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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mockingjay (with spoilers!)

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
Earlier today I posted my spoiler-free review of Mockingjay but I wanted a place to discuss the book in detail with others who have read it, hence this post.  DO NOT READ THIS if you have not read Mockingjay because I am going to spoil the heck out of it.

Ok, here goes ...

From what I can tell, fans of The Hunger Games trilogy had VERY mixed reactions to this book.  I seem to be in the minority because I really loved Mockingjay.  Here are some things that I appreciated about this book:
  • War is presented as being bad for all sides - yes it may be necessary in some cases but it always ALWAYS has repercussions for everyone involved - and often in war people do what would have been unthinkable in peacetime - I thought Collins did an excellent job with this theme
  • The victors aren't just ok after they survive the games - they experience post-traumatic stress in varying degrees - so often in books characters simply move on and live their lives normally after trauma, but that isn't what happens in real life
  • Finnick's backstory was very intriguing and brought a whole new level to the book - I really loved this character and was so sad to see him die, but I liked how it was shown "off screen" because people don't always die right in front of you in a war, and that often makes it harder to accept that they are actually dead
  • What happened to Peeta was CRAZY and yet made lots of sense - I appreciated how his character changed in this book - I didn't like him much before (he was "too nice" for me) but I found him fascinating in this book and I really liked how he and Katniss ended up together - no other ending would have made sense at this point
  • During book 2 I began to really like Gale but his actions in book 3 turned me off - in fact, he began to remind me of Anakin (from Star Wars) with how he was using evil methods to support good causes - once I made that association in my mind I had a hard time really liking Gale anymore (for the record, I thought Padme should NEVER have gone back to Anakin after he killed all the Younglings - that literally makes my skin crawl)
  • Despite the fact that I felt like everything in this book made sense based on previous books there were still parts where I literally yelled at the radio in shock.  If you'd been in the car with me you'd have heard something like, "WHAT?! You have GOT to be kidding me! No WAY!" when the plan for the new hunger games was announced.  And then when Katniss voted yes?! Say WHAT?! I still don't get that - does anyone have a good explanation?  Because that is the one place where I don't see the story reflecting what has happened in the past.
  • Speaking of that, did they not do the new hunger games because President Coin was dead? Or was there some other reason I missed?
I'm sure there are other things worth discussing that I've forgotten about - if you think of something let me know!

Let me know in the comments what you thought of this book and why. I'm looking forward to discussing it with all of you.

20 comments:

Ms Ulat Buku said...

- You know I was team Gale in book two but the third book, Gale was such a turn off. You're right about him being like an Anakin though!
- I also agree with you about Finnick. I was so sad when he died.

Jen - devourer of books said...

When Katniss first voted 'yes' for the new Hunger Games I was incensed because it seemed so out of character, but as soon as she assassinated Coin I understood. The point when Coin suggested the games was the point when she realized that Snow was right and Coin really wasn't any better than he was, and was in it for the power just like he was. She voted 'yes' in order to seem as if she was going along with what Coin wanted, that she would behave in this new government. Biding her time, basically.

Ti said...

This last installment grated on my nerves. Katniss was so wishy washy. She wasn't a leader in my mind yet everyone expected her to be.

I know some had issues with Gale's violent streak but I was actually okay with that. My main issue was Katness and that ending!! Oh, the ending and how she just settled and decided on a whim to have kids even though the entire time she was against it.

It just seemed like a bit of a cop out to me.

Jen - devourer of books said...

Ti,
Ah, I don't think she was ever actually against having kids, I never ever read it like that in any of the books. What she was against was having kids in a world that included The Hunger Games as well as the crippling poverty of the districts while they were controlled by Snow's Capitol. None of that is an issue any more by the end of the book and, while I'm sure it takes Peeta time to convince her that she and their children are safe, I don't think it was a whim or that she was coerced as others have argued.

Heather J. said...

Ms. Ulat Buku - The Gale/Anakin affiliation was a real turn-off for me, and I'm glad you see that comparison as well.

Jen - That actually makes a lot of sense. I think I was just so confused by her "yes" that I didn't think it through based on her later actions. Amy @ My Friend Amy said the same thing as you when I chatted with her about this via email.

Ti - I agree that Katniss wasn't a leader despite what people wanted/expected of her - but for me, that part felt "more true" than much of the rest of the book. Gale's plotline also made sense, but it didn't make me like him any better. But I did actually like the ending! The same kind of thing happened to a friend of mine - she wanted kids but her husband didn't (b/c he worried about transmitting a genetic disease common in his family) and it took over 10 yrs before she got him to change his mind. For that reason Peeta's and Katniss's later life really rung true for me.

Heather J. said...

Jen - You make a good point! That, coupled with my comment above, make the ending realistic to me.

Amy said...

yay! so glad to have you on Team Mockingjay. :)

Avid Reader said...

I agree with Jen about Katniss' vote and thoughts on having kids. I know a lot of people complained about this book, but I liked it and it made sense to me. War isn't easy or cut and dry. I hated Finnick's death being so quick, but that's how real war often is. Great review!

Alyce said...

I was going to comment about Katniss voting yes, but Jen's comment says pretty much what I was going to say.

I liked the first half of the book, but not the second half (more the rushed execution than anything else - I wanted more details about Peeta's recovery and what happens to the other characters at the end).

I didn't hate the book, but it was definitely my least favorite in the series.

Heather J. said...

Amy - Glad to be here! LOL

Avid Reader - That's how I felt about Finnick's death - it was incredibly abrupt but felt real as well.

Alyce - Yeah, it seems like I was a bit dense when it came to Katniss' "yes" - I was completely taken in by Collins there. I still liked book 2 better, but this one is a close 2nd for me. Book 1 was definitely my least favorite.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I liked what happened with Peeta. I always figured he'd end up with Katinss, but I wasn't really happy about the idea since their relationship was just so messed up by all of the stuff with the games. This was, it was sort of like a reset button for both of them, which I think will make their relationship stronger.

Marg said...

For the most part I liked this book, but there were two things I had issues with.

The first was the amount of time we spent catching up with what had been going on through Katniss being told because she was in hospital, or otherwise unavailable. I felt as though there were only glimpses of the Katniss we got to see in the first two books.

The second was the epilogue, not so much because of the kids and marriage which I know annoyed a lot of people, but simply because the last line of the last chapter would have been a perfect place to end it, without necessarily providing the happy ever after epilogue.

Other than those two things I thought it was a worthy ending to the trilogy. Can't wait to hear what Suzanne Collins is going to come up with next.

Heather J. said...

Kim - That's one way to look at it (the reset button) - regardless of the reason behind it, it made a lot of sense to me based on their shared history.

Marg - Very true, we WERE told a lot rather than experiencing it firsthand. In a way it bothered me but in another way it worked for me. As for the epilogue, I liked that it gave hope for the future. Maybe it was too happily ever after but for me it was a dose of much needed hope. :)

Amanda said...

I'm so glad to hear you loved it!! I was worried...so many people just don't like it, but I loved it for all the same reasons as you did.

Probably someone else has already said this, but I also had trouble with the new Hunger Games and Katniss saying yes. After two reads, I came to peace with the fact that she must have been saying yes only to show her support for coin, in order to fool her enough to assasinate her. Then I think once she did, the idea of the games died with Coin (though I'm not sure about that - it's frustrating being locked with Katniss in the room during her trial!!). That's the only thing I can think makes sense, especially since Peeta is not resentful of that "yes" later on.

Heather J. said...

Amanda - Oh my goodness - we actually agree on a book?! LOL

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was taken in by Katniss's "yes" - maybe it would have made more sense for me on a 2nd read-through like it did you. And it WAS really frustrating being locked up with Katniss, but it was also a convenient way for Collins to leave a lot of stuff unsaid and force us to make assumptions about what happened. I'm glad I'm finding more and more people who liked this book! :)

S. Krishna said...

I've heard a lot of complaints about what happened with Peeta, but I think I agree with you. This turn gave his character some complexity.

Heather J. said...

S. Krishna - Yes, and IMO he really needed that complexity - I liked him much better by the end of book 3 than I did in books 1 or 2.

Beth F said...

I mostly thought the changes in Gale were unrealistic and I hated the ending. In fact there were lots of things I disliked about the book. But I still recommend the series.

Michelle said...

I think people can have issues with elements of the story and still like the book and continue to advocate/recommend it. As a person who LOVES this series as much as the next person I'm with Beth F. there is quite a bit in this book that didn't appeal to me (the ending, the pacing, etc) but overall I enjoyed the series and would tell people to read this book with just as much interest as the others.

Heather J. said...

Beth F - See, and I thought Gale's plotline was very believable. It's funny how people can read the same thing and take it so differently. :)

Michelle - Oh yes, I agree - you don't have to LOVE it to appreciate the series. That said, it's always nice to end a series on a high note (enjoyment-wise) so I do feel bad for those who didn't really like this book.

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