Sunday, 12 September 2010

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So here I am, thinking that a review shouldn't be this damn hard to write. But hey. It's Mockingjay...only the most anticipated book of the year!

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy
--Book 1: The Hunger Games
--Book 2: Catching Fire
--Book 3: Mockingjay
Source: Borrowed from friend

Blurb (Goodreads):
"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year."

On the cover: I had to very reluctantly peeled my eyes off the pure, glossy cover, to devour the first page of the story. Considering the brilliance I was awaiting after Catching Fire, I believe that is enough said.

I could go on forever about this book, but by now everyone has probably read this book, so I'll make it into a discussion about three of the main elements in this book.

1. Katniss
Over the span of the two books, I had come to regard Katniss as an extremely resourceful, rebellious and intelligent character. She had me hooked from the beginning. Her admirable personality, the ability to persevere under the dire circumstances, her strong sense of individuality.

Katniss changed in Mockingjay. She flashed briefly as the iconic leader of the rebellion. But that was all she was - an icon for the masses. Was she there when the other Districts rebelled? Did she know how they rebelled?

No. She was stuck in 13, putting on clothes and make up to film propaganda, in between her blank, numb spots of depression, while being obligingly oppressed by President Coin.

I suppose I was just unsatisfied with Katniss' reduction as a character that I had grown to love. She was still resilient, but less so.

Perhaps I'm taking this change too close to the heart. Katniss is just a fictional character, in a far-off dystopian world. But it's a tribute to Suzanne Collins' brilliance as an author that I feel so strongly about Katniss' change.

The truth of Katniss' emotions resonates with me, though. After everything she has been through, her post-traumatic stress disorder is utterly understandable. It is a miracle that she was able to hold on for another Hunger Games in Book 2.

2. Death
The second thing I want to talk about is death. The death of so many characters in this novel was very JK Rowling. Characters that I loved were executed with a strike of Collins' pen.

The death toll rose before my eyes. I felt as if there was a death list, and every time I turned the page, someone else would be dropping dead before me. Cinna, Finnick, and Primrose's deaths were the most shocking. I kept waiting for them to reappear. It was Deathly Hallows all over again.
The deaths, combined with Katniss' continued depression, and a heavy coat of rebellious subject matter, made the story seem absolutely real tome. It was dark, and scary and truthful.

3. The Ending

Let me show you this in a metaphorical story:

After several years of laborious work, Collins had woven a complex and beautiful tapestry of a world that amazed all who cast their eyes upon it, using the magic of her mind. As she neared the end of her depiction, she realised that she no longer had enough string to complete the story. And so she hastily tied up the loose threads that still hung free, in a knot that she had seen many others perform before.

When her masterpiece had been completed, people were awed by the truth and dark themes that resounded from the tapestry's colours. They revelled in the beauty that the magic of her words had created.

But at the very end, they saw the hasty knots, and the threads that hung forgotten and vague.

Some still admired the tapestry for it's beauty. But some were disappointed.

And I was one of them. 

And that's what I have to say about Mockingjay. Not really a review...but a disjointed discussion. I still loved this book - the series on the whole was mind-blowing, but I felt the end was somehow anticlimactic. 

Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥