Author: Suzanne Collins
Hardcover: 400 pages
Yeah, you don’t get a summary going into this one either (at least from me). It was so great knowing nothing when I started it, so I don’t want to be part of what ruins it for someone else
If you have not read this book yet, please don’t read the review. There WILL BE SPOILERS. So don’t read this, go read the actual book! And again, it is so much better when you know nothing! Note: This review may seem a little disjointed, but so are my feelings and thoughts on the book.
Warning: This post is about 1,400 words so…be prepared.
Oh Mockingjay, how cruel you were. I was going to read a few chapters the day it came out. Then I decided I would read a part a day, so it would take three days…then I finished it that night because HOW can you put it down after part one? Seriously, to people who did . . . how did you?
The Katniss I love was present throughout this book. Poor torn but determined, brave but scared Katniss. She knew she needed to become the Mockingjay, but part of her couldn’t. She had already lost so much to the Capitol, she really did not know if she could do it again, but she could and she did . . . and she was brilliant. She is definitely not someone who could be a politician. She could never fake the actions, so had to really feel it. When there were talking about the moments when they loved her the most, it really got me choked up. To be as young as she is and have people love her for her bravery and her sense of doing what is right, it was just a beautiful sentiment and beautifully written.
Speaking of beautiful writing, that last page of Part 1. Wow. Collins could have described what was happening in so many ways, but focusing on the image of the tiles and just using the sounds and the image of blood on the tiles was so good. That image has stuck with me all week. The hanging man song was also wonderfully writing. The image stayed in my mind and freaked me out, but it was great writing.
But back to that amazingness of Katniss. Katniss at the hospital. Katniss in the square. Those two scenes gave me so many more reasons to love her. Even in the darkest situations, she shows hope and love to others. She isn’t sure that she has the hope herself, but she is a light to all of those around her and I loved that her team let her do it.
When you talk about the light, you have to talk about the dark and the dark in this book was Gale. He was so violent in his thoughts. He had absolutely no compassion for anyone who was raised differently or thought differently than he did. I was hoping Katniss could change him, but there was no way that could happen. He was too far gone. I thought when they were in District 2 he would have a change of heart because it was so much like being trapped in a coal mine, but even there he just didn’t care. To him, an innocent person dying was not a big deal if the overall cause was achieved. I found him disgusting so many times, but especially in two spots. The first is obvious — when he was talking about the bombs that would explode when help arrived. The second was how he acted towards Katniss’ prep team. They just grew up in a different world than he did. They did care about Katniss and the idea of losing her again was awful for them. They were not creatures to be mocked, they were people. When the little girl told the one member that she would be pretty no matter what color she was, it made me so happy. There was a little girl without any prejudice in a situation where she could have been mean and nasty. I wish Gale could learn from that child.
I can’t talk about darkness without talking about Coin. She was a woman who belonged in the Capitol. She used everyone else, including Katniss, for her own gain, then saw them as disposable. That she was supposed to be the force leading the rebellion was a sad state of affairs. That anyone could be against the Capitol, then want to make them suffer in the games is just cruel (that said, I am 99.999% sure that Katniss just voted yes to make Coin happy). She was going to continue Snow’s rule with an iron fist and the people would not have been any more free than they were under Snow.
The war saw so many casualties. As the team went through the Capitol and were dying one by one, it was so sad. But at least it was realistic. People die in war – lots of people. The special operations teams are incredibly dangerous, and with the pods they were facing, I would have been a little disappointed with Collins if there hadn’t been a blood bath.
As I have said before, I was Team Katniss, but what happened to Peeta made me so sad. Before the book came out, I thought that while he was captured, they would do something to manipulate him and turn him against Katniss and the rebellion. I was sad when I was right. At first, I did not think that I was because of how he warned them of the bombing, which made it so surprising when he attacked her. I really liked the girl from their District who was so nice and so positive. She was great for bringing Peeta back and she was another good reminder of hope within a book full of despair. I thought it was great how, even though they were guarding him, everyone was pitching in on helping bring him back with the “real or not” game. I cannot even imagine not knowing what things are real and what was planted in my head to turn me into someone else. He must have been terrified, and considering that, he handled it very well.
There is so much I could still talk about – Annie and Finnick (wasn’t he amazing this book?), the stops in District 12, Haymitch (how could I have not mentioned him yet?), the horrible strictness of District 13, and so many other things. I am at almost 1000 words already. But I want to end on the other thing that I predicted, the thing I did not want to happen more than anything else.
I had a feeling she would not make it out of Mockingjay. Everything Katniss has done was for her little sister. Not just stepping in for her so beautifully in the games, but also in the fight against the Capitol. She wants a world where he sister can be a doctor, can live the life she wants to. She does not think of herself through all of this, but thinks of Prim. Her death makes me think it was all for nothing due to the darkness in people like Gale and Coin. We don’t know if it was Gale’s bomb, but that he would even think about using the weapon that ended up killing Prim makes it impossible for Katniss to ever have a friendship with him. Katniss wonders if Coin sent Prim to the front lines on purpose and my guess is yes.
I loved how this book ended. Collins was not afraid to show war and its impact on children. She showed that it changed who they were and how they saw things, some for the better, some for the worse, but most as a mixture. Peeta wasn’t who we fell in love with, but he was someone who had a deeper understanding of life – and someone Katniss could love. She couldn’t love someone who didn’t understand that horrors or what she has been through. I think the book they made was a beautiful testament to all they had lost.
This was my favorite book of the series, and that is really saying something. I am going to have to read the rest of Collins’ books. She is a fantastic writer and I look forward to reading more from her.