Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Well, I've reached the end of the Hunger Games.... it's taken me a few days to write the review, but I finally have it done! FYI, if you're not interested in this series, fear not, I'll be back next week with a review on My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade, which is a new Christian Fiction novel. :) So anyway, without further ado, here's my review for the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.

Book Cover and Synopsis:
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.

My Thoughts:
The final book in the Hunger Games trilogy....I have somewhat mixed feelings about Mockingjay, but it's hard to know where to begin. Katniss's celebrity status is more dominating than ever, with the whole nation looking to her as the symbol of the rebel movement. Most of her family and friends escaped the bombings in District 12, but the Capitol has captured Peeta, and not knowing his fate has left Katniss with a heavy heart. Her old friend Gale is often at her side, but recent events have changed them both, and their relationship just isn't the same as it used to be. To those around Katniss, it's clear where her heart lies, whether she knows it herself or not.

The rebellion leaders' concern for Katniss's safety results in much of her time being spent underground (literally!), which not only adds to her gloomy mindset, but also causes the pacing of the story to be slower than the previous two books, especially during the first half. Several times I just wanted to light a fire under someone to get things moving a bit quicker!

Unfortunately, Peeta's captivity in the Capitol causes him to not be present for a large portion of the book, and I have to say that I really, really missed him. Of all the characters, he has the softest heart and has always managed to bring just a hint of lightness and gentleness to the savage situations encountered in the past. His absence was deeply felt, and when he finally did make an appearance, I was somewhat shocked, disappointed, and very much saddened by what had become of him. :(

Overall, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed with Mockingjay. It doesn't have the same spirit that was present in the first two books, and with Peeta's long-running absence, well, there was really no one left to bring a spark of humor, irony, or anything, to dull the horribleness of the events in their world.

In the end, the long-awaited change did come to Panem, but not as much or in the way that I'd hoped. At this point our heroes are so beaten down, broken, and abused, both mentally and physically, that they barely resemble the people we originally met in The Hunger Games, which I find very sad. Now, despite my mixed feelings on the book, I will admit that Mockingjay is absolutely essential reading if you've already read the first two books, there's just no denying that fact. However, now that I've read it, I'm going to try to remember our heroes the way they were before...before the atrocities they both witnessed, and committed, left them as little more than empty shells, ghosts of their former selves.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Note: As I mentioned in my previous Hunger Games reviews, the inclusion of the series on my blog isn't necessarily an endorsement or reading recommendation. I realize the nature of the plot is touchy, so please use your own discretion when deciding if The Hunger Games is appropriate for you or your children.

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