Author: Suzanne Collins
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Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost. (Goodreads summary.)
At 6pm tonight, I'll be sitting in the cinema waiting for the The Hunger Games triple bill to start! I'll get to watch all three movies back to back, and I can't wait. That meant that I felt compelled to go reread the series again. I have a little confession though, I've read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire multiple times, but I'd only read Mockingjay the once. I'd avoided rereading it because of how much I remember feeling disappointed with the final book. But, with the movie coming out, I wanted to see if it was better than I remembered and try to prepare myself for what they'd include in the first half of the film.
Katniss has found herself in District 13, Peeta was taken by the Capital and she has no idea what President Snow has done to him. Katniss is struggling to deal with what the Games have done to her. She never wanted to be the Mockingjay, she doesn't want to lead a rebellion. All she ever tried to do was protect the people she cared about. But this is where we finally see Katniss willing to step into that role, for the same reason she does everything else, to protect those she loves. That means that we spend a large majority of the first half of the book following Katniss around as she films propaganda films to show in the Districts and the Capital. The action doesn't really happen until the very last quarter of the book, it's quite slow going before that.
I have to admit that after finally rereading the book, I'm really nervous to see the film now. Catching Fire was an amazing book and they turned it into an incredible movie. Catching Fire is a brilliant film overall, not just a great adaptation. I'm really nervous because I'm not sure they could manage to make Mockingjay anywhere near as good. The first half of the book doesn't contain much of anything, Katniss is so badly damaged that she sits out of most of the action. Everything happens without her there, something that I hope they change in the film.
My biggest issue with Mockingjay is that Katniss is struggling with a lot, so her narration is a bit all over the place. Her narration starts to get a bit painful to read, and highly annoying at times too. I do believe that Suzanne Collins should be applauded for her decisions when it comes to characters like Finnick and Katniss, it's realistic. I appreciate that we're seeing real emotions, that Katniss can't just go through what she did and be completely okay. She has scars, both physical and mental ones. Yes, it's realistic, but that doesn't make it any less annoying to deal with. At times you just want to grab Katniss and shake her.
The other big problem with following Katniss is that she sits out on the action a lot. Anything in the book that could actually provide some excitement and make it interesting, she doesn't go. There's a rescue mission, which would be a brilliant chance for her to go out and do something. But she stays behind. And don't even get me started on the end of the book, where you're really excited to see them take on the Capital and President Snow. Do we get to see all the action? Nope, Katniss pretty much gets knocked out and we miss everything. It has to be one of the most unsatisfying endings in book history.
The truth of the matter is, the Games are well and truly over. Something that you are cheering on and can't wait to see happen, but you do kind of miss them. This book lacks action, which is pretty terrible considering it's the last book in a series. We're waiting to see this great fight against the Capital and Snow, and even then we mostly see them running and hiding. The conclusion to the book feels very rushed, in comparison to the slow build up we see for most of the novel. It was all over so quickly that it felt like a blink and you'll miss it moment.
And, I'm sorry, but I can't finally review this book without talking about the conclusion of the love triangle. It has to be done. Well, I'm Team Peeta all the way. But, if I am honest, when I first read The Hunger Games I was originally a fan of Gale. But Peeta won me over in Catching Fire, and then Josh Hutcherson's Peeta just sealed the deal in the movies. So let's not even get started on Peeta in this book. I CAN'T!
I don't hate Mockingjay, I don't have this horrible anger towards it. I still feel disappointed and unsatisfied with the ending, but I love the series. Collins provides us with one of the most realistic endings to a dystopian fiction that I have ever seen. The characters have suffered so much, you've read it in the previous books and know that. Collins doesn't just have them pick themselves up, dust themselves off and run into a rebellion like nothing ever happened. They're hurting, they're suffering and you really feel it in this book. But I still feel like the pace of the novel is all off, it's so slow going until the last quarter of the book. Then the speed picks up far too much, it's all concluded so quickly that it feels a little jarring. I'll be really intrigued to see what I make of the film. Keep your eyes out, that review will be posted tomorrow after I've seen it.