Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

   2010; 390 pages. Book Three of the “Hunger Games” trilogy.  New Author? : No.  Genre : YA; Dystopian Thriller.  Overall Rating : 9*/10.

    The flames of rebellion have come to Panem!  There are uprisings in every district, except maybe the coddled District 2, and Katniss’s District 12, which was recently bombed into oblivion by the Capitol’s hovercraft.

    It would be great to have a symbol to unite the rebellion, a Mockingjay, someone to put a face on the uprising.  Maybe we should ask Katniss, who’s recuperating from her wounds suffered in the recently-completed Hunger Games.  She’s the logical choice.

    Of course, what would be even better is a martyr.  Symbols can be stubborn sometimes, but martyrs never are.  Perhaps Katniss can be persuaded to become one of those instead.

What’s To Like...
    This is the third and final book in Suzanne Collins's blockbuster trilogy.  It is unique in that there aren’t any more Hunger Games being played, but that doesn’t mean Mockingjay is any less action-packed than the first two books.  Nor any less bloodshed; lots of people get killed here, both good folks and baddies.

    The first half of the book focuses om Katniss’s efforts to grow into the role of being the Mockingjay.  Photo ops do not come naturally to her.  The second half deals with a black ops mission that Katniss finagles her way into going along on, and will assuage anyone suffering from Hunger Games withdrawal.

    The storyline is well-structured and the character-development is topnotch.  I particularly liked the way Prim was handled.  President Snow’s demise felt just a tad bit clunky, but I quibble.

    Everything builds to a tense and satisfying ending, which in turn is followed by a short epilogue which is positively superb.  The Katniss-Gale-Peeta love triangle is resolved in what I felt was a refreshing manner.  So in a nutshell, if you loved Hunger Games and Catching Fire, you will be just as thrilled with Mockingjay.  This is a mesmerizing series, to be enjoyed by YA and adult readers alike.

    This is what all of District 2, all of Panem maybe, must be seeing at the moment.  The Mockingjay at the mercy of a man with nothing to lose.
    His garbled speech is barely comprehensible.  “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t shoot you.”
    The rest of the world recedes.  There’s only me looking into the wretched eyes of the man from the Nut who asks for one reason.  Surely I should be able to come up with thousands.  But the words that make it to my lips are “I can’t.”  (pg. 215)

    “The impact ruptured your spleen.  They couldn’t repair it.”  She gives a dismissive wave of her hand.  “Don’t worry, you don’t need one.  And if you did, they’d find you one, wouldn’t they?  It’s everybody’s job to keep you alive.”
    “Is that why you hate me?” I ask.
    “Partly,” she admits.  “Jealousy is certainly involved.  I also think you’re a little hard to swallow.  With your tacky romantic drama and your defender-of-the-helpless act.  Only it isn’t an act, which makes you more unbearable.  Please feel free to take this personally.”  (pg. 220)

 “Fire is catching! … And if we burn, you burn with us!”  (pg.  100)
    There is a lot to like about this trilogy, but the one thing that stands out above all the rest (at least for me) is this : a very commonplace motif – a rebellion against a dystopian tyranny – is handled in a most non-standard way.

    Katniss may be the symbol of the revolution, but she is very definitely not its leader.  She is useful to those who lead the uprising; but she is also expendable.  President Snow may be a brutal tyrant, but those who lead the rebels aren’t choirboys either.  Katniss reminds me of the historical Joan of Arc:  a capable fighter, immensely popular with the ordinary people, but out of her league when it comes to politics.

    And that makes for a fascinating character in a gripping trilogy, fully deserving of all the praise it's been given.

    9 Stars.  Both for Mockingjay in particular and the trilogy as a whole.  For me, this was a great series, full of lots of action, lots of drama, and lots of topics – violence, poverty, suffering, sadistic entertainment, and when to rise up in revolt, to name just a few -  upon which to ponder.  This is the second trilogy I’ve finished this year already (the closing book of the other is reviewed here), which means it’s time to see what all the hoopla is about over Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy.

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