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13 Sep 2012

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

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.

Coming into this series late I was prepared for disappointment.  It was hard not too.  A lot of people were and I see why.  As the end to a trilogy it isn't exactly strong and I found it lacking in a lot of places.  Everyone had a role now, even little Primrose, and I was excited to read on.  How will everyone pull their weight and take part in a rebellion that was no doubt going to make history.  With President Snow having so much power and fear over everyone how could they usurp him? I actually liked the use of media coverage by the rebellion side.  It's been a huge theme throughout the books and it fitted in well.  This is a whole country who have lived their lives around televised games.  Katniss started to make people think (although unintentionally) through her actions in the Hunger Games and now she's been used to make people think further about their situation. 

But I was quite disappointed with the ending and overall events of the book. It seemed like there was a war going on but it's in the background while Katniss just wanders around aimlessly, waiting for her next appearance on television to keep everyone motivated and inspired. Katniss is not someone they're actually willing to use in battle so she continues to be a pawn for the people who actually did want to start a rebellion. While I do understand why they kept her as a face I think that someone else should have stepped in.  Katniss isn't a leader. We know that and she knows that so I do think her role in the war was over after Catching Fire. Keep her as a symbol yes but show us some action now. I would have liked to see someone really take charge and show us more of the grisly events in war. Katniss is just a seventeen year old girl who couldn't handle it. I did like that because it felt realistic but didn't make for a great narrator. I felt that it made the book miss out on so much and maybe first person wasn't the best POV to go for in this trilogy.  In fact, Gale had become the most interesting character IMO.  The way the Hunger Games have made him feel all his life had evolved to a much darker Gale in Mockingjay.  Even though he's never had to take part it's interesting to see just how much it's affected him as a member of the audience.  He's scarred and he finally has the opportunity to help bring down the President's rule. 

It's not until the last part of the book that we actually see some action and glimpse into this war that's been going on. Before that, most of the book is Katniss just wandering around, in her own head and changing from Gale to Peeta continuously.  I found it dull and wished there was more to see and read.  And when Katniss is finally in action it's not long until we get an irritating fade-to-black scene and BAM! it's all over.  There were quite a few fade-to-blacks which I'm really not a fan of, especially when it happens frequently in the same book.  That's just lazy writing IMO.

But I honestly enjoyed this series even though I wouldn't count Mockingjay as a favourite read.  I'm excited for Catching Fire and Mockingjay (part 1 and 2 apparently) to come out in the cinema and I will definitely go see the films.  There are flaws but there's still so much for Collins to learn and improve on still.  I can't lie and say I wasn't hooked because I was.  I devoured all three book and I know I'll be reading any future works from the author.  Whatever else she brings out next I'd like to read it.



  1. I really agree with you on this one. Gale was such a great character and the end made me a little frustrated and the beginning I was a little bored.

    But I will be in line at the movies just like you!

  2. I know people are a little angry at Gale with what he did but I can see what's led to it all. The whole system has corrupted everyone whether they enjoyed the Hunger Games or are ready to make a stand. I'd say that's one of the good points about the trilogy. You can see that it's damaged society.

    So can't wait for the other films! =D

  3. I think Collins raised some interesting issues, especially in terms of rebellions, and how they can easily become as bad as the regimes they bring down (a very relevant topic in today's world). The suggestion to make the old leaders compete in one final Hunger Game might have felt reasonable to some readers, and that feeling of justice served through vengeance that would be felt by many in that situation. Moments like that kept a sense of realism for me that sustained what was, otherwise, a disappointing finale. I, too, wasn't happy with the ending. I understood why she went that direction with the story, but it wasn't her only option, and I agree with you that it was not satisfying.

  4. I get it too so I wasn't really bothered with the issues she raised with a feeling as powerful as vengeance. I understood it. I just mostly had a problem with being in the background as much as Katniss was. All those pages could have been filled with bit more action and insight instead.