Review of Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins.
Quickie: The perfect ending to the Hunger Games series. Beautiful, beyond anything I could have imagined.
Caution: Spoilers from The Hunger Games and Catching Fire!!
Full: Oh, Mockingjay. Where do I begin? This isn't going to be an easy review to write.
District 12 is gone. Decimated. Blown up. Burned. All the refugees have been relocated to District 13, the elusive District that's completely underground. 13 is the epicenter for the rebels. Katniss and Gale are there, and Katniss is in recovery from The Quarter Quell. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol and nobody knows much else.
Beyond that, I can't say much more, story-wise, without spoiling the book for you. But here are my thoughts.
It was brilliant. It was beautiful. It was a masterpiece. I will confess... I'd been counting down the days for this one, but even so, I couldn't bring myself to read it. It took me a week. I had to read it piece by piece. I just couldn't stomach it all at once. You know how it is, your expectations are so extremely high that you're afraid the real thing will disappoint you. Plus, people's Tweets were scaring me.
- Peeta. Everything that happened to him was horrifying and scary, but it made him so interesting and dynamic. I loved him before. And I love him even more now. What an impossible obstacle to overcome. What an intense struggle.
- Gale. It was nice to see him as he deserved to be seen. We didn't get to know him very well in either of the previous books, but Mockingjay gave us that chance. I didn't love every part of him. There were times when I was frustrated with him for pushing Katniss to choose, or for forcing her to dwell on things. But really, she did need to face the issue of Gale vs. Peeta, even though it was hard and I didn't like him forcing her to.
- Katniss. Wow. She made some leaps and bounds in her self-awareness and discovery. I've always admired her for her ability to survive and do what needs done, but when she realizes that she's becoming the cold, calculated survivor, and that both Gale and Peeta know she'll choose whichever one she needs to survive... that was a big moment. I was so hurt by that discussion. I hurt for all of them. But it needed to be said, and Katniss needed that "Aha" moment, even though it was painful. She's matured, and now she can see that she can't do everything alone. Help is not something she's good at requesting or admitting she even needs. But she really grows and learns to humble herself.
- The "Wasteland" period. When Katniss has had so many terrible, painful things happen to her. I was so glad that Collins didn't shy away from the pain. Real people don't just spring back from everything, and neither should fictional characters. When Katniss says, "I am a wasteland.", it hit me hard. I've felt like a wasteland before. The wording was perfect.
- The Epilogue.
Not as Good:
- I miss Panem as it was in THG and CF. True, it was completely corrupt, but it was such a rich world, so fully developed and intriguing.
- It was depressing. Beautiful, and I don't think it honestly could have ended in a more perfect way, but it was still so dire and hopeless at times.
- Annie and Finnick. I'm actually glad that Collins didn't go into any more detail about this at the end. I wouldn't have been able to cope.
In so many ways, I feel that things couldn't have gone any other way. Each time I think, "Well I didn't like this, I wish it could have turned out differently", I realize that no, this is what had to happen. Like it or not, this is what needed to take place.
As I'm re-reading this, it sounds like I have a negative outlook on the book. I don't. It was gorgeous. It was perfect. I'm still wallowing and digesting it. Mockingjay was beautiful and hopeful even while being ugly and hopeless. If you haven't read it, you are missing out. Big time.
5 out of 5 stars.
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