Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay
Read By: Carolyn McCormick
Length: 11h 40m (400 pages)
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Sci-Fi
Started: 07 September 2010
Finished: 20 September 2010
All Katniss wants is
to be free, but that’s hard when
you’re a war hero.
Summary: After having been rescued from the arena of the Quarter Quell, Katniss has gone – along with the refugees of District 12 – to live in the fabled District 13, home of the rebellion against the Capitol. The rebels are fighting the war on all fronts, but in order to succeed, they need to unify the people behind a single symbol: the Mockingjay, Katniss herself. Katniss hates the Capitol, but she can’t stop worrying about Peeta, who was left behind at the Quarter Quell… and more and more, she’s starting to wonder whether the leaders of the rebellion are really that different from the government they’re fighting against.
Review: The short version? I liked it. I didn’t love it, but I liked it quite a bit. I thought it was a satisfying ending without being too pat or too easy, and while I was left with a lot of questions, I felt like it did a nice job of bringing the story that’s been brewing since the beginning to a close. There were a lot of really nicely poignant moments, some huge surprises, and a few places where I got a wee bit misty-eyed. Collins’s world is as interesting and well-built as ever, and the story – especially to anyone who’s invested in the series, which is pretty much everyone who’s reading it – is crazily compelling. It’s one of those wonderful audiobooks that makes me want to go get on the treadmill, do some more ironing, drive around the block a few times, just to have an excuse to listen to more.
So why didn’t I love it? One word: Katniss. She annoys the snot out of me. She’s fine when she’s doing – she’s a great action heroine – but she’s not so good at feeling, and really not so good at thinking… and in the third book, she spends a lot of time feeling and thinking, and proportionately less time doing things, and thus she gets on my nerves a lot more. (And, for the record, I am neither Team Peeta nor Team Gale, nor even Team Katniss, but rather Team “Peeta deserves way better than Katniss and even though I didn’t much like him at first I’m starting to think that Gale does too, because *damn* is she obnoxious,” so my thoughts on the infamous love triangle are probably moot.)
Also, I feel like in the third book, Collins gets a lot less subtle in her writing, and a lot more blatant about making sure you understand that there is a Message you are supposed to be getting. There were some bits that were so unsubtle they actually made me cringe; one extended and extremely overworked metaphor involving tormenting a cat with (essentially) a laser pointer, and one involving Katniss acting jerkily and uncoordinated on camera, like she was a puppet. Because it’s reflective of how she’s being used as a puppet by the people in charge. Get it? Because if you don’t, Collins will helpfully explain it for you in so many words.
However, no one claimed that this series was a masterwork of High Literature – nor does it need to be. What it needs to be, and thankfully is, is a damn good story: interesting, with characters you’re invested in (even if that investment is to occasionally scream “Argh, why are you being so *dumb*?!?”), a fast-paced and inventive storyline, a few explosions thrown in here and there, and a satisfying finale to wrap it all up. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Another book where my recommendation’s pointless. If you’ve read the first two, you’ll be reading this one too; if you haven’t read the first two, I’d give the series a try, even if dystopian fiction and/or young adult novels aren’t your normal cup of tea. They’re good, solid, addictive fun.
Other Reviews: Normally I will list all of the reviews turned up by the book blog search engine, but there’s no way I can do that here and get any sleep for the next few days. You can see them all here.
First Line: I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.
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