face of the revolution.  It wasn’t a choice she made independently.  I have always loved Katniss but I never saw her as a perfect hero.  She is flawed.  She is human.  She breaks and tries to heal.  She makes mistakes.  (I’m pretty sure Peeta and Gale can tell you all about those mistakes).

In Mockingjay, we meet Katniss in District 13.  For the first two books we have imagined District 13 as this utopia, a community that fled the Capital and and has been able to live secret, joyful lives.  You know, the kind full of butterflies and rainbows.  Guess what?  Turns out District 13 is no utopia!  While they aren’t the Capital, they are terrible in their own way.  And they have plans for Katniss- she will be their spokeswoman and the inspiration to the rebels.  They have plans to film promotional footage of her and air it in all the districts.  But it turns out that this is just more reality television.  She is scripted, she isn’t in real combat, and she hates it.  But when she does get pulled into the war, things aren’t as clear as they once seemed.

I’m not going to bother summarizing the rest of the book.  Just know that Mockingjay is different from the rest of the series.  There is not clear-cut good vs. bad here.  The lines are blurred and there is a lot grey area.  It’s difficult to figure out what side anyone is on; it’s difficult to figure out what side YOU, the reader are on!  While the first two books felt very character-driven, Mockingjay is driven solely by something else.  Character, setting, plot all rolled into one.  It’s war that drives everything.  And Mockingjay is real war.  People die. Good people die, for senseless reasons.  Because we view the events through Katniss’s eyes, the book is rushed at some points.  At other times, we miss things because she is injured or drugged (in the hospital).  It is confusing and overwhelming.  But I felt like I was right there with Katniss.

For those of you who want a happy ending you aren’t getting that here.  But what war ends with happiness?  Like real life, the war just ends.  And Katniss is broken.  Her family is broken.  We know she begins to heal, because there is an epilogue.  Unlike many other people, I enjoyed the epilogue.  I think it gives us just enough information.  We see that Katniss has grown up, that she is living her life and moving on.  But she still bears the scars of what happened to her.  She will never be the same person she was when she stepped up and took Prim’s place in the games.

Like I said, I LOVED the book.  I though Collins did a fantastic job and took Mockingjay in a direction that many people did not expect.  Because of this, she has some unhappy readers.  But I am a fan for life.

Thoughts?  Questions?  Comments?  I want to talk about this one!  Comment!

My favorite quote?  p. 379

“Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?” I ask.

“Oh, not now.  Now we’re in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated,” he says. “But collective thinking is usually short-lived.  We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self destruction.  Although who knows?  Maybe this will be it, Katniss.”

What a scathing look at humanity.  Yet sadly true when you look at world history.

*purchased by me

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6 Responses

  1. I admit that my expectations were fairly low (I was somewhat disappointed with CATCHING FIRE) and that helped me to be pleasantly surprised to enjoy MOCKINGJAY as much as I did. It was the “war is complicated, no side is virtuous” aspect that made me like the book. It redeemed, for me, the parts that felt rushed/lazily plotted.

    I think a lot of the appeal of the first two books for people lay in the love triangle drama. I appreciated how that became less the focus in MOCKINGJAY which seems realistic given their circumstances… but I can also understand why that might have been startling/disappointing for others who were hoping for more of the romance.

  2. I loved Mockingjay, too. As a reader, I admit that the journey wasn’t an easy one. The ending wasn’t neat, but it seemed right somehow.

  3. I loved it also, and agree with others that even though it took us in a different direction, it was superb reading. Good and evil may not have been quite so clear but the age old conflict of the human need for power and the ultimate result will leave me savoring this book long after I have put it down.
    Now back to school tomorrow to discuss it with those who have copies and to loan to those anxiously awaiting it.

  4. I also thought it was brilliant! I have anxiously awaited the arrival of Mockingjay since last Spring when I found this amazing trilogy. I was not at all disappointed and felt it was worth the wait. As you pointed out, the earlier books were character-driven, which is one reason I enjoyed them so much. However, Mockingjay has a depth to it, a raw reality of the human spirit that is both captivating and disturbing at the same time.

  5. Interesting perspective! I also had to take some time away from the book to really process it and my thoughts about it. I personally LOVED Catching Fire and was anxiously awaiting Mockingjay. I liked it…but I didn’t quite feel the way I did about the first two and I can’t quite put my finger on why. I do think that it ended how it had to end–I really felt that Katniss’s motivation in the first two novels was to save/protect people she cared about. Sure she felt downtrodden by the capitol, but overthrowing it was not her motivation. Protecting Prim, Rue, etc. really guided her actions. She really reacted on emotion.

    In this novel, I felt that she was suffering from PTSD; but who wouldn’t if they were thrust into two Hunger Games and became the unwilling face of the revolution. I thought that Collins portrayed war in a realistic way but verged on preachy at times-she has educated readers who can make inferences and draw conclusions without being hit over the head with them.

    Overall, though, I am still very much a Huger Games trilogy fan and plan on reading Mockingjay again to see what other conclusions I can draw.

  6. I was not as ecstatic about Mockingjay as I was about Hunger Games and Catching Fire. You really hit the difference on the head for me in this post, though, which I appreciate. The other two were character driven, which is really what propels me through most books. This one was war. I don’t have any problems with it as far as ending, and I think it was an excellent way to end the trilogy. I loved the epilogue also. With the other two, though, I finished them in a day or two because I couldn’t put them down. I read this one quickly, but I had to put it down at times. Instead of the intensity making it impossible for me to stop reading, the intensity of Mockingjay was just too much at times. And I needed a break from the war, instead of having to know what happened to the characters next.

    I still loved it, though. The direction was completely appropriate and right, but the differences made it a touch less my kind of book.

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