Have you ever read a book that was so good it’s impossible to read anything for days after because you know that nothing else will be able to compare? Every time you pick up something your unable to fully appreciate it because you are still sorting through how the previous book made you feel. This is exactly the dilemma that I’m faced with after reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
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.
Mockingjay has been highly anticipated by anybody who has read the first two Hunger Games novels – The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I’ve been right along with everyone in my desperation to get my hands on this book, and so when it came out I didn’t waste any time diving in.
The tone to Mockingjay is markedly different from the first two novels. In The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, there is a defiance to Katniss Everdeen. She’s determined to fight against the Capitol and to win. There is a hope in her that is missing in this last installment. She’s beginning to grow weary of fighting against this seemingly unbeatable government. The question quickly becomes how do you fight this fight while keeping your morals intact? The answer seems to be that you don’t. Katniss has had to do a lot of things that, before her participation in the Hunger games, she wouldn’t have dreamed of doing. I’ve read a couple reviews for Mockingjay, and there are some who don’t like this new Katniss. These reviewers essentially feel like the depression that is settling over her is Katniss whining, and that she should just suck it up. I disagree however, I can’t imagine all of the things that she’s been through. Cracks in her foundation are starting to show, and I felt like it made me appreciate how much she had to keep it together when she’s being portrayed as the Mockingjay by the rebels. To be portrayed as the rallying point around which the rebellion is continuing, while your falling apart inside, must be an almost herculean task; but Katniss manages it very well. Especially when you consider that she’s only seventeen.
Then there is the love triangle between Katniss, Peta, and Gale. I personally have always been on team Peta. He’s always been there for her, and is constantly accepting Katniss. Even when Katniss is having a hard time accepting herself. Granted I’m sure Gale would have filled the role of protector if he had been in the Hunger Games with her, but that’s not the case. Peta and Katniss have been through so much together, that I can’t imagine there would be anybody else that could understand what they’ve both been through. However, all of this becomes somewhat of a moot point when it looks like Peta may be lost to everybody, including Katniss. It really added to the whole hopeless vibe the story had going for it.
The hopeless feeling that I keep mentioning is increased with the realization that there are very few people in Mockingjay that are not using Katniss for their own gain. She’s become this puppet for everybody who has even a little bit of power in Panem. They use her to scare and to inspire equally, and that feeling is only off-set by Katniss’s anger popping up at being used.
If I had one thing to complain about at all, it would be that some important things that happen in Mockingjay seem to come out of nowhere. The death of some prominent character’s seem to just completely blindside me, and something that happens at the end appears to materialize out of thin air. I found that I had to read those particular scenes multiple times in order to understand what was happening.
Overall, I loved Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The tone was definitely different, but I didn’t find that to be bad. If anything, it added to the evolution of Katniss Everdeen, and made her character more real. I’m horribly sad that there are not going to be more of these fantastic novels, and I can’t wait to see what else Ms. Collins can come up with. Even though The Hunger Games is YA, I feel they should have universal appeal to young adults and adults alike. Anybody looking for a story that will absorb them into the character’s plight should positively look into reading these fantastic young adult novels.