Mockingjay

4921900971 760b176b39 MockingjayBuy Mockingjay
Price: $17.99
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover
Reviewer: Melissa on August 27, 2010
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As with the other novels in The Hunger Games trilogy, reading Mockingjay was one of the best few days I’d ever spent. To say that I devoured it would be an understatement as this was one of the fastest reads for me in a long time. If you’ve been a fan of this series so far, then you need to get your hands on this book – the sooner, the better!

Suzanne Collins‘ latest novel begins exactly one month after the conclusion of Catching Fire in the fiery ash of District 12, where Katniss explores the destruction of the only place she’s ever called home. Clearly, Katniss has survived the cruel and hunting Quarter Quell, and thankfully, Gale, her mother and Prim all made it out before the firebombs flattened District 12 and have been taken into the open arms of District 13. However, not all is well: Peeta has been captured by the Capitol and both Finnick and Katniss are suffering from severe cases of PTSD. Will she be able to break free from the hold of depression and her injuries to become the Mockingjay, the symbol of the revolution?

Mockingjay, the final installment in the bestselling trilogy has arrived, and it isn’t surprising to me that a book which is both the most anticipated book of the summer and the most talked about book of 2010 already has a little controversy associated with it. I’ve read a few different reviews since I completed the novel, and while many are overwhelmingly positive, there are a few sticking points with some long time fans. Any book that develops such a following is going to disappoint some, but personally, I think that Collins has gone beyond my expectations. Even when some aspects of the plot didn’t end up the way I was hoping they would, I was completely satisfied with the conclusion. For those who have criticisms of the novel, I would love to discuss it with you more fully, but I’d prefer not to have too many spoilers in this review.

One of the “issues” is that Katniss never outwardly or inwardly chooses things in a few instances. Personally, I think that Katniss has been avoiding some of these choices since the beginning of the series. If she were to make a definitive decision all of a sudden, then I wouldn’t have believed it, especially not when she hasn’t and won’t ever fully recover from the traumatic events of the last few years. She lives in the “after,” and for some people, there is no way to see beyond it. I commend Collins’ depiction of mental illness and strongly believe that she has given an accurate portrayal of the limitations that it imposes on Katniss. At the same time, however, I do believe that she was always moving toward one person in particular with only rare moments of back peddling to the  other.

Personally, I can’t really even see any negatives here because Collins doesn’t shy away from presenting the dark underbelly of both sides of the war. While she has given ample criticism of the Capitol throughout the series, and President Snow certainly proves to be more cruel than we’ve ever seen him, Mockingjay suggests that readers can’t turn a blind eye on the “evil” that comprises the revolutionary forces, including those “holier than thou” members of District 13. Just as in any real revolution, the parties who begin it can be sucked into the race for power and control, even at the expense of the very people they were supposedly protecting. Just as the Games had the tendency to devalue both human life and derange the very humanity of the participants, one can’t help but question the humanity of those who would benefit most.

With a mixture of some of the sweetest and most harrowing moments of the entire trilogy, Mockingjay proves to be a brilliant conclusion to an already amazing series. Believe the hype – buy this book or order the Hunger Games box set because waiting for the next installment will be torturous. Kudos to Suzanne Collins!

  23 comments for “Mockingjay

  1. September 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I had not heard there would be another installment. Oh my heck! I really enjoy Collins writing – she can do no wrong.
    kjovus

  2. September 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Suzanne Collins definitely is a great writer, and glad you think so too, kjovus!

  3. Krystal
    September 2, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I haven’t actually read this series yet believe it or not! I’ve always wanted to and now that the 3 of them are out, I should get onto it!
    Great review by the way :)

  4. September 2, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for your comment, Krystal! Yes, now that all three of them are out, it’s a great time to read this series. You can either read them all in quick succession or slowly enjoy each one.

    Glad you like my review. :)

  5. September 2, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Great review. I’m sad to say that I still have not read this book but I really want to! You’re review told me a lot of NON spoiler stuff so I was glad!

  6. September 3, 2010 at 6:20 am

    Thanks for your comment, Kalia! I think that with a series like the Hunger Games, it’s really important to offer no spoilers and I’m glad that you picked up on it. :)

  7. September 8, 2010 at 12:00 am

    I think PTSD is a new (and long overdue) concept in a YA book: so many books celebrate “warriors” and “adventure heroes” without ever hinting that fighting and killing and war will have emotional repercussions. Of course, that’s true of adult books, too!

  8. September 8, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Thanks for your comment, KaraCyth! I’m sure that PTSD is an overdue concept in YA novels, as you said. I tend to think that part of it is that most “warrior” or “adventure hero” books (and really any other media, movies, TV shows, etc.) couldn’t mention the emotional repercussions without being a totally different story. With the Hunger Games trilogy, and Mockingjay in particular, it works because, ultimately, these books are anti-war and violence. You can see how the fighting and killing affects the characters because the book wants you to question the nature of war and violence itself. However, in typical warrior or adventure hero books (esp. for the MG and YA audience), it shows an idealized side of war. A hero, in these books, can only be a hero if he is without weakness. I know that there are a lot of adult books that show the repercussions of PTSD caused by war, and I’d recommend Tim O’Brian’s books, in particular The Things They Carried. Some scenes are really horrifying though, so keep that in mind.

  9. September 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I have been wanting to read this series. Love your review, it gave me information about the book I hadn’t read before.

  10. September 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Yay! Glad you like my review, Vicki. I’m not sure exactly what parts you’re referring to (though I do have an inkling), but I think the fact that we all bring different things to books might account for the things that I thought were important vs. what others might have valued.

  11. September 8, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Yay! Glad you like my review, Vicki. I’m not sure exactly what parts you’re referring to (though I do have an inkling), but I think the fact that we all bring different things to books might account for the things that I thought were important vs. what others might have valued.

  12. Ekta
    September 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I love your review! A lot of people had negative things to say about Mockingjay but I didn’t see them. Everything that people didn’t like about the book were precisely the reasons that I loved it and I’m glad you feel that way too!

  13. September 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Yay! Glad you love my review, Ekta! I understand that other readers are coming at the book from different perspectives than I am and possibly that’s why we loved Mockingjay, while others felt it was lacking. Who knows…maybe if they re-read the series at another time, those who didn’t like it the first time through would develop an appreciation. :)

  14. Hannah
    September 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Great review! I definitely thought Suzanne did a brilliant job with making this book realistic. I’ve seen reviews disagreeing with that but I LOVED the series! :D

  15. September 11, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks, Hannah! Glad you like my review. Yeah, I agree – I think she made all the right choices. :)

  16. Michelle
    September 12, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I’ve started to read the first one and I am hooked!

  17. September 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    The Hunger Games is a great book. Hope you like Mockingjay as much. :)

  18. Kristina Barnes
    September 15, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Ooh, I haven’t had a chance to read Mockingjay so I sort of skimmed your review (no offense meant – I just didn’t want it spoiled in case something spoily was left in! I’m sure I’ll come back and read it again when I get my hands on Mockingjay :D).

    Of course, I couldn’t ignore the bold print. (My eyes are hungry for Mockingjay news D: ) I think it’s interesting that Katniss has PTSD. I sort of thought she would have had SOME repercussions of the Hunger Games, like Haymitch’s drinking, so I was a bit surprised when that didn’t come through at the end of the first hunger games. I’m glad that Collins worked that into the story — I’d personally be mortified if I had to suffer some of the things that Katniss has.

    I’m really glad you liked it! I’ve heard about so many people thinking Mockingjay was an “epic failure” for the third installment. I didn’t read too much into that — spoiler scaredycat — so I’m curious as to why they’d say that. x= And it just totally makes me want to read it even moooore!

    Great review Melissa! :D

  19. September 15, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    No offense taken, Kristina! I tried very hard not to put any spoilers in the review, but there is always the chance that something might have crept in that you wouldn’t want to read. Feel free to leave another comment when you have the chance to read Mockingjay. I’d love to know what you think about it.

    I agree with you – what Katniss has been through during the first and second book in the Hunger Games trilogy is terrible, and you’re definitely right on the money when you compare her issues with Haymitch’s drinking.

    You should definitely check out what people think about it – those who didn’t enjoy it – once you’ve finished reading it, but not before. There will definitely be tons of spoilers in those conversations (I’d know because I read some of them after I finished the book). I personally don’t agree at all that it’s an “epic failure” and believe that, if anything, the reason most people don’t like it is that they had expectations that weren’t met. Maybe they wanted something bigger, but I think that the ending Suzanne Collins chose made perfect sense – even when there are some things I was hoping would end up differently. I wasn’t disappointed. It just felt right to me. Even now, when I think of the final sentence, it gives me major chills.

  20. andrea
    September 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I’m very glad that Suzanne Collins didn’t shy away from the hard and ugly things that happen in the book… I don’t think that I would’ve bought it if Katniss had suddenly started making choices, not in the mental state that she was in for most of the book… I didn’t imagine the book going in the direction that it did with some things but I’m also very satisfied with the trilogy’s conclusion…

  21. September 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I completely agree with you, Andrea. I think that some people didn’t really take into account what Katniss’ mental state was like throughout the entire novel. It’s possible that they don’t realize how pervasive PTSD is and how long those types of feelings can affect people. However, it was something very present for me in this novel, and I was also very satisfied with the end. One of my friends and I were only sad that the trilogy was really over, but then we thought that maybe Suzanne Collins might write a prequel, about Katniss’ mom, which I think might be pretty awesome. :)

  22. September 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Great review! I’m eager to read this one and see how this series ends. I keep fluctuating back and forth in how I “hope” it ends. Wait! Don’t tell me! I want to be surprised!

  23. September 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Glad that you liked my review! Hehehe…of course I wouldn’t say how it ends – that would be terrible. Would love to know what you think when you do have a chance to read it. :)

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