Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Reaping Week presents: Mockingjay!

I can’t believe it! The day we’ve all been waiting for! Even as I type this there is only eight and a half hours until the Hunger Games movie! To keep myself preoccupied, I finished reading Mockingjay today. And right now, I feel just as depressed as I did the last time I read it. The movie is going to kill me.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

When I first read Mockingjay a few years back, I absolutely hated it. I’m not sure if it was because of the ending, because of the fact Katniss spends a heck load of the book hiding or passed out, or if I was just too young to truly appreciate it… but this time around, I had a completely different reaction.

My Review:

At Face Value: Still not loving the covers. But maybe that’s just me. I don’t know. And the title? The second one was awesome… this one, not so much.

Immediate Reaction: Can someone cut out my heart to stop it from bleeding?

High Five: Not quite. While I enjoyed this reading a whole lot more than the first, there are still some issues. So… four and a half. A lot higher than I was planning on giving it.

Favourite Quote: How can I chose? Seriously. Katniss is so much more herself in this book and every thought is awesome.  Given the context, I remember randomly loving this one:

“ It’s better than being defenseless. Now the only one without a weapon is Peeta, but anyone whispering my name with a bunch of mutts doesn’t need one anyway. ”

Aaaand... one more. Cos it sucked for me. 

" "That was the one thing I had going for me. Taking care of your family," he says. "Shoot straight, OK?" He touches my cheek and leaves. I want to call him back and tell him I was wrong. That I'll figure out a way to make peace with this. To remember the circumstances under which he made the bomb... But since I can't, I'll just have to deal with the pain. "

Let me first start out by saying that this book is not for everyone. Suzanne Collins specifically wrote this book in a way that her characters are faced with the realities war brings, and they don’t exactly deal with it in a Hollywood, cookie-cutter, way. It’s intense, okay?

To be honest, I’m not sure what it was about the story that I hated so much back then. I think I’ve whittled my answer down to two main points, but I’ll get to those later.

First up, this book is split into three main parts. The first, deals with Katniss accepting her role of becoming the face of the rebellion. It focuses on the propos the REBELS are now using to fuel the rebellion. In short, Katniss is still being played. And she knows this; but just like with the Games if she wants to help the people she loves she has no choice but to follow through. There’s some pretty neat little scenes but there was nothing overly spectacular about this part. Katniss is the hope. Gale is the best friend. The Capitol is using Peeta. Blah, blah, blah. It was interesting and set the new world we’re dealing with here, but there was nothing that had me strapped to my seat. There was an awesome scene in District 8 though, that I still remember from my first reading.

The second part of the book amped things up a little. There was a fair bit more action, Katniss finally started to debate all of her options, and some certain people return. There is also a TWIST! Gasp! Shock! Horror! I won’t give away what it was but it brought a little smile to my lips. There is also more focus on Katniss’ family and the characters in general. More world building. More stakes added to Katniss’ list. And more death’s on her conscience. There was a scene with Johanna that made me cry because I JUST LOVE THAT GIRL SO MUCH! And even though the action was only slightly more than the first part, Collins wrote with so much intensity you felt like the shit was about to go down.

Then we get to the third part. The part of the book where everything blows up (quite literally) every expectation you had for this book. It’s straight into action mode with the cute game of ‘Real or Not Real’ woven in so wonderfully. You can feel the suspense, you feel the danger. You just know that everyone won’t make it out alive but you never realize JUST HOW MANY ARE ABOUT TO DIE! And one death, one death that is so horrific AND BREAKS MY HEART INTO A MILLION PIECES, is passed over so quickly I don’t get a chance to grieve. Any one who’s read this book will know exactly what part I mean. And that is reason number one for my original hatred of this book.

Everything about this third part is taken to a whole other level. It moves so quickly, it elicits so much emotion until you are tearing your God darn hair out. Then, THE BIG THING HAPPENS. THE REASON I HATED THIS BOOK ORIGINALLY. I don’t want to elaborate a whole lot because I don’t really want to give away to much to anyone that hasn’t read these books but it was something I never saw coming. Something that a certain someone is potentially responsible for.  AND IT KILLED ME TO REALISE THAT. From that moment on in the book, Katniss falls apart. She’s an empty shell. She’s nothing but despair. And Collins writes that better than any other part in this whole series.

The things that happen after this, really don’t measure up to the event. There’s some pretty big things – an execution, A VOTE THAT HOLDS WAY MORE SIGNIFICANCE TO THE REAL WORLD THAN THE BOOK, morphling addiction, more depression – and then the rest is kind of the aftermath. Katniss is defeated. Completely. It feels as though she literally gives up – and who can blame her? But to me, this wasn’t the ending I wanted for her. All through the series, Collins writes this strong, believable, flawed character that you’re expected to follow. That you’re expected to care about. And you do. And then that character just gives up. It’s a hollow, empty way to end a book. To be fair, things pick up a little right at the end but it was forgettable. And to end a series that I loved so much in that way really wasn’t cool. I just want to state I was never hoping for a happy ending, but I was hoping for an amazing ending. And the one we’re given is acceptable at best.

THAT SAID, Katniss makes this series worth following through to the very end. I guarantee you’ll cry. I guarantee you’ll fall in love with so many characters you’ll never be able to forget about them. I can’t guarantee you’ll agree with me and LOVE the ending for Gale because… it’s kind of bleak from Katniss’ point of view, but there was no way it would have worked between them. And I think I’ve come to terms with that now. Plus, the last line in the book was done awesomely. I love when authors end their book on a really strong line. 

But really, I could have done without the Epilogue. Again, it was ended on a strong line but it was redundant. It didn't offer anything we couldn't have guessed for ourselves and deprived me of imagining for myself what happened after the book. I read it and my immediate reaction was 'and? who really cares...'

TOMORROW: a review on the HUNGER GAMES movie!

Only seven and a half hours left you guys! Trying. To control. My EXCITEMENT.



  1. I loved Mockingjay when I read it, and I think it was the ending. For some reason, I always felt like Katniss needed to lose something... someone... I just never thought it would be who it was. I’d really love to go back the re-read the series to see how I feel about it now.


  2. I know, right! For once I'm actually glad I live in Australia, even if we didn't get anyone here for the premiere. But yeah, I was expecting she'd lose someone else so when it happened so quickly, I was blind sighted.

    I was never planning on rereading but I think it was definitely worth it. I was able to appreciate it more I think.

  3. I love love love the Hunger Games! And i cannot wait to see the movie!

    I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. I don't know if you did it already or if you want to do it, but now you're nominated anyway. You're welcome.

  4. Wow, this is what you call a great review!! I love it!! You pin-pointed ALL I was thinking about this book - and the issues!! And yes the ending was.. acceptable, I agree. I cried too in this book so much. This book was REAL. It felt real.

    Really awesome review Heather! ;)

  5. Oh no, I'm with you. I HATE the AU covers for The Hunger Games... it irritates me even more because the US ones are STUNNING.

    "Suzanne Collins specifically wrote this book in a way that her characters are faced with the realities war brings, and they don’t exactly deal with it in a Hollywood, cookie-cutter, way. It’s intense, okay?"

    YES. OK, this is the thing. I've heard so many people complain about... err.. certain events and deaths, but SC confronts us with the realities of war. People die. If everyone got through it alive, and happy, well, it woudl have been a betrayal to her world, series, and characters? I liked that she made difficult choices... it doesn't mean I liked READING them.

    "Katniss is defeated. Completely."
    YES, and it's devestating... I hated it. But it felt right... it wasn't the ending I wanted, either... but it felt like the ending was right, somehow? There was no way Katniss could survive what she'd gone through, and endure her loss whole... she would be broken... and... and she lost the one thing that ALWAYS kept her going, and kept her fighting :(

    SUCH a sad, unhappy, miserable book... but kind of right? Hmm... FABULOUS review, Heather! <3

  6. First off, Thanks Marissa! I have been nominated already however I haven't gotten around to reposting (I'm super slack, I know!) but it's always nice to be nominated again!

    Nea and Sarah, thanks for commenting! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who was shattered by this ending for my favourite characters. But if it had happened another way it would have jeopardised the integrity of the entire series.

    I wish we had more time with Finnick and Johanna though!


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