Books · Review

Review | Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

(I’ve got about four of these lined up—reviews, that is—so be ready!)

I am so glad I reread this finale.

Summary

District Twelve is gone. Peeta is a captive of the Capitol. And a war is about to begin.

Hiding in District Thirteen, Katniss contemplates becoming the Mockingjay, the symbol of the resistance. But everyone knows the one pulling the strings is President Snow, the leader of the strictly regulated District Thirteen. Dressing up to make an impression—not exactly new ground.

But with the possibility of a better life for all of Panem, Katniss might actually agree to be part of the rebellion.

Plot

The best part about this plot is the parallels between its plot and those of the previous two novels. Katniss is still being manipulated, still dressed up and put on camera for the benefit of propaganda. And these are still the Hunger Games.

The cleverness of it all is that the seriousness from the last couple of books gets kicked up by about a thousand notches. Part of it is the war. Part of it is the PTSD. Part of it is the best plot twist in the series happens and it played out so well.

Characters

What I like about Katniss in this book is that you can really see how far she’s come from the first book. First book Katniss wouldn’t care about Peeta, would have hated the prep team, would have

But what really sticks out in this novel is how raw all the characters are. Sure, there are still images being maintained, but the circumstances are much more serious and substantial. Every character interaction has weight. Every death has consequence because it means something to die. You don’t really get that feel from the first two books.

One of my favourite scenes in this novel is the line, “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t survive without.” In this book you really get the understanding of survival, and that living means more than just survival. And that comes largely through the characters.

Writing

Katniss’s voice in this book is both strong and weak, and I love that about this book, it just shows how much she’s grown. She’s much more perceptive and sensitive, but she’s also making finite decisions.

The problem I had the first time around was that the pace was mind boggling slow. This time, I think it’s still slow, but that’s to make room for all of the analysis and inner monologue. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.

But I think the reader is greatly limited by Katniss’s point of view. On one hand, we get a first person POV of a war, making it much more personal and much easier to slip into the situation. On the other hand, you don’t see the battle, because you’re with Katniss making propos.

Themes

Like in the other books, image is huge here. The propos are the largest representation of this, and it’s important to note that the rebels are using Katniss the same way the Capitol was.

What I like a lot about this book is that there is a distinct difference between living and survival. Katniss learns this through her (unbearingly annoying) love triangle, her time as the breadwinner, her time in the Games, and her time as a rebel. The difference in definition is something we often take for granted, but the message still applies to us.

Survival means staying alive. Living means deserving it. And what is deserving it? Well, you’re going to have to read the book.

Final Verdict

Recommendation for Mockingjay: Buy. Finish this series. You owe it to yourself.

Recommendation for The Hunger Games Trilogy: Bookmarked for Life. The Hunger Games Trilogy is very important to me as a discussion of image, politics, and survival.

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2 thoughts on “Review | Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

  1. I really enjoyed the film of the first half of Mockingjay precisely because of the issue you raise where you can’t actually see the war when you’re stuck in Katniss’ head. In the film, you see more of the war, and the rebellions in the districts. I may be remembering wrongly, but I think they’re juxtaposed with the propos. For me, it really hammered home that Katniss is being asked to inspire people to sacrifice their lives, which is a totally different proposition to risking her own.

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    1. I definitely agree! Mockingjay strips away a lot of the glamour that was covered up in the first few books because Katniss was in the Capitol/the Games. I don’t remember the film much, though that sounds like a good idea in terms of film.

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