Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I finally finished Mockingjay this morning. I'm not sure why it took me so long. If anything, this is the fastest-paced of the three books. While the first and second books take their time setting the scene and developing character (though they are both full of heart-pounding action), this one felt much more rushed.

(Warning: spoilers ahead, if you haven't read the first two books.)

The book opens with Katniss making a return trip to District 12, which has been destroyed. She lives now in District 13 along with Gale and all the other survivors from District 12, except for Peeta, who has been captured by the Capitol. Peeta is being used as a propaganda tool by the Capitol and District 13 wants to use Katniss the same way if only she will agree.

Large parts of this book read like a description of a video game, and I think that will appeal to many of my students. But I'm not sure what they are going to think of the ending. To me it felt inevitable, and I was glad that Collins had the courage to follow through. I know that's cryptic, but I can't spoil it for you - go read it yourself!

I have read reviews that criticize this book for being too anti-war but to me this is the beauty of the series. Katniss learns about the futility of violence and hatred and deals with the terrible consequences of both. When people dehumanize each other and see other human beings as less than themselves, everyone suffers. There's not a way to sugar-coat this idea, and Collins doesn't even try. Heavy stuff for adolescents, and yet this is the way the world is. This dystopic series is well worth reading and discussing.

This was book #65 of 2010.

This post is linked to the November 27th edition of the Saturday Review of Books.


Janet said...

I've been waiting and waiting to hear what you thought of this, and now I'm a whole day late in reading your post!

I'll need to reread this eventually. I didn't really like the ending, but I'm not sure if this is a literary judgment or a "life judgment" -- a horror at the reality of what war and our various propoganda machines do to people.

Ruth said...

I'm curious about what you didn't like about the ending. But I don't want to get into it here and spoil the book for somebody. I'll email you. :-)

the Ink Slinger said...

I read this series recently, and it immediately went down on my list of favorite books. Collins writing style is brilliant, and the premise is one of a kind.

Mockingjay does have a faster pace than the former two books, but I think that's actually a good thing. War is a bloody, violent affair, and action usually happens at a whirlwind pace.

I don't necessarily agree with the subtle anti-war message that occasionally pops up in the series. There is such a thing as a righteous war. However, as you said, there is still much thought-provoking material to be found in these books, and that, for me, is what makes them worth reading.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Tricia said...

One of my friends that hated the book (after liking the first two) really hated the ending, but I liked it.

My official review (at GoodReads) was "I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, but I did cry." How much did you cry, Ruth? :^) It was the dehumanizing that bothered me so much - too intense. I'm withholding the book from my middle son for a few years because of that.

Ruth said...

Tricia, surprisingly enough I didn't cry. The book felt a little too much like a video game to me, and I didn't have the same connection with the characters as I did in the first book. The ending was touching, but nope, didn't make me cry.