Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mockingjay Review (Non-Spoiler Edition)

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published Date: August 2010
Price: Amazon ($8.44)

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.

This is the non-spoiler edition. It’s primarily to discuss my overall perception of the book.

The day I got Mockingjay: Hands shaking. Crying. Trembling. Throwing the book against the wall. Staring up at the ceiling for 3 hours (not getting enough sleep) and wondering what the heck just happened.

1 day after completing Mockingjay: My post about my first reactions to the ending. Reread the book, trying to digest it all.

It’s been a week since I completed it. In the beginning of the book, I wanted to pray to Ms. Collins and worship her saying, “Oh dear Ms. Collins, how can a brilliant author like you exist? The plot, the tension, suspense spinning this book into a dystopia shattered with emotions, like a game you control masterfully. ” By the time I finished this book, I wanted to throw this book at her and beg her to write another ending, another sequel and say, “Ms. Collins! What the heck! How can you end the book that way? Don’t you have any conscience to what you did to your characters, your “grandchildren” really, that you took so much time and effort to stoke fire into, created depth into , making the readers love them, sympathize with them, even developed crushes for them (ok, maybe that’s just me) and this is what you DID?!.”

Mockingjay was a plate of emotions, not sparing us any deaths or any nice flowers or unicorns to a mirror of the destruction of human nature. Many would say the book was a stance against antiwar with the sadness, sorrow, and anger entrancing the deaths and the readers, but I wouldn’t say so. Laced with the violence and trauma the ultimate questions of human nature are not answered, but shown. “What can we constitute as a boundary of war and destruction? What are the limits to human’s instinct to kill, murder, if there are any?”

The one thing that didn’t change in the final trilogy was the tension, suspense, and Collins dropping a bomb at every chapter (literally and also metaphorically). There were twists in plot and one part (can’t say what, sorry ;)) just made me stare at the book for ten minutes straight without comprehending what the heck happened. The details of the war, bloody scenes, and also Katniss’s emotions (which were magnified by a hundredfold with a sense of intimacy that I came to love and then hate) were detailed so vividly that the readers’ emotions mirrored the protagonist. (By the way, the romance is kept to a bare minimum, sadly.)

The ending was what leaves me angry and sorrowful (no more Hunger Games, except for maybe the movie? Please, pretty please with a good cast?). To me, it seemed like Collins became lazy, decided to tie a nice little ribbon on it, and tried to create it into an ending that pleased the readers. There were so many gaps, rushed ends, and I kept thinking “Wait? What just happened?”, that it didn’t feel like a nice close. (I wish I could say more, but I would be revealing a bit too much.)

Plot: 4.5/5
Characters: 4/5 (More explanation in spoiler post)
Cover: 4.5/5

I have always loved the simplicity of the cover with the Mockingjay. But I think the blue color, which evokes a sense of peace, deceived the readers into thinking that this was a peaceful ending. Alas, Collins couldn’t even spare the readers that much.

Overall: 4.8/5

The emotions, the deaths, the violence, the suspense, and the twists in the plot creates a war environment within the reader’s mind, playing each scene of a loved one falling, of a look of love turning to disgust, but ultimately spelling out what humans are. Do humans have the innate want to kill and destruct each other? And if we do, where is the line to killing innocent people? I wouldn’t be surprised if Mockingjay left a spark of fire and started a revolution in 2010.

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