Author: Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic, 2010
Review: I was expecting to be really upset with this book, since the majority of people to whom I’ve talked about it only had bad things to say. But I didn’t. I felt it was not a brilliant book compared to the previous installments, yet it was a good ending to this amazing story.
So, long story short… After the Quarter Quell in Catching Fire, Katniss is “kidnapped/saved” by the rebels and transported to District 13 to be their “Mockingjay”, aka the rebellion’s celebrity/symbol. They expect her to be the TV face of the rebels, inspiring them to fight and, at the same time, counterattacking the Capitol’s media propaganda against the rebellion. As we Hunger Games’ fans know very well, Katniss is not a people person. Plus, she is an emotional wreck at this point, with good reason to be, so this doesn’t go exactly as planned. Still, she manages to inspire people by being herself and the final battle to bring down President Snow begins…and ends.
I can’t help to wish that this book was more. The first half of the book was too slow paced, focusing on Katniss’s physical and emotional recovery from the last arena and the destruction of District 12, the loss of Peeta, life in District 13, how it is to live as a free rebel, the “Mockingjay/Katniss” media propaganda and the Katniss-Gale side of the love triangle, which felt a little bit forced to me. When Peeta finally comes back the story starts to have a little bit of the appeal that it used to have. I don’t know if I feel this because I got used to have Peeta in the action center of the previous books or because he is one of my favourite characters, but I did feel that Collins wasted a lot of time that could have been used in the creation of a more structured third arena/war scenery/romantic story.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that Katniss needed time to be desperate and broken after the shipwreck that her life become. I actually enjoyed to see this side of her, because it would be highly unrealistic if she was constantly sure of everything and fit for battle. But still, the author should have created a better balance in the story, because after Peeta’s rescue everything is suddenly intensified, coming back to the adrenaline rush that made me enjoy the previous books so much. We suddenly have major drama for those who love Katniss-Peeta love story (like me), we go seriously into the battle zone, we get into amazing action environments, we start to like the new characters, we witness unthinkable deaths and heartbreaking moments that just broke my heart. Actually, the second half of the book just broke my heart over and over.
I also liked the political schemes created by the author with Coin’s and Plutarch’s character. She was just another Snow in the making, which is just how real life is. I liked this less optimistic side of the book, the flawed characters, the tired and hopeless Katniss… the book felt more real because of that.
Still, it could have been so much better than it was! I wanted more angst and romance between Katniss and Peeta, more time with our secondary characters, less Gale love moments (or at least better ones) because they felt too forced and out of context for me… And what was that right outside President Snow’s door? That explosion out of nowhere? After all the trouble and planning of a “third arena”, all the effort put into Katniss’s mission going to waste! It didn’t make any sense to me. Unless Suzanne Collins suddenly remembered she had to kill THAT character and there was no pages left to do it, so she came up with a quick and effective solution, but utterly unsatisfying! I accept that character’s death, it makes sense to me that this character would be one of among others to die in the war, but at least she could have been killed off logically.
Overall: A good ending for an amazing trilogy, that could have been so much better if the book was divided in two or if the author didn’t got lost in the first half of the book. Nevertheless, it is a great story. It will kill you with an avalanche of feelings and crazy adrenaline rush. It will leave you wishing for more. But it is still good.
Quotes worth mentioning:
“You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real.” (this one just warms my heart every time I read it)
“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”
“But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.”