kingshearte's Reviews > Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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Sep 01, 10

bookshelves: 2010, fiction, teen, teen-books-worth-reading, post-apocalyptic-dystopian
Read on August 26, 2010 — I own a copy

** spoiler alert ** I've been waiting for this book pretty much since the moment I finished Catching Fire, back in January. It didn't disappoint. The Hunger Games was very good, and I felt that Catching Fire was even better, because of the way it ramped up the darkness of the whole thing, and this one kicked it up even further. As you read, you just keep uncovering new layers upon layers of dark, cruel viciousness, making you realize that as bad as it seemed on the surface, which is what was shown in The Hunger Games, it's actually much worse. This one was pretty intense, pretty much from the beginning right to the end.

One of the other things I like is how some things are left to your imagination. She'll reveal seemingly unconnected details, but leave you to connect the dots or not. For example, at one point, Finnick talks about how, as an attractive victor, he was expected to basically allow the Capitol to whore him out to whoever they wanted. If he refused, they would kill someone he loves. In an entirely unrelated situation, Johanna (who, if I recall correctly, may be more or less unlikable, but she's still attractive) mentions the fact that she has no one left that she loves. So I wondered: does she have no one left because she refused to be a whore too often? Maybe Collins never intended for those two things to be connected, but I think it's interesting. We don't need to know every detail about everyone's life in order to feel for them and be angry. And by not having every victor put in that situation come forward and say so, it leaves Finnick's story with a certain poignancy, despite knowing that he wouldn't have been the one subjected to that particular cruelty.

There was only one thing I really objected to, in terms of the choices the characters make. At the end, when the Capitol had fallen, the remaining victors were asked to vote on whether or not there should be one final Hunger Games, using the children of the influential people of the Capitol. Katniss voted yes, in memory of her sister, and for me, that didn't sit well with what I know of these people. I can sort of see Katniss wanting to have that revenge, but I would also expect her to (a) be so horrified by the very notion of the Games that she would never wish them on anyone, and (b) understand that while yes, it would certainly punish those influential people, having to watch their children be sacrificed in this manner, it would also hugely punish those children, who, although they probably would have grown up to follow in their parents' footsteps, thus far, they haven't. None of what has happened has been those kids' faults, any more than the original rebellion that led to the districts and the Games were the fault of the kids who were forced to play in them every year. Furthermore, and this is my real issue with Katniss's vote, there is no way her sister would have voted yes. Based on what we know of Prim, if given a voice, she would have said absolutely and unequivocally no. So the notion of saying yes because of her just did not sit well with me at all.

And then of course, there's that love triangle. The more I read it, and felt that it was definitely leaning toward Peeta (although never so completely that it couldn't conceivably still go the other way - on the other hand, there were plenty of people pretty adamantly on Team Jacob, when I thought it was crystal clear that it was all Edward all the way, so maybe I'm just s delusional as they were.), the more I realized that I was really pulling for Gale. So I was also disappointed when ultimately, it was Peeta. But as I indicated in my review of Catching Fire, I'm not disappointed because I think she made the wrong choice - I don't think there was a wrong choice in this instance. I just wanted her to make the other one. Which I gather is an unpopular opinion, with most people pretty decidedly on Team Peeta. For me, I just really liked the deep friendship aspect of the relationship with Gale, because I find that that's frequently the strongest foundation for a relationship. I liked the dynamic between them, liked the fact that the love there was maybe a little understated, but no less intense. So I was disappointed, but only a little. And Collins still gets kudos for not going with either of the cop-out options I'd come up with.

Ultimately, I was happy with this book. It was a very satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy, and I'm very pleased that Scholastic provided my husband with copies of the first two books, because if they hadn't just happened to be in my house, I might not have picked them up. I'd only just now be aware of the buzz surrounding it, and I'd probably dismiss it as another bit of teen fluff to ignore. I'll have to look over the full list at the end of the year, but at the moment, I'm leaning toward thinking that these may be some of the best books I've read this year. And I've read a hell of a lot of books this year.
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