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Mockingjay Classic - Suzanne Collins
Member Name: dawnymarie
Mockingjay Classic - Suzanne Collins
Date: 26/07/12, updated on 26/07/12 (107 review reads)
Advantages: A great finale to the triology that gives you food for thought
Disadvantages: None for me
Why read this one?
Mockingjay is the final part of the trilogy by Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two offerings so I anticipated a great finale. The book was on offer at Tesco for £3.86 so I couldn't go wrong really.
Katniss Everdeen has survived two gruelling; and character building rounds, of the big brother style reality TV show that is known as The Hunger Games. At the tender age of 17 this girl has survival skills that modern day adventurers would be proud of - having lived in District 12 which supplied coal to the wealthy Capitol. Things have changed since she first entered the arena to fight for her life - her priorities for one. As a symbol of hope to the growing number of rebels in the 12 Districts she is named Mockingjay and if she accepts the role of the title she may well led a rebellion - this has been attempted once and ended very badly. Can the 'girl on fire' be tempted back into her Mockingjay suit? Can she trust her new allies? Can Panem ever be a better place?
'One of the best written books and most thought provoking books I've read in a long time' - Anthony Horrowitz
If we burn you burn with us....
I was eager to get going with this one - continue the journey - I really didn't know what to expect and wondered what Suzanne had up her sleeve to make this book different once again. I didn't expect another Hunger Games arena experience, though at one point it seemed possible, and I wanted to know what President Snow was all about with his distinctive odour of fresh white roses and putrid blood.
Katniss remains true to her character and consistent in her traits - I still like her and admire her tenacity at such a young age. To be considering death as an option to save others - Peeta especially - provokes much thought. As she is now residing in the relative safely of District 13 (previously touted as destroyed with no human life evident) she needs to navigate a new underground environment, adhere to a new set of dominating rules and attempt to find out who she can trust. I was relieved to find her safe in 13 but it soon became apparent that President Coin was capable of being as cold and cruel as President Snow - Collins portrays human nature beautifully here and the future soon appears just as bleak if Snow is assassinated. This held my interest and I was happy to see the direction that the prose was taking, this was Hunger Games for the whole population now and not just the unfortunate tributes that ended up amusing the folk in the luxury of the Capitol.
The fragile structure of the Capitol and President Snows rule was becoming evident the more I read - this was captivating at times as well as thought provoking. It showed how fickle human beings can be and to what extent they are prepared to go to get what they want. Turn a blind eye to atrocities if it means victory. Some scenes I found upsetting as I had developed relationships with the main characters in the prose - in this book I got to know Prim (Katniss's younger sister) very well and, even though I knew I liked her before, I began to really care about her in this volume.
It was interesting and at times surprising to see how the personalities developed - from book one where I was first introduced to Haymitch, Katniss's mentor and a Hunger Games victor, I have discovered elements of his past, what he wants out of life and what he is prepared to do in to get it. I developed a fondness for him during book two (Catching Fire) but within the prose of Mockingjay I feel I really understand this man. He has suffered so much at the hands of President Snow that there really isn't any going back for him and the only way he manages to cope with his existence is by losing his senses and finding the bottom of an alcohol bottle. So many have been cruelly employed and hurt by President Snow who specializes in mental torture as much as physical - this wasn't fully exposed until the characters open up in this book. Looking back the clues where there in the second book particularly but it all becomes painfully clear in this one.
This book excels in a different way to the other two in my opinion. Previously the books have all been about pace in the arena - shocking new games to overcome - competitors to kill. Children in a big brother style TV show turning savage. Mockingjay offers insight into human nature when the chips are down. What we are capable of doing to each other in order to maintain our power. I saw clearly the way the fear and hopelessness impacts a person mentally - how do you build yourself back up to be strong minded with a single focus? Katniss was at rock bottom, all but given up as she saw no reason to fight for a similar set of leaders - nothing would change, what was the point. Out of this darkness came a new, selfless, determination - to rid Panem of its evil at any cost. She intended to die; she had no thought for her own life.
A common issue with all victors is recurring nightmares and guilt. They may think that winning the Hunger Games is the best outcome when in reality the ones who died in that arena were the fortunate ones. Victors cannot live their life as it was again - they are damaged - haunted by children that they have killed or the suffering that they witnessed. Paralyzed with fear when they have flashbacks of near death experiences and the memory of the mutts who hunted them down. There is a realisation that humans cannot live in harmony for long before rivalry and arguing begins - the result we are all familiar with - human nature? I found this captivated me and provoked much thought.
Character development is rewarding in this part of the trilogy - I got what I wanted. I found out what I pondered over in book two - President Snow's odour - and I also got a build-up to some page turning, fast paced finale. Collins is creative and builds suspense once again, this time around you get a feel of the bowels of the Capitol and how the folk there had lived. I found it fresh and new - interesting, no worries about it being another repeat in the arena and she remembers what she has hinted at in previous volumes - nothing was left out.
There is still the relationship issue going on which involves Peeta and Gale. This was not a priority theme but it was nice to see the developments and struggles that it provided. Both of these young men I cared about but if I had to pick I would say I was rooting for Peeta more than Gale.
Even though the pace of the book is somewhat slower in the first part of the prose I enjoyed learning about supporting characters and was happy to see them become more rounded. When the pace picks up the book was not put down as I needed to know the outcome. There are some twists and turns that I wasn't expecting - that was good though as I like it when I haven't guessed the ending. As regards the love triangle, between Katniss, Gale and Peeta, I was satisfied and pleased with the outcome. I also liked the short epilogue detailing life some years later - this answered questions that I may have thought about.
This prose provided a thought provoking insight into human nature, at the same time there was suspense which had those pages turning. The standard of writing was good and Suzanne sticks to the story. A successful ending to a fascinating trilogy.
'Constant suspense...I couldn't stop reading' - Stephen King
Price and sourcing...
RRP £7.99 but widely available on offer at present.
Have you read the first two instalments of this trilogy? If so then yes I can highly recommend this book. You many as well find out how this saga concludes for one and it's a well written, suspenseful read which I found thought provoking. I enjoyed getting deeper into Katniss's persona and saw her strengths and weakness exposed - wide open. I could relate to her predicament and realised the horror of her situation - at the age of 17! Sometimes when reading the prose I forgot she was only 17 and when it occurred to me it intensified my admiration - I cared what happened to her. Prim, her younger sister settled herself right in my heart and there she will stay for some time. Peeta, Haymitch and Gale were given more coverage and my interest grew in all of them - especially Haymitch who I now understand and admire. Other victors make for interesting reading as they are developed more and the new persons in power fit into their role perfectly - intrigue and suspicion where at the forefront of my mind when they were introduced. Coverage of human suffering - both physical and mental - was fascinating and believable; Collins excelled in this area and it is what I have taken away from this trilogy. Even though there is a story, which interested me and kept those pages turning throughout the whole of this series, it is the illustration of human nature that stands out to me and provokes much thought. I can see myself pondering this tale for some time yet - there are lessons to be learned. The reason for picking up this book was to enjoy a good story though - Suzanne has succeeded, on many levels, to stick to the story.
Also published on Ciao
Summary: If we burn you burn with us