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Suzanne Collins – Mockingjay

October 11, 2010

LibraryThing Early Reviewers118. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010)
The Hunger Games, Book 3

Read my review of book:
1. The Hunger Games
2. Catching Fire

Read By: Carolyn McCormick
Length: 11h 40m (400 pages)

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian Sci-Fi

Started: 07 September 2010
Finished: 20 September 2010

Where did it come from? The library (audio) / LT Early Reviewers (paper)
Why do I have it? See here and here.

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.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

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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14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 10:01 pm

    Thank you!!!! I really disliked Katniss; she was okay in the first, annoying in the second, and horrid in the third. And I agree with you on the love triangle as well.

    • October 13, 2010 10:02 am

      Trisha – It was kind of a weird reading experience, finding her so obnoxious yet still rooting for her and caring about whether she would make it through okay.

  2. October 12, 2010 8:48 am

    I gave the first a try, as I tend to like prickly heroines, but the love triangle just felt thrown in and annoyed me so much I didn’t continue. I think I’ll continue to steer clear.

    My views on the Teams for this series is basically this.

    • October 13, 2010 10:03 am

      Omni – Bwahahahaha! Although I think Peeta could do better than Gale, even. :)

  3. October 12, 2010 8:58 am

    I have just started reading this one and I can definitely say it isn’t as good as the first two. It is taking me so long to get into it.

    • October 13, 2010 10:04 am

      vivienne – Agreed, the first part of the book is a little slow. Things do pick up as it goes, however.

  4. October 12, 2010 12:04 pm

    I agree, all those who have read the first two books are obviously going to want to read the third. I wasn’t so pleased with the ending, but the book was mostly an intense ride like the first two books.

    • October 13, 2010 10:04 am

      Alyce – What didn’t you like about the ending?

      • October 13, 2010 12:35 pm

        I didn’t like that so many things (especially having to do with Peeta) were glossed over. I didn’t like that things seemed rushed. I especially didn’t like the epilogue and thought the book would have been fine without it.

      • October 15, 2010 10:53 am

        I can see where you’re coming from with all of that, although I didn’t mind the epilogue so much (but I agree that it could have been left off pretty easily.)

  5. October 13, 2010 6:51 am

    >>>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”

    You are funny. It’s a shame in books when the object of the best character’s desire is unworthy. And then I start thinking how nice for the best character if the object of his desire perished in a fire, and he was able to find someone new, but then the book always makes it sound like the best character can only, only, only ever be happy with the person he loves right now. *sigh*

    • October 13, 2010 10:05 am

      Jenny – I don’t know if that’s a facet of YA lit or of fiction in general, but the mentality of “the person you meet when you’re sixteen is the only person you will ever love” does bug me whenever I notice it.


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