Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

2010. Scholastic Press. Hardcover. 392 pages.

From: Borrowed from a co-worker

In a nutshell:

This is #3 of the popular Hunger Games trilogy, so I’ll skip a synopsis.  However, if you aren’t familiar with the trilogy, I direct you to my spoiler-free review of the first book.

 

Review:

After hearing that I was on my library’s waitlist for Mockingjay, a co-worker immediately volunteered to lend me her copy.  Ironically, the waiting list at my library subsequently sped up and the library copy became available to me the day after I finished reading my co-worker’s copy.

Anyway, Mockingjay!  I was excited to read the conclusion of this fast-paced, satisfying trilogy, but apprehensive about the fates of its characters.  I had already lost one of my favorite characters in the second book.  I had a right to worry, as the body count in Mockingjay is high.  Collins doesn’t linger overmuch on individual scenes of violence, but she does keep them coming fast and furious, especially as the story barrels to a close. (By the way, the Gladiator soundtrack made a perfect musical complement to reading the last half of Mockingjay.)

Mockingjay also escalates its theme of propaganda, and the power of words and images to sway people.  Katniss has reluctantly become the symbol of revolution, but the Capitol has a strike-back propaganda strategy which may crush her mental and emotional strength.  As if that was not enough, Katniss also worries about becoming a pawn for the rebel leaders, whose motives she does not trust completely.

We’re introduced to some great new characters such as military leader Boggs and propaganda director Cressida and characters from the first and second books are developed further, such as fellow Games victors, Finnick and Johanna.   I really admire Collins’ ability to make all of the characters interesting.  In particular, I love that Katniss is surrounded by characters who have just as much to contribute as she does.  Although Katniss is awesome in many respects, Collins isn’t afraid to humble her using another character’s insight or generosity.

As for the love triangle, it’s present but doesn’t overwhelm the story with unnecessary angst.  To me, it’s been pretty clear from the first book who Collins was setting up to be the ‘right’ guy for Katniss.  However, it has not been at all clear as to whether either he will survive the events of the trilogy.  Collins really puts her characters through the wringer physically, emotionally and mentally.

I am definitely satisfied with how the trilogy ended.  *slight, vague spoiler* Katniss’ situation gets very desperate toward the end, but a measure of peace is afforded to her, although the scars can never go away. *end spoiler*

One last thing: it is rare that songs in novels work for me.  I usually skip reading them in Lord of the Rings for example.  However, I felt that both of the songs created for the Hunger Games trilogy – Katniss’ lullaby she sang to Rue in the first book, and the Hanging Tree song – really added a lot to the books’ atmosphere.

I’m pretty sure I will get my own copies someday so that I can re-read this memorable trilogy down the line.

Others’ reviews of Mockingjay:

Book, Line and Sinker – “Collins managed to alienate me from my favorite characters with their incongruous behaviors.”

bookshelves of doom – “Suzanne Collins did a brave thing in dealing so heavily with Katniss’ guilt and depression — because there are going to be a lot of people who are unhappy with a guilty, depressed, unhappy heroine.”

My Friend Amy – “I can say that this is the first time in ages I sat down and read a 400 page book cover to cover, completely unaware that I was reading, not thinking about all of the the other things I should be doing and simply losing myself completely and utterly in a story.”

Reviews by Lola – “I HATED the epilogue . . . With the exception of the epilogue, this book, as well as the other two, were so raw and gritty, but the epilogue seemed like it was trying to explain everything away.”

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

  1. I’ve wondered about these… I didn’t know anything about them until Mockingjay came out and I saw it in the stores. They really sound intriguing! (Un)fortunately I think I’ll have to add them to my to-read list.

  2. That is the least spoilery spoiler I’ve ever seen tagged with spoiler warnings. :p I liked the song too! And concur with the thing of songs often not working in books. I think they tend to work better when the songs are familiar, though — Patrick Ness does this to magnificent effect with “Early One Morning” in The Knife of Never Letting Go — so props to Suzanne Collins for making a nonexistence song work.

  3. I’ve been wanting to read this trilogy for so long but I am glad I waited until all of them are out in print. Now I can devour them in one fell swoop and not have to worry about waiting for the next to come out (I don’t know how people do that–suspense kills!)

    Great review!

  4. Chris – Thanks for stopping by! The Hunger Games trilogy definitely has earned its popularity. They are incredibly fast reads, so they won’t weigh your to-read list too much! 🙂

    Jenny – yeah, it really is not very spoilery, at all. I was thinking I was going to get much more spoilery than that, but doing that runs against my programming or something. I do need to get a hold of the Ness books this year.

    Constance – yes, I agree, it’s much better to let these trilogies or sequels get published so you at least know that getting the next book is an attainable prospect!

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