Book Review – The Hunger Games – Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
Title: The Hunger Games – Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Copyright Suzanne Collins 2010
Blurb extract: Katniss Everdean has survived the Hunger Games twice. But she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans…
Plot: Instead of being exploited and used by the Capitol, Katniss now wonders if she is being manipulated and used by the rebellion.
The last in the trilogy. It starts with the protagonist in her old home town, now a pile of rubble and dust. Destroyed by the Capitol, as a perceived personal attack on Katniss and those things, and people, she loves.
Once again the Capitol has invented numerous horrendous ways to kill people. The anonymous means of destruction is a clever method of creating a violent world without attaching personal responsibility to the characters.
The journey is a physical one across a wide landscape, above and below ground, as well as an emotional one for an ever more cynical survivor. Barrier after challenge faced, each leaving a mark on the bodies and emotions of those on the journey.
Katniss is spending time with Gale, her first love, although this story does not fade into a romance. Indeed their closeness makes Katniss question her relationships with both Peeta and Gale. She doesn’t think too deeply about long term prospects as cleverly Ms Collins ensures Katniss see her future as a journey to her own death. She is not suicidal, just decides she can’t have a long happy life. She knows if she achieves her goals she will not survive.
Katniss, independent girl, skilled archer and hunter. Her back story told with snippets of childhood memories. By this third story she is quite self-centred, hardened and cynical. I guess if you have faced assassination, seen friends killed, your hometown destroyed and finally realised things may not be as clear cut as you had initially thought, that is acceptable.
Peeta, the boy chosen along side Katniss for the original Hunger Games. A complex character, he features less in this book and when he does appear his ‘sickness’ explains his absence from the storyline allowing others to come to the fore.
Gale, a lifelong friend. Survivor, hunter, Katniss first love.
As with Harry Potter stories, the baddie, President Snow, is present in the story very rarely. He is a constant but absent dark presence.
Various other characters include old opponents from the Games alongside Games stylists now expelled or rescued from the Capitol. In Star Trek style the minor characters soon meet their doom, quite often in grim circumstance.
This young adult (YA) novel leads the reader to question loyalties. Not to judge people by their actions, or at least not until you understand their motives. The minor plot lines touching on mental illness, trauma and grief give the book a deeper aspect.
There is only one moment in the whole book, involving Prim, Katniss’ sister which I felt was too contrived and ‘far fetched’ in the overall scheme of things but I’ll forgive that.
If you wish to analyse it further rather than just see it as a piece of fiction you can see a political tone to the novel. It shows the leader of the rebellion may have her own agenda, as leaders often do.
There is use of ‘morphling’ a drug that causes drug induced haze. Another hint at our own society problem of drug abuse.
Oh, and don’t let me forget the cat! Yes in true Alien style, a cat sits firmly at the side of the family throughout. As you’ll know if you read my reviews I try not to post spoilers, so I won’t tell you who survives and who doesn’t.
Yes, it’s one of my recommended fiction books. It neatly ties up the trilogy. It does end. I won’t spoil it by saying if it’s happy or not, I’m just glad to know there isn’t a need for further games or adventures.
I think the first is the strongest of the three books in the Hunger Games trilogy, but if you read that one, I’d suggest it’s worth you reading all three. A best seller for a good reason.
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