Tatiana's Reviews > Mockingjay

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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Dec 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010, favorites, ya, dystopias-post-apocalyptic, 2013, 2014, 2015
Recommended for: anyone who prefers to think instead of obsessing over love triangles
Read from August 25, 2010 to November 10, 2015 — I own a copy

Update 11/28/14. So, of course I had to read it again after getting only half of the story from the Mockingjay movie. Unsurprisingly, cried and cried again. My feelings basically remain the same about this installment. Structurally, the novel is quite messy. There is such a big game going on and Katniss' motivations and actions don't always make sense to me. But the ending is brilliant, especially the final chapters.

I need something to cheer me up ASAP.

Let's face it, a series is only as good as its last book. Is a kitchen towel drenched in my tears a good indicator of the quality of Mockingjay? I think it is, considering that I am not a crying-over-books type. I think this book is a FANTASTIC ending of a FANTASTIC series.

The book is lying next to me now, so deceitful in appearance, with its innocent, bright, cheerful cover. Who knew there would be so much darkness hidden between its pages, so much heartache? Mockingjay is indeed a DARK, DARK book full of deaths, sacrifices, torture, betrayal and despair, a book which takes you to a very disturbing but very real place.

I have no doubt the novel will have thousands of readers livid, especially the crowd of readers who mistakenly think The Hunger Games trilogy is mostly dedicated to Team Gale/Team Peeta dilemma with some revolt thrown in as a picturesque backdrop. These books are about love indeed, but they are also about survival, freedom, and peace.

I find it amazing that people are disappointed that Katniss doesn't take a Katniss-becomes-a-superwoman-and-takes-over-the-world-while-deciding-on-which-boy-to-pick route. How realistic is it to expect a child damaged by hunger, oppression, and violence she had to witness and take a part in, and thrown into the midst of all kinds of political intrigue, to achieve that? How many soldiers do you know who came out of a war unscathed or empowered by the atrocities they have witnessed? How many children?

This is why this book has such a great effect on me. It takes a very difficult but honest route, portraying the infinitely damaging consequences of war (regardless of the righteousness of its cause) and Katniss's journey to stay true to herself and do the best she can. And the love triangle resolution. Truly, it couldn't have ended any other way.

Is Mockingjay a perfectly written book? Absolutely not, it's not nearly as perfectly constructed or clear as The Hunger Games, but just like another imperfectly perfect successful series finale - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - it brings its message across in the most honest and powerful way possible.

Suzanne Collins is a genius, she is fearless and I have a great respect for the gutsiness of hers that didn't allow her to settle for an ending all wrapped up in pink paper with a perfect little bow. I am sure she knew that the faint of heart would be enraged. But she stuck to her guns and stayed true to her message and to her characters.

The question now is how will I recover from PTSD of my own caused by Mockingjay? It will probably take me months and a score of Georgia Nicolson diaries to get over it. But I love this book anyway, in spite (and because) of all the pain it has caused me.

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Reading Progress

08/25/2010 page 1
0.0% "Finally have the book in my hands. Pray I am one of those readers who gave it 5 stars!" 9 comments
08/25/2010 page 137
35.0% "Love it so far..."
08/25/2010 page 180
46.0% "OMG! Poor, poor Finnick!" 6 comments
08/25/2010 page 265
68.0% "Oh goodness. I think I will have to stay up to finish this."
11/09/2015 marked as: currently-reading
11/10/2015 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 128) (128 new)

Heather I pray you are too because it is devasting not to be. My heart is broken. :(

Pickles I cried throughout the entire ending.

I'm glad you thought it was a 5-star read!

message 3: by jesse (last edited Aug 26, 2010 12:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

jesse I thought the ending (not the epilogue itself) should've been a few pages longer about how Katniss and the other protagonists cope with what happened after the war. The consquences. I missed that. Other than that, I was satisfied as it stayed realistic and thus rang true.

I read that the casting for the movie will be final sometime in August after its final book release. I wonder how things'll turn out ...

Albie46 Ha! Still crying myself!

Tatiana I cried through probably last five chapters non-stop and didn't get any sleep at all.

Rosanne I've been sad since yesterday :(

Nicole Perfect review Tatiana. Very well said, thank you.

Hannah T -
I wasn't thrilled by the book, but neither did I hate it. Collins did go dark in this one, which is probably why it didn't rate 5 stars for me . Some of the deaths didn't get their full share of pathos (Finnick), some people lived who should have died (Gale). Sometimes the story seemed like a written version of "Saw".

Oh well, it was good enough. Just not stellar IMO.

message 9: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH I swore that I wouldn't look at reviews until I finished reading the book, but you know how much I love your reviews. You have certainly captured what I am feeling as I am reading this book. It is deceptively innocent looking, yet I am riveted to it. It saddens me, makes me angry, and makes me go through way too many emotions to even mention. I'll check in later when I finish and actually read everyone's comments.

Great review!

Megan Very good review. As readers, I think many of us have a hard time accepting the characters for who they are, as opposed to what we want them to be.

message 11: by Caty (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caty Last night I cried my eyes out, I'm glad you mentioned the PTSD thing, because I'm still feeling a little heartbroken today.
Great review, loved the Real :)

message 12: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 26, 2010 06:39AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana Hannah, all your points are valid, but I guess I was able to overlook them. I am sorry you didn't enjoy it as much as I did:(

AH, I hope I didn't spoil anything. I was trying to avoid spoilers.

Nicole, thank you:)

Megan, I agree, we do get attached to the characters, but I personally prefer a realistic ending to a sugar-coated one, even if it hurts.

Caty, the Real bit in the end was just so sweet, was it not? I cried this morning too while rereading the last chapter and epilogue.

Rosanne Wow-your reviews are always so thoughtful, very well said! So agree about the PTSD, I am living it right now. I am also realizing I have a bit of a thing for dark stories, because although it was sad as hell, I did not mind it.

So true about Katniss as superwoman, I have always seen this as a story about how a regular girl copes with war vs a regular girl becoming a hero or a romance story. I think I was expecting it to be dark, I was not at all surprised by how it turned out, I was braced for it and was so glad we got some sort of happy ending.

Someone mentioned on another forum that this book was almost too real, which I can see, and I think is why people are feeling mixed about it, it is hard to see characters we love suffer so much. A lot of people are talking about how Peeta was 'ruined' which I was confused about, again, I expected him to suffer much more at the Capital's hands.

It kind of reminded me of The Book Thief in a very abstract way, have you read that? It is incredible.

My thoughts are still so scattered, I am obviously not as together as you are!

Angie Great review, Tati. A kitchen towel drenched in your tears....LOL. So true.

This book. *shakes head* It was simply wonderful.

Tatiana I never expected Katniss to become a true political leader. She never wanted to be a part of any of it, but was forced into the slaughter by other people. How much can this girl take? I mean, she's been living in fear for herself and her beloved for years. And how much responsibility for other people's lives can she bear?

I have no idea why people say Peeta was ruined? I didn't feel so at all. I was so crushed over what he had had to endure. For me he is the most noble and gentle person in the whole series.

I've been meaning to read The Book Thief for years now.

And thank you. Writing this review had a therapeutic effect on me:)

Tatiana Angie, isn't it nice to have an EPIC WIN as a series finale for a change? :)

Angie SO freaking nice! I'm still basking in the fierceness of it all.

Kelly YES. I am kind of boggled by people who are surprised that the book contains a great deal of darkness and sadness. To me, the whole series is sad. Thrilling, yes, but at its core, sad. And I liked the ending of Mockingjay, how they'll never be quite in one piece but they're trying, and they have a better world to live in.

jesse I wonder what Collins will write next ... hm ..

Tatiana It will be hard, if at all possible, to top HG books.

message 21: by Caty (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caty See? that's one of the things I loved the most about this book, it feels real.

I live in a country with such a violent history, specially my city. In my experience, when you live so close to so much death and suffering there are two things that usually happens, either you develop some kind of shell around your heart, something to protect you from all the pain around you, or you become so angry, so desperate for things to change that you end up joining the conflict for better or for worst. I’ve seen it happen in real life, that’s one of the main reasons Katniss, Peeta and Gale feel so real, so human.

It is such a hard thing to read about, because at the end it’s true. Most people usually take peace for granted. I guess this is harder to understand when you are farther from this kind of reality, as Katniss herself said it, it’s really hard to imagine the Games when all you’ve ever known is the Meadow.

Pickles Great review, Tatiana! You managed to perfectly describe how the book felt for me while avoiding spoiling anyhing for people who haven't read it yet.

This definitely one of those books (and series) that sticks with you.

Angie Kelly and Tati, agreed. I'm surprised at that sort of shock. Clearly we were reading different books and went in with very different expectations.

Tatiana I agree, Angie, Kelly, I expected the darkness, because all three were dark, and the level of horror increased exponentially with each book, as Katniss got a wider and wider knowledge of the world she lived in but knew very little about.

message 25: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH OK, finally finished it. My kids were gnawing at my ankles but I just didn't care. Just incredible. I read the epilogue 3 times. Tissues everywhere.

Megan Great review! You said everything I can't ~ still to emotional & teary-eyed to think clearly about this series. I also loved that Katniss never became the sort of heroine we are used to seeing in novels. Rather, she was a 17year old girl ~ confused, depressed, at times selfish.... the beauty of this novel was allowing it to become a dark, gritty tale...

Tatiana I am soo happy you are of the same opinion about this book, Megan. I was so surprised so many people were disappointed in this book. I should have known though it would never satisfy Twilight/romance lovers.

Megan At first, I was disapointed that there was not a hawt reunion scene between Katniss and... er, the one she ended up with ~ trying to avoid the spoilers :) But the more I thought about it, we already saw these two fall in love. The story was more a test of the relationship, and I think it worked out better this way.

Also, I loved that the whole series told a very large & complicated story, all the while focusing on Katniss and her immediate feelings. Although I respect Collins for limiting this to a 3 book series about a teenage girl... it obviously could have grown into a much larger project. It's just amazing to me that Collins is able to create soo many stories & themes & ideas out of one girls tale.

I'm actually not suprised that so many people are disapointed, because people love a happy resolution ~ not matter how unrealistic it may be. I agree with you & your statement about Collins gutsiness 100%! :)

message 29: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Who was disappointed with this novel? Was it the crowd that only saw the Peeta/Gale/Katniss triangle? If so, they didn't get the books. It was not about a love triangle. It was about a girl made into a reluctant symbol for freedom, her being groomed for that purpose, and her experiences throughout. Yes, love did get factored in, but it wasn't just a love story.

Megan Tatiana wrote: "I should have known though it would never satisfy Twilight/roman..."

Of course not! Way too much independent thinking here for the Twilight loooovers ;)

Kelly @AH: Yeah, I think that's a large part of it; I think a lot of readers thought Katniss'd just kick everyone's ass in this installment and ride off into the sunset with Gale/Peeta and none of them would have lasting emotional scars. Which doesn't quite compute with me, because I think Katniss would be scarred even if only the first book happened. There was nothing about the setting that really allowed for a sweet, romantic story.

Megan AH wrote: "Who was disappointed with this novel? Was it the crowd that only saw the Peeta/Gale/Katniss triangle? If so, they didn't get the books. It was not about a love triangle. It was about a girl made in..."

The negative reviews I have read complain about the amount of violence & death, Katniss' depressed state & the not-so-happy ending. I think a lot of people expected the sun to come out at the end.

Kelly I guess to me it kind of did. The ending, to me, is not depressing, it's more...cautiously optimistic. They'll be dealing with their issues for a lifetime, but they are dealing with them, and they have a better world to live in, and the kids aren't growing up in a totalitarian environment. Now, some of the stuff that happened along the way was depressing, definitely.

message 34: by Annalisa (last edited Aug 27, 2010 08:02AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa What I was disappointed with in the novel was not that it wasn't a happy, empty ending or that it didn't focus on the romance. I'm glad it didn't and wasn't. I just agree that it was too much in the violence department. (This article explains pretty well my reaction to the violence.) It got to the point where I wondered when Collins would stop torturing Katniss just to break her. I know Hunger Games and Catching Fire are violent and pigeonhole Katniss, but it finally all got to me in this book.

message 35: by Tatiana (last edited Aug 27, 2010 10:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tatiana I feel like it's the same 2-year old Breaking Dawn debate about realistic vs. unrealistic ending. I am just happy this time I agree with the author's vision and try to leave discussions of the book's negatives to the dissatisfied readers. It's too taxing to try to defend it. People have different tolerance to violence, and it's fine with me.

message 36: by Dawn (new) - rated it 4 stars


Wicked Incognito Now I'm so glad that you brought up in your review that Katniss was a CHILD! (I haven't actually read the multitude of comments here) She did not seek to be a hero for the revolution. She did not look for popularity and status. She was constantly pushed into doing things just to keep those she loved safe. It's completely realistic as far as I'm concerned.

Tríona I LOVED Mockingjay! I just couldnt stop crying when it was over!!! Great review :)

Heather Great review T.
You bring up a valid point when you ask, "How many children or adults would be unaffected by such devastation". My answer would be none. But then I ask another question, "How many teenage athletes have spurned a be all end all political rebellion because they helped their team win a game?". My answer to that would also be none. Which leads me to my problem with the series. The realism didn't begin until the final installment when Collins expected me to swallow it. I couldn't because it wasn't the cannon of the previous books. Had it been, I would have loved it as the book was clearly well written, it just seemed to belong to another sereis.

Jessikah Thank you. Katniss is a seventeen year old girl, with real emotions attachments and confusion. She is not a commando or a revolutionary, she has flaws. She is a child! I am so confused when people expected more of her than that. And while I am very happy about how the love triangle panned out it was not really what the story way about.

Keiko Ivinson i agree with everything in that review.

Gabry I'm glad you liked this one and I was hoping for you to like it. I used to be one of those people who were disappointed, but I knew that I wanted an realistic ending and I got one and after hours of thinking Mockingjay, I understand it now. I just wish that there was a little bit more to the ending, just it being longer so things could be explained~ So I agree with your review.

Amanda I cried from the point Finnick died to the very end... It's been like 6 hours since I've finished the book and I still feel like I'm reading it; Still crying from Prim's death. I think that's what hurt the worst for me... I believe I finished that book in a state of shock and grief.
Definately a 5 star book!

Lindsae I LOVE what you said!! It's crazy how many people on here are so focused on the love triangle, and they're mad because she didn't pick Gale.... to me that was a side story, it wasn't the main focus - it was nice to see it resolved mind you, but it wasn't everything. And so many people are angry because they see Katniss as weak and easily-manipulated.... the whole point of Mockingjay was that her decisions weren't going to be as easy because she thought she was fighting with the good guys - it's easier to stand against your enemies.

It makes me sad. I think we have a strong tendency in our society to misjudge weakness and strength. Not once did I think Katniss was weak. I simply saw her as human. Everyone has a breaking point. And because she unwittingly became a pawn in the very first book, it became important to the tyrants in this story to ensure that she either reached hers or died - once she had served her purpose she needed to become a non-threat. How could she possibly have avoided that? She was a reactor to the events that were controlled by the people pulling the strings. And she was a great protagonist in that she always managed to turn the game to her advantage. But it's ridiculous to expect that she would have wanted to control the game - the people who want that were exactly the kind of people that Katniss could never be.

Collins' point was that those who seek power for the sake of having it are generally willing to do it at a heavy cost to those around them. And the brave and the innocent become entangled in their scheming. How could the story have remained honest and ended any other way?

And for the record, I think it perfect that she ended with Peeta. The best kind of love is the kind that grows between friends who've shared hard experiences. And the whole point to that ending was to give Katniss the peace she had longed for from the very beginning. The reason it's so easy to love her is that she doesn't love fighting for the sake of it - she's good at it, but she doesn't buy into it. Gale did.

I love this series. I'm going to buy the other books. And if I have little girls, I'm going to make sure they get to know Katniss too.

message 45: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Excellent points, Lindsae. I agree with you. It was perfect that she ended up with Peeta.

Lindsae AH wrote: "Excellent points, Lindsae. I agree with you. It was perfect that she ended up with Peeta."

Thanks AH! :)

Tatiana Yes, Lindsae, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

Lindsae Tatiana wrote: "Yes, Lindsae, thank you for your thoughtful comment."

Anytime :)

Carolyn Dixon Amazing review I can't even write one myself right now still crying, just finished the book. I loved the whole series so much!

message 50: by Jean (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jean I completely agree with every word in your review. I just finished reading the series yesterday, after reading them back to back, and I am haunted!

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