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.
Hardcover, First Edition, 390 pages
Five stars: A brilliant an emotional ending to a thought provoking series.
Katniss was swiped out of the Hunger Games arena by the rebels in District 13, only to be used as the symbol of the rebellion. She is the mockingjay born from the flames of the rebellion. As the unrest grows, the districts begin to rise up and fight against the Capitol. Meanwhile in District 13, Katniss, Gale, her mother, Prim and the rest anxiously await the response from Snow. Snow has Peeta, and Katniss knows he is being tortured and harmed in order to break her. Can Katniss rise above the flames once more and defeat the Capitol or will she falter?
What I Liked:
- I went into this book with extreme hesitation as so many people warned me that Mockingjay was a disappointment. At first, I was a bit bored as the action was lacking and the story line was slow. However, the final section of the book picks up substantially with the heart pounding terrifying action that Collins' books are known for. The last chapters are absolutely brilliant with their twists and turns and thought provoking themes. I can certainly see why fans might be disappointed in Katniss and the romance, but this book is so much more than a love triangle and kick butt heroine. It is a book that brings forth the darkest parts of humanity and our self destructive behavior, while it also shows our remarkable abilities to love and heal and our hope for the future. My advice is to look beyond the romance and see the true message in the pages. This is a read that will stick with me as I ponder over it for days and weeks to come.
- Let's talk about our favorite tough girl Katniss for a moment. Many people complain that she is nothing of her former self. Her tough, courageous and fierceness falters as she struggles to deal with the fallout and casualties of the war. Katniss takes every death personally as she feels responsible for them all. For the first portion of the book, she is the strong girl we know and love as she leaps into battle and takes on the troops from the Capitol. She doesn't hesitate to storm into danger, disregarding her personal safety. As the story progresses, the emotional stress and repeated injuries take their toll on Katniss mentally and physically. She isn't quite as admirable as we see her battling her personal turmoil and her faults. I didn't always like the way she acted, especially when it came to Peeta, but I understood. All to often, we want the heroes and heroines to be not only kick butt but impossibly good and lacking imperfections. When in reality, we all have our faults. How well would any of us have stood up to the torment, death and guilt that Katniss endured? By the end of the book, she is a shell of her former self, and even though it was hard to swallow, I admired her. She went through hell and back and in the end she manages to find love and she has hope for the future. I thought her growth was realistic and I liked going on the journey with her.
- What I loved the most about this book is that it makes you think as it exposes the faults of humanity as a whole. If you really stop and ponder the themes and actions in the books, you can easily draw comparisons into our society. Are we much different from the people of the Capitol with our propensity for material things? Think that the Hunger Games could never happen in real life? Think again...just look at our preoccupation with reality tv, and our love for violent movies and video games. Humans are brutal and selfish and we fight every single day to control our dark impulses and urges. Despite our knowledge and history, we continue to find ways to self destruct. Yet, we also have the capacity for great good and we can love and find hope even in the darkest scenarios. I loved that these books brought out these themes.
- Finally, even though these books weren't perfect, they managed to entertain and teach and generate a huge fan base. Many may criticize the finale because it wasn't as bright and happy as they hoped, but I applaud Ms. Collins for providing me a thrilling story and plenty to think on. I appreciate that this series generates conversation and that they have stirred the love of reading once again. Most of all I appreciate that I was throughly entertained.
And The Not So Much:
- This book is a bit slow and laborious until the final portion. There isn't much action, other than Katniss putting herself in danger and getting hurt repeatedly. I was actually a tiny bit bored with it especially in comparison to the Hunger Games. The final portion, though, is thrilling and terrifying and it was well worth the wait. The finale is stunning and thought provoking.
- The love triangle finally resolves. I will avoid spoilers, but I will say I was pleased and I was not pleased with the way it all worked out. I think my dissatisfaction comes from the way things played out between the losing suitor. I wanted a continued friendship and understanding, at the very least a pleasant parting, but I didn't get that. Instead one of the candidates bows out and disappears without a goodbye. It was a bit heartbreaking. I would have loved to see a mention in the Epilogue regarding what happened to him. The other part that I can see causing a lot of disappointment was that the romance was shoved aside for the more important elements of the book. I got that and understood it, but when the dust settles and there is that brief moment when the romance takes root in the seeds of hope, I wanted it to grow and blossom into something beautiful and satisfying so I could close the book with a smile. What I found was a tiny snippet of how the couple finally came together and a look at their life together in the future. Yes, they will always be haunted by the past, but their love will see them through. Even though it wasn't as sweet and wonderful as I wanted, I was still satisfied.
- There are once again brutal and mass casualties in this book as everyone starts dropping like flies. Unfortunately over the course of three books, I think we have come to expect these deaths and it has desensitized us to the killings. I also thought they got to be a bit much and I thought that Collins was killing everyone off because she could or perhaps because she thinks we expect it. Whatever the reason, the deaths failed to have much of an impact on me because I had few attachments to the characters ( I have learned to not get attached) and also because many of the deaths were quick and I really didn't have time to absorb them. Even the final death lacked a big emotional impact because it is quickly brushed over. None of the deaths affected me like the major one in the first book.
- I was dissatisfied over the relationship between Katniss and her mother throughout the series. The mother never felt developed. She fails to provide emotional support, especially at the end. Seriously, how could she abandon her daughter like that knowing everything she had been through? I don't even know her name other than Katniss' mother. This is a character totally missed the mark throughout. I kept hoping she would come through, but she never really does.
- Finally, there were a lot of important details that are glossed over and left out. It is never revealed how Plutarch and Haymitch plot together. The whole situation with Snow and Coin could have been expanded upon. In the final chapter there is vote regarding the continuation of the Hunger Games, and I was shocked to see how everyone voted. Why did the last two voters vote the way they did? What is it a ploy or did they truly feel that way? Even though I know the character's had their flaws, I had a hard time accepting after everything they had endured that they would vote that way. I was expecting more on this, but got nothing. I was also disappointed that a pivotal scene in the book was totally left out. I couldn't believe that when the rebels stormed the Capitol on the rescue mission that it was not included, that would have been a thrilling, nail biting scene.
Mockingjay brings to an end a series that generated a hunger and fire in readers throughout the world. These may not be perfect books, but they are books that teach important lessons as they entertain. There is so much more to the story than the action and killing and the love triangle. I am glad I was able to go on this journey and that I was entertained throughout. The Hunger Games Trilogy has earned a spot on my favorites shelf, where it will be loved and read again and again.
"That's the one thing I think my head doctor might be right about. There's no going back. So we might as well get on with things."
"Now we're in the sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated," he says. "But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self destruction."
"What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again."
I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.