Friday, August 27, 2010

Dropping Names

If you visit the following webpage Authors We Read This Spring you will find a list of authors that were mentioned in the completed task posts for the spring challenge (only linked authors are included in this list). Find an author on this list that you haven't read previously and read their most popular book. (The author's most popular work is the one listed first on their profile).
I read Mockinjay in 24 hours. It would have taken less, but that thing called “work” got in my way. I’ve decided that I want a place to let my spoiler filled views to be known, so…

Book Title/Author: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Publisher/Year Published: 2010 by Scholastic
Where I got it: My local library (first one to get my greedy hands on it :) )
Rating: 4/5 stars


My initial reaction upon finishing Mockingjay was “Huh.” Not a question, but more an “Okay. I see what she did there.” And I do. I enjoyed this book. It was good, entertaining, funny at appropriate moments, heartfelt, written extremely well, but yet it still disappointed me. Let’s look at why.

Collins wrote herself into a corner. Her narrator was now after all her horrid life experiences, not the most uplifting avenue to tell the story. She is a shell of her former self, beaten by the real world. This gave the book an overall dreary feel. And honestly, it should be dreary. It’s a rebellion. But for me and knowing how kickass Katniss was in the first book, it just made me sad.

Now this does not mean that it wasn’t good. Like I said, it was extremely well written. Not many could convince me of the depression of this girl and still tell a solid story.

Along that same line, another reason it didn’t get my 5 stars was that there wasn’t a hunger games. I really liked the fight to the death mentality, not so much the drop the bomb on unexpecting children. It became more political games, which is fine and was done well, just not what I’ve come to expect from the series. But she couldn’t really end it any other way.

The second reason also has to do with the first person protagonist. It is so hard for me to like first person novels because they are limited to what they can convey about the other characters. The climax of this book was a huge example. I would have loved to see more of the fall out of the bombing of the children, but Katniss was gone for that.

The end of the book was a little anticlimactic (mostly because I wanted to see more than a hospital room). I was not surprised at all when she shot Coin. The voting on the Hunger Games seemed really impulsive of her, but fit right in with her character. The shooting of Coin was exactly the same. I can totally see Katniss blaming her for Prim's death, taking action and pretty much screwing the consequences.

Now let’s address the love triangle and its resolution. To me, it was obvious she was going to end up with Peeta. Throughout the series, I knew. She just acted like a girl in love. The relationship she had with Peeta was just more adult than the one with Gale. Also their shared experiences. I was a bit disappointed that there was not a “I chose you” battle moment, but I can understand why it was not there. Also, at first I was disappointed that Gale just gave up on Katniss. It seemed out of character, but when I was discussing the book with my sister she pointed out the bomb conversation. I don’t think either of them could have sustained a relationship never knowing if it was his bomb.

Now that I’ve griped, let’s talk about my favorite part. Peeta. What a miraculous twist! I absolutely loved that he came back damaged, so damaged that he almost KILLED her! Though we didn't get to see much of it (first person woe!) I felt his characterization was really empowered and filled out by the experiences in this book. That element of rebuilding their relationship based on true fact and not love illusion was awesome. I loved every bit of it, especially how they didn't make up right away and things just fell together naturally. I think how Collins handled this shows her talent as a writer.

What else? Well, I guess this review is long enough. So I give it four stars for the realistic depiction of the world and war, depression and PTSD, family and relationships.

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