Monday, December 23, 2013

Blogmas Day 23: Mockingjay Book Review

Title: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Schoastic
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Source: Bought-Easons
Amazon | Easons

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.

Mockingjay was just one of those books you knew wouldn't live up to the expectations, couldn't live up to the expectations. It was a near-impossible feat.

District 13 is alive. Well as alive as one can be when living underground. The beginning of Mockingjay is set in District 13, after a brief opening in 12, but with only one half of the star crossed lovers; Katniss. Accepting the heated baton from Catching Fire's ending, Mockingjay's opening actually turned out rather mellow with a pace far slower than it's prequel. I understood why Collins wrote it out this way, to give readers a chance to settle themselves, but the thing is, when I started reading Mockingjay, I was anything but settled. I was hopped up on excitement, excitement that just wasn't met while reading the opening few chapters of Mockingjay. And as a result, it felt as if the beginning dragged on too long.

There's only so much vibrancy and appeal an underground bunker can offer. In Mockingjay, the new setting of District 13 both interested and disinterested me. A change of scenery in series, especially YA series, is appreciated, more often than not, but my appreciation didn't go very far. Throughout Katniss' time there, there was this sort of ominous, dampening ambiance, as if Katniss has carried with her, the smoke from District 12 after the bombing. Despite what you may think about teenagers, we don't tend to like dark and dreary atmospheres, and I felt that the majority of Mockingjay was just laden with it.

Later on in the book, however, when Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Finnick and the rest actually went on their mission to the Capitol, I started to tune in more. Personally, action in a book is a good thing. It's exciting, attention-grabbing and exhilarating. But the author took it a tad too far in Mockingjay, as weird as that sounds. The whole concept of the first two books were more action-drive, of course, but I thought the readers were exposed to way more in the final book. And to be honest, I felt like some of it was unnecessary.

First of all, Katniss gets attacked, or injured in some way, one too many times. I mean, come on Collins, she's attacked time and time again, and apart from Peeta's choking her, I couldn't see any reason behind the other attacks. It was almost as if the author acknowledged the strong character she'd built up in the previous two novels, and thought of ways to break her. I was beyond confused, as to why everything that happened to Katniss seemed to be negative, and it got to the point where I actually felt like rolling my eyes and sighing at how predictable it'd become.

As aforementioned, Katniss was built up to be strong in the first two books, and that really played a part in my liking her so much. It was almost tragic how many times she was knocked down, physically and in spirit. I'm sorry for yet another reference, but it's like Shakespeare's 'Othello' all over again. And it wasn't even only Katniss. Another character, at who's breaking I broke myself, was Johanna. Am I correct in saying we all thought she was the most impressive badass in 'Catching Fire'? Yet in Mockingjay she was only a shell of that previous person, and for what? Alright I'll credit Collins with that one because Johanna was tortured by the Capitol for information, but it still didn't justify how empty she was when she returned.

Before his rescue, Peeta definitely lit the way in characterisation for this book. While Katniss was whisked off to star in the rebels' propos, he was in the Capitol, remaining as composed as ever, even daring to give the rebels hints through his interview with Caesar. But unfortunately he too was broken, the Capitol even going as far as hijacking his mind and before soon, he was attacking the girl he once loved.

I think Suzanne Collins wanted to tell us that war was the primary theme in Mockingjay, and I don't think she cared, anymore, about subtlety.
The ending of Mockingjay didn't satisfy me, it didn't tie up the loose ends, it didn't bring to a close the characters' journeys. At least not for me. By the final chapter, I was, again, too confused for anything to properly register, and to this day there hasn't been much clarity, which is a disappointment.

I don't want it to seem like I'm slamming this book, The Hunger Games is actually one of my favourite series. There were things I liked about the book, but I could think of many more ways this series could have ended, ways that would have been much more satisfying and a whole lot less confusing. In the end, I just want this review to reflect my confusion and disappointment.

My favourite 'Mockingjay' review
Heather's Review

How about you guys? What were your thoughts on the final book?
Until tomorrow, with Christmas Eve's Blogmas!

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