As if I'm not tired enough with reviewing/analyzing books, I'm back with a somewhat thorough analysis on the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay. It came out sometime in August and I was one of the few in Dunedin who grabbed it when it first came out. Funny enough, there were only 2 copies of Mockingjay left at Whitcoulls. It was either Dunedinites are fans of HG or it's just a standard procedure for publishers to send their stocks to Dunedin. I'm guessing the latter because I checked out the last book for Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series and there were only 2 copies for sale. (My next must-read on my list!)
Anyways on to the review!
I have to say Collins delivers consistently from the first book to the last. The suspense, gore, action and drama are still the main components for Mockingjay and I'm sure most fans are grateful for this. She's just so good at cliffhangers and that's why I broke my promise and I'm writing this review now. So much for saving it for my flight home. :( No wonder people kept saying how it's so hard to put down the HG books!
I love how consistent Katniss is. She's a very determined character in a sense that she still stays true to her values and you can barely see the gradual change in her. I like this fact because it makes her believable and very much human. It seems that Collins really understand her and you can tell how careful the author is about her character development. She is Katniss in Book 1 and at the end of Book 3, she's still Katniss albeit a bit different but not a whole new person either.
Katniss has flaws and I believe her biggest is her inability to understand her own feelings (especially regarding Gale and Peeta). However I'd like to vouch for Katniss. She can't be blamed for feeling that way because it all goes back to her life in District 12. It's all about survival of the fittest and staying alive is the first priority above everything else. There are no space for emotions other than to fight in order to live. Especially given her role as the provider for her small family.
I feel for her to be honest. How do you choose between Gale and Peeta? The best friend that you would trust your life with and this guy who saved your ass multiple times and you sort of care about. I'm sure everyone has that feeling that she'll end up with Peeta (which she did! YAY!) anyway but there is a point in the series where I feel she might be with Gale instead. Also the fact that she kisses both guys doesn't help either. (Stupid but still can be rationalized :P )
It's crazy how Katniss has to worry about this amidst the whole saving the world/leading the rebellion thing going on. Haha.
You really have to applaud Collins for coming up with this sort of plot. With the abundance of Vampire and paranormal romances we have nowadays, her story is like a breath of fresh air.
Basically Katniss kicks ass as always. Nuff said.
The book immediately picks up from where we left off in Book 2 so if you find yourself confused who's who, I suggest you re-read Book 2 first. I have this itty bitty problem with Mockingjay (not a whole lot to the point where I would say IT IS A PROBLEM because it's still passable just a wee bit of a concern).
I feel that Mockingjay spends too much time exchanging propagandas and I only realize this when I'm about to reach the end. Like I said, it's not a BIG problem and it could be Collins's way for a build up but it's quite odd. It's funny how you get all nervous and twitchy just because Katniss has to shoot a new video and in the next chapter we'll get to see how the Capitol reacts and they will make their own propaganda (in which they blow up other districts and kill a bunch of people, quite the horror factor implemented there which is awesome btw) but that's pretty much it. Until you reach Part 3 that is.
For me this sucks because this is the only time when you get to see Katniss in full action and just her doing her thing without being controlled. Obviously the first two parts are essential because we need to figure out the motives of District 13 and there's Coin and other fluff to understand but I wish we could get to the pow-wow sooner and not spend more than half of the book shooting propagandas.
One thing to note about HG series is the fact that Collins uses MEDIA as the main form of weapon in her series. I've never seen a YA author who does this so clear cut. It certainly defeats the norm where you would typically think that nuclear weapons would be the greatest weapons for war but not for Collins; she draws the attention to the use of media to defeat your opponent. And this is very realistic of her. The reality is, media is the most dangerous weapon one can have. If one can control media, one can control anything. Collins uses this fact in her series and I'm thankful for that. I'm pretty sure many youths are unaware of the effects of media. And so, it's not that stupid after all when Plutarch keeps forcing Katniss to look good and shoot all those videos. It's part of the game. I believe that if you just read it through without much thought, all of these preparations can be quite silly.
If you want to be totally ignorant, you'll probably go "Alaaa get to the fighting ordy! Why bother with make up and looking pretty? What la, you think you're Sailor Moon is it?!" ^__^
Moving on to the biggest twist and climax of the whole series: Prim getting blown to bits.
I wasn't prepared this. It came like a huge shocker that I had to put the book down and just stare at my yellow walls for a couple minutes. Just trying to absorb the fact. And when I picked it up again, I was slightly aggravated with Collins for being so metaphorical and almost poetic. I was very confused because theres the whole fire, phoenix, dogs imagery or something that at one point I thought whether it was real or not. Again, Collins could just use it to make us feel what Katniss feel at the time; that surreal feeling of which I do get but I'm pretty sure I'll do just fine without the whole metaphor thing. So troublesome.
Anyways, isn't the fact that Prim dies is such a shocker?! I couldn't believe it lah! I mean, Collins kills the sole purpose of the series! The fact that Katniss enters Hunger Games in the first place is because she wants to spare Prim from the terror and the fact that she is fighting this war is because she wants to keep Prim safe. It was all for Prim and Collins killed her!! Like OMG, what the hell! One thing about Collins if you guys haven't notice is that she's as ruthless as Katniss. She kills off each character so easily. Imagine JK Rowling doing that! D:
But to be honest, Prim's death didn't affect me as much as Finnick's death. My god, Collins killed me la at that part. I had to reread the whole page over and over just to make sure that I got the name right. And her description was so brutal. I wish she would be at least kind enough to kill Finnick off in a respectable way like taking a bullet to the heart or something but no, she lets the man get his head ripped off. Very nice. *sigh* :(
Very grim. Not what you would expect. I don't really mind because it was realistic. I mean, so many people died and the last thing you would want is to suddenly govern Panem and celebrate right? I have two problems though.
a) Gale's conclusion
b) Very rushed.
Refering to (a), what is that? Like what the hell! Collins disappointed me with that ending with Gale. It wasn't concluding enough for me. Katniss barely exchanged a word with Gale except to make sure who made the bomb that killed Prim and done. That was it. After that, Gale just left to work in another district and Katniss implied that he is probably kissing another girl already.
So years of friendship is over just like that? I find this very out of character for Gale. All these while, he refused to walk away from Katniss and at the end, just like that he's gone. Very very odd.
Not a fan of this!
Refering to (b): I'm okay with the slight turn of events where one would typically expect that Katniss would have this amazing showdown with President Snow but instead she sees Prim getting blown to bits and doesn't even get to infiltrate Snow's house. I'm okay with that. I'll let it slip. No biggie.
The problem I have is that I felt the whole transition from Prim's death to Coin's betrayal was too rushed and there were so many questions unresolved. Okay, they were resolved but quite ambiguously in my opinion. With the whole twist you get at the end, Katniss's solitary escape from Panem was a bit weird for me. It was quite disappointing and at one point, I'm pretty sure most of you will feel that Collins have given up with the whole Peeta/Gale dilemma.
Personally, I think she forgot about the whole drama. At the end, it was with a measly paragraph that implies Katniss chooses Peeta (if y'all want to argue about the epilogue bit, I KNOW! They're together and yadda yadda but I wanted more! YES! I do know that HG is not a romance novel so sue me for being a hopeless romantic!) at the end. It was cute how Peeta got Katniss to admit that she's in love with him but still....a downer for me la. I WANT MORE!
Mockingjay Rating: 4.5/5
Hunger Games Trilogy Rating: 5/5
Phew. I'm sorry if my writing is so crappy. I think it's crappy. I don't know la...to write is such a hassle for me these days. I'll edit my mistakes slowly...
Time to hit those books for finals!! Wish me luck!!
PS: I'm trying to be healthy these days so I've been eating a lot of Kiwis lately. So sedaaaaaaaap!!