Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was my review the first time I read this book:
With around 30 pages to go, Captain America told me it was time to get ready for bed. I said, "I'm reading THIS book," and he asked if I was going to cry. I said, probably not. Boy, was I wrong.
I'm a crier when it comes to books. Sometimes it's just a few tears. This time it was full on sobs. I haven't cried like that since Dobby died. And it wasn't even over someone dead; it was over a friendship that could not be made whole.
Having taken a few hours to calm down, sleep, and then discuss the series with a friend who also loved them, I have concluded that Hunger Games was the best book in the series, and that while I did enjoy them, the pacing was strange in the last two. Sometimes months would go by very quickly and without much explanation, and sometimes several chapters would span just one or two days. And a lot of events become totally chaotic in the last half of this book. Not it an I-can't-follow-this sort of way, but more like, what-is-going-on!?!?!
To me, one of the most truthful, real moments in the book is when Katniss loses her mind and thinks she can yell at dead people.
Overall, the book is worth the three days it will take you to read it.
A couple of other things to add: I didn't really like how you never learn if it's Gale's parachutes that kill Prim. I mean, Coin, or someone must have ordered the drop. It's as if Collins was afraid her readers would hate her if they were Gale's, but that the readers would also hate her if they weren't (and Katniss ended up trusting Snow when she shouldn't have, although Snow's arguments that it wasn't him are pretty solid). But I think it was pretty obvious that Coin was not an ideal choice for a new president, so I'm not sure what the concern could have been. And, I think other series, including Harry Potter and GOT, indicate that as readers, we will stick by you, even if you kill off people we really like, even if we think the wrong guy gets the girl, even if you make us wait years between the books, as long as they're worth the read.
Also, there was really no conclusion with Johanna. We never learn what happens with her.
Finally, because this entire series is told from Katniss's perspective, every time she is sedated, or in some other way incapacitated, we, the readers, don't know what's going on until she comes to and someone fills her in. So there's all sorts of things we don't know. For example, Haymitch comments (somewhere in the series, although it may not have been this book) that the Capitol killed his parents and his girl, but never really why this happened, or the effect it had on him (although it's fairly obvious given his drinking). There seems to be something that happens to the survivors of the Games that makes the rest of their lives colored by that experience (which totally makes sense), and my imagination is active enough that I can imagine how that would be, but the horror isn't fully expressed. Even Katniss's nightmares, while scary, didn't grip me with terror.
I loved reading this series, but I also know that it could have been more.
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