Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

17 May 2012

Ahh . . . The Hunger Games. The source of much division among even the best circles. Some despise this genre completely, solely because of the stain they believe THG has placed upon it, and some would think seriously of drawing their sabers if I so much as give a half-hearted opinion on the subject. Having read the entire series and allowed myself some time to formulate an adequate perspective, I am now prepared to face this most fiery of topics once more. I'm afraid I might be opening the floodgates, but as I am a relatively decent swimmer, I maintain some shred of hope. ;)

Mockingjay
By Suzanne Collins
*Summary from Goodreads.com

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)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 plains — 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.

My Thoughts: I still like the first book the best. *ducks and runs for cover* That has always been the case with me. Something about that first burst of creativity in the author pours itself entirely into the first book and cannot be replaced, no matter how many dozens of books s/he may write afterwards. But I think Suzanne Collins did a very good job of writing books #2 and #3. She kept my interest and remained true to her characters and their respective personalities, which is a more difficult task to undertake than most would assume. Mockingjay, although not what I would call light reading, was the necessary ending to this series, and I think the author drew the conclusion together nicely. Oh, and to those of you who are sitting at the edge of your seats in fear, the denouement was sweet and hopeful.

My general thoughts involving The Hunger Games remain the same. They are hard books to read, they contain a good bit of violence, and they are not exactly what I would call hopeful. However, there is a very blatant warning in them, and Suzanne Collins paints a realistic picture of what our future could hold if we continue to allow our government to gain total control. As Lord Acton so famously put it, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." However, these books are not for everyone. I do not recommend that any child under the age of 14 reads these books. I also think that a Christian who is firm in his or her faith will be able to get a lot more out of them than your average teen who is not a believer. I don't believe Suzanne Collins intends to encourage violence — that is the opposite of her stance in writing these books — but a young person who does not have a firm view of who he is in Christ Jesus could possibly misinterpret her words.

Pros: One benefit to this book was the lesser amount of romance between Katniss and Peeta. I know, I know. I just pierced the hearts of all the devoted girl on fire + boy with the bread fan clubs out there. My most humble apologies, but all the fake romance performed for the cameras got to be a bit much, leaving the sincere moments few and far between. Now, don't get me wrong, I sigh and smile just as much as any hopeless romantic during those heartfelt scenes . . . but the way Katniss felt it was her duty, almost like a chore, to play that she was in love with Peeta could be very disheartening at times.

Another pro? Every hint of conservatism that could be found in books one and two was made much more prominent in Mockingjay. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Plutarch says that after the war with the Capitol is over, he plans on helping to make Panem a republic with representative government. He also made mention of the Latin term "panem et circenses" ("bread and circuses"), which was the basic Roman formula for appeasement and control. In essence, the term applies to how the Roman government offered their civilians food and cheap entertainment, in order to keep them quiet and not involved in the intricate workings of their government.

Cons: By far, Mockingjay was definitely the saddest book in Ms. Collins' trilogy. That's more of a fact than an opinion. It was a bit painful to read at times because of the level of emotion it contained, and it could grow very discouraging, leaving me wondering, "Is it ever going to get better?" I'm pretty sure it contains the most violence of all three books. Katniss also goes a little over the edge, mentally-speaking, towards the end. This is understandable when you take into account all she has expierenced, but still hard about which to read. Not a book for the faint of heart.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 14+

A Bit O' Reading for the Day:
“There's something else there as well, something entirely [Prim's] own. An ability to look into the confusing mess of life and see things for what they are.” — Mockingjay

6 epistles:

  1. i liked the first book best as well, because the second was a lot darker, and the third one was too sad. just too sad. so i agree with you on this!
    -jocee <3

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  2. Excellent review. :) I agree with you about the first book too, though the 2nd and 3rd are still great. Mockingjay has always been kind of depressing to me, but then you're right that it was probably necessary.
    I love that you reviewed this trilogy without a really biased opinion. I think these HG review are some of the most accurate I've seen. :D

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  3. I am very pleased with your review. I have comepletly enjoyed all the books, and I agree with what you say about the first being the best. Although I must say that Mockingjay is my second favorite. I know that sounds really strange and at some point I will explain why. This one is the hardest to read, and the most difficult. I do feel like in this book Katniss was able to really figure out how she felt about Peeta in this book. Thank you for the very good review!
    ~Elizabeth

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  4. Great review! I am a die-hard Hunger Games fan, and Mockingjay, though a tragic book, is my favorite of the series. The first book is my second favorite, and then Catching Fire. I love them all though. =)

    I totally agree with what you said about firm Christian teenagers getting so much more out of these books than any one else. Some friends of mine who aren't really strong Christians have read the books and totally missed all the great messages of the books! I was like, "How did you miss this..." They were really reading it for the action and romance. :P

    I'm new to your blog, by the way. But it's great! =)

    country girl @ http://dirtanddickens.wordpress.com/

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  5. This is a wonderful review. Thank you =]

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  6. I liked Catching Fire best...I think one of the most eye-opening things about THG was the fact that Katniss spends so much of the third book deranged (in a manner of speaking). When you think about it, it's probably extremely accurate...makes me want to rewrite...
    It makes me sad that everyone has made THG all "Team Peeta" or "Team Gale" (personally, I like Peeta best...) because it's about so much more than that! It's about, essentially, how war destroys everyone and everything it touches, even the innocent, and that, without God, all human structures will fall (District 13, anyone?).

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