Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Spoilers)

Published August, 2010.

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. (book flap blurb)


You know, I don't go into books with high expectations of anything. When I read the last Harry Potter book, the bar wasn't high. I just expected the same type of quality that the author provided in her previous six books. I think that's a perfectly reasonable expectation. Unfortunately I don't think it was met. I felt the same way for Mockingjay, albeit it less disappointed.

The overall writing, I felt, lived up to the prior books. I didn't feel any kind of dramatic, unexplained shift in the characters or the writing itself. I think everything fit nicely. What I didn't like was how Katniss didn't really play an active roll in her own life. She hid when things got too hard and just went with the flow for everything else. In retrospect, she's always been kind of like that but I felt it was most prevalent in this book.

People are tools for her and I like Gale's turn of action and pretty much saying fuck it. He knew he wasn't as useful to her once she had nothing left, therefore he was out of the picture and Peeta was it. Although I felt that was a little ridiculous considering his condition. He's essentially a whacked out mutt but Katniss was holding on to the shreds of what she remembered him as. Personally, I wouldn't have procreated with him. I know auto-erotic asphyxiation can be a turn-on for some people, but he'd be the one to take it too far, if you get what I'm saying.

It's just . . . the second half of the book was a little much for me. I accepted the redundancy in the second book but to have it a third time? There couldn't have been another way? And the fade to black moment right at the explosion at the mansion, I was so horribly pissed at that. Boom, Katniss blacks out and when she wakes up, the war's over, the Capitol is taken and the rebels won. What? Are you freaking kidding me? That's what the entire book was leading up to and Katniss gets knocked un-fucking-conscious? Seriously?

And the thing is, the people that were killed, I didn't feel enough of a connection to them to care. Yeah, they played decent enough parts throughout the series but nothing major. Certainly no Sirius Blacks or whichever of the Weasley twins dies, can't remember which it was. It was all about Katniss and Gale and Peeta and the asshattery of the Capitol. There wasn't much room for anything else. So when people started dropping, I really didn't feel much of anything. I know it was done for impact, the cost of war and all, but the people that were lost, I think, didn't make much of an impact when they were alive to make one when they died.

I didn't find the twist at the ended much of a twist. In fact, everything leading up to it really spelled it out pretty clearly. Snow, part deux. I think a different route could have been taken and I was surprised at Katniss's response to the second coming of the Hunger Games. After everything she'd been through, two games, the pain of the Capitol, she was willing to support it getting done again, to a generation of completely innocent children that were going to pay for their parents mistakes, because she'd lost her sister? I don't find that believable. She was too against it to begin with. Even with her sister's death, I don't think she would have made that decision. Shock value, I guess, but I didn't find it realistic to her character.

I liked crazy Peeta, and Haymitch was, as always, a great character. They were my favorites this time around.

Was the story entertaining? Yes. I really did enjoy it. I rocketed through the pages because I had to see what was going to happen next. That definitely hadn't changed. Was I thrilled where it went? No. Did I find a big chunk of it to be a huge cop-out? Yes. Fade-to-blacks are bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. That was such a huge buzzkill I'm still not over it. I think because of that fade-to-black it made me even less sympathetic to Prim's death. Actually, I didn't know it was her that died until a few pages later because I didn't remember her description. I didn't get to see Katniss's reaction. She just said how much it hurt. Blah.

It was decent enough. I've certainly read better series enders. I've also read worse. It's entertaining, the characters are, for the most part, still themselves, but Katniss is a puppet shoved along in the story which I found hard to enjoy. I guess that's the point, but even within that role she wasn't much else. She just kind of went with it. It was disappointing. As I said, most of the second half of the book was a little much for me, whether it was implausible, too out there or I was just disconnected from it all, I think it could have been done differently, and better. But what are you going to do?


Sab H. said...

I was very disappointed as well though it may have been for different reasons. You talk about a few things that I hadn't considered.

Also, I think Katniss agreed to the final Hunger Games because that was what made it all click for her and in that second she decided she would kill Coin, and that's what Haymitch saw in her when she says that's when she gets how much he truly understood her. She would never let them happen.

That's what I got from it anyway. What I was really angry about was this mutation implanted in Peeta. I wanted a resolution between THEM not between her and an empty/crazy Mutt. I wish that she would have left him sane. Whatev.

Great Review! :)

Danny said...

Sab H. made a very good point! It always bothered me that Katniss voted "Yes" for the last Hunger Games, I was shocked to be honest, but looking at it like Sad said it makes sense.

I still think she did the right way to end her story including everything that happend also in character development. Katniss was done, she was totally screwed and just wanted peace, it's understandable after everything she went through.

Awesome Review , I always adore your honest reviews!

Jillian said...

I gave it 3 stars.. good but not good enough! I also personally hated the fact that Katniss voted yes for Hunger Games.. it actually annoyed me a lot, because I feel like she was drug-induced the entire time! lol. Anyway, great review. Love hearing what you think as always!

Steph said...

I've been looking forward to your review ever since I saw your twitter update that you weren't happy. Heh.

Nice. I can't say you're wrong - you're right, it was a buzzkill. But I also enjoyed the book immensely as a whole. I thought the characters were realistic in their context (post-Games) and I was so sad when Finnikin died! :(

You know what, though? Still, damn good series.


Donna said...

I mean it was good. I'd still recommend the whole series in a heartbeat. I just don't think the ending was as strong as it could have been. The entire epilogue was completely unnecessary. And that fade to black really chaps my ass. But beyond that, it's kind of whatever.

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