Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mockingjay review

Book Talk: Katniss has been rescued from the arena, but the hunger games aren't over yet.  The playing field as just got much bigger.  Peeta and her are still being used as pawns in a game as the Rebels and the Capitol fight for control over the districts.  Katniss is told that she's still important and needs to continue to play the role of the mockingjay to bring the districts together in their fight against the capitol, but how can Katniss perform when everywhere she goes death and destruction follow and Peeta remains in the hands of the Capitol?

Rocks my Socks: Based on the buzz I'd heard online I came into this novel with pretty low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I was frustrated by the previous installment because I felt like just as it started to explore some interesting issues it was thrown off track by another games.  This time most of the novel is spent exploring who's right and who's wrong if anyone and where to draw the line.  The characters become more layered as more is revealed about them and they are pushed further by extreme circumstances.  There is still some action, especially in the end, but since they remain in the real world, real issues continue in this part.  It's also doesn't take up nearly as much time as the Games in the second book.

Rocks in my Socks: The narration of the books was a bit overly dramatic and dark at points, especially the beginning and end.  I couldn't help but read these parts using the batman voice in my head.  For all that these books are supposedly anti-war and violence Katniss seems rather obsessed with vengeance and is an eager soldier.  She forgives a lot of people, but really it's only people who are pretty easy to forgive.  I can't think of a single instance where a character that's truly hard to forgive is exonerated because they've already seen too much death and violence.  In fact violence seems to be the main way problems are solved.  The characters don't show as much growth as I would have hoped for at the end of a trilogy.  Perhaps the biggest and most annoying rock in my sock was the epilogue.  If there are legitimate loose ends that can't be tied up in the regular time line of the book, then it's okay to add an epilogue.  But if all the loose ends of the book are tied up and the point of the epilogue is just for you to say a sentimental goodbye to your characters as an author then keep it to yourself and don't publish it. It's better to leave those kinds of things to the imaginations of your fans instead of robbing them of a chance to make up their own future for the characters.

Every Book its Reader: I'd recommend it to fans of the series.  If you've enjoyed the series, then it's worth finishing it with this book.  I don't think it would make sense to those who haven't read the first two books--I had difficulty with it at times and it's only been a year since I read the first two books.

************spoiler/rant alert********************
So there are two things I wanted to discuss, one positive, one not but they are definitely spoilers so I've added them down here.  First the good: even though I was rooting for Gale at the beginning of the book, I'm glad she ended up with Peeta.  I'm sorry but not wanting someone to kiss other people is not the same as being in love with a person.  What kind of crappy romantic origin story was that?  I don't think Gale ever really wanted her, he just didn't want anyone else to have her.  He lost any points he had gained in my mind the moment we first saw him working on those cruel traps, and of course I knew where that would wind up--in a heavy-handed lesson in morality.

The bad: Okay, so my knowledge of archery basically comes from Robin Hood and most of my physics from Big Bang Theory, but I don't think that last arrow would have killed president Coin.  It would have had to go straight up and then down, which would mean that it would lose the momentum from the bow when it changed directions and rely mostly on gravity for the way down.  To kill Coin instantly before the doubtless immediate medical aid could save her she'd have to hit a vital point.  I don't think she could hit the heart at that angle so it'd have to be a head shot.  Even hitting her neck medics probably would have saved her in time.  It would have had to go pretty high to gain enough momentum for gravity to pierce a human skull, which would give snow time to get out of the way. As I said my knowledge of this is pretty shaky, but it's bugging me so if you have any further insight into the possibility of this working please leave it in the comments. Also I'm confused about why Katniss votes for another hunger games at the end and about whether this actually comes to pass.  the best reason I could come up with was that perhaps it was to fool president Coin into thinking she was on her side so she'd have the chance to kill her, but I think Coin would have been standing there whether the vote had passed or not.  If you can clarify this for me, please do because even the idea that they proposed holding another games is so abhorrent and depressing considering everything they'd just been through that it makes me a bit sad that they didn't all die and allow a new species to take over.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
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