Monday, January 30, 2012

Mockingjay By Suzanne Collins

The final installment of the Hunger Games trilogy.  The mockingjay is a symbol from the first book as a pin given to Katniss for luck from a friend.  This was the one item she brought with her to the arena.  It becomes a symbol of the revolution as Katniss joins them.  She finds herself living in a secure facility with her family and Gale, her childhood friend.  Gale is Peeta's love rival.  How will things turn out for our revolutionaries?  Will they succeed in overthrowing the government?  Who will Katniss choose Gale or Peeta?


Katniss is more of an inactive character in this book.  Not by her own choices, she is our main character but she does not actually do much until about the halfway point.  She is a symbol of the revolution and so the leaders don't allow her to do hardly anything.  She is only provisionally allowed outside the complex which is essentially a giant underground city.  Peeta and Katniss avoid each other until near the end of the novel.  Gale is hopeful that he has a chance, but we all know that he doesn't.  Poor guy, he means well and by rights should be the one she chooses as he is more well-rounded than Peeta.  True love of course wins out in the end.

The third book was a series of unexpected events.  We find out that the revolution was already strong before Katniss joined.  Our heroine is forced to sit pretty as they use her only as an image.  She finally refuses to be inactive and does something.  Many good characters die but their deaths are not touching at all.  They are poorly done since Katniss and the reader is already emotionally unconnected to most of the characters at this point.  The first book did an amazing job of showing us Katniss' world and her human relationships, but all of that is lost in what appears to be a forced ending.  There is not much logical reasoning behind the plot.  Certainly, we expect a resolution where the government is forced to change and falls which does happen, but not in the ways that we expect.  Both leaders the president and the revolution's leader are killed since both are deemed evil by Katniss.

The entire book was disjointed.  I'm not sure at what point it went wrong, but even though this is a book about war but it just isn't easy to follow or understand what the author wants us to think.  The love triangle is part of the plot and while there is resolution it is tacked on as an afterthought when Katniss is basically a hollow shell.  The author manages to kill each of our characters although it appears that most are like Katniss still alive to suffer through the aftermath.  I suppose this is realistic but from the beginning we expected our heroine to be just that heroic.  Not to be easily defeated even by the reality of war when she has already faced murder for the sheer shock value of entertainment.  I was extremely disappointed with the journey of our main character.  It was painful to read but I had to find out how it all ended.  I thought since the first book was so phenomenal that there had to be a pay off somewhere, but there wasn't really.

Plus my favorite character Peeta is just as equally ruined.  He spends most of his time not even being in control of himself having been drugged and caught by the government.  It could have been handled much better, but it just makes us more frustrated because there seems little point to have him treated in such a way except that then we are forced to consider Gale as a romantic partner for Katniss.  The logic is lost from the first two books and our main character is changed into some sort of half alive zombie.

Read it if you have to know how the dystopian government is defeated, but there is not much else to gain.

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