Reader! I am breaking my September hiatus because everyone is out there talking about Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. If you haven’t heard, Mockingjay is part three of a trilogy. If you’re attention deficient and have other things to do, let me tell you that I liked Mockingjay but didn’t love it. For the rest of you, read on:
Here’s my review of part one, The Hunger games. That first book was one of the nicest surprises I have ever had in a book. I went into it knowing very little, which is very hard to do these days.
I only knew that it was getting a lot of press, so I was desperate to hurry up and read it so I could form my own opinions without any influences. Here are the broad strokes of the plot so far:
The Hunger Games
Set in my favorite of all literary landscapes–the nightmare dystopian future (I have no idea why I love it so much)–there are 12 colonies (called districts) which are all subject to The Capitol. They resisted once, but were thrown back and thrown down with a vengeance. So now every year each of the districts must offer a tribute to fight in the Hunger Games at the Capitol. The tributes are children and are chosen by lottery.
The heroine, Katniss–this name is not getting any less weird to me–winds up volunteering herself for reasons I won’t spoil for you. Book one is largely about her preparation to enter the arena, and then the fight itself. If there has ever been a nail-biter for me, this was it. Book one had a feeling of dread that I absolutely loved.
I loved Catching Fire, but not as much as part one.
Katniss is still alive. As the winner of the games, she is now entitled to all sorts of glamorous perks, but also made an enemy of The Capitol through her defiant acts. So now wields a lot of power with her status as a champion, but the leaders of the Capitol, including the nasty President Snow, know that she holds more sway over public opinion than they would like. Without going into much more detail than that, let me say that there was a surprise about halfway through that nearly everyone but me seems to have seen coming.
But then, I watched about three quarters of Snow Falling on Cedars without realizing that Ethan Hawke only had one arm…
Summary of Mockingjay
Katniss is still alive. Sorry if that was a spoiler, but it shouldn’t be. Now that the official revolution has started–it has been revealed that the mysterious District 13 actually exists, and is the headquarters of the rebellion–Katniss is still being used. This time by those who want her to be the symbol of the revolution.
Unfortunately, I felt that most of the suspense of part one and two was absent from the conclusion. I felt similar to when I went to the final, craptacular Matrix movie. The scenes in the Matrix itself were always the most appealing and interesting to me–but the trilogy concluded with a bunch of people fighting robots, which could happen (and has happened) in many other movies.
The Hunger Games Trilogy ends as an action story, an indictment of war, and a heavy dose of teenage angst. I feel like Suzanne Collins was able to expound her views of warfare and savagery, and I am not disagreeing with her. But this book did not feel as original as the other two did, and it’s not just because I had had two books to get used to the story.
It felt like if the characters had had different names, it could have been part of any other story.
But my shortest Mockinjay summary = I liked it. I just did not love it the way I loved the first one. And I have no idea how I could have done it any better or what I would have changed, so maybe this is just fanboy whining.
There were some satisfying moments. I especially like Katniss’ response at the conclusion of the final trial.
If you have read the first two, I’ve no doubt that you’re going to read Mockingjay no matter what anyone else says. Let’s talk. What did you think?
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