Thursday, 26 August 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (spoiler free!)

This review (if you can call it that) is spoiler free for Mockingjay, but does contain spoilers from The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I really, really advise you ignore this post because HG is an epic trilogy and you absolutely want no spoilers before starting it.

"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year"

From the back of the UK version: "If we burn, you burn with us." Sent shivers down my spine before I even cracked it open. 

I don't know how to even begin writing a review for this book. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were both epic. They were dark, twisted, very, very real and generally just awesome. Nothing fuzzy, warm or happy about them really, but epic, thought provoking and amazing. I was desperate to know how it was all going to end for Katniss, Gale and Peeta, and the rest of the awesome characters. I knew it wouldn't be an easy ride, I knew it was going to be hell for them all, especially with how Catching Fire ended. But Mockingjay still blew them out of the water. 

It was a very, very painful and tear jerking read. Collins' is brutally honest about the toll of war, on the people involved, on the people who take action, on the innocents caught in the cross fire. I was brought to tears repeatedly and had to take a few breaks reading it because the intensity, the pain was just too much for me. I finished it well over 24 hours ago and I still can't really wrap my head around it all. I found myself trying not to keep sobbing for about an hour after I put the book down, that's the kind of impact it had on me.

Did I love it? Honestly, no, I don't think I did. I don't think I can say that and truly mean it at this point. I hope that with a little time for it to really settle in, I can.

Is is amazing and a worthy conclusion to the trilogy? Yes. Without a doubt it's an epic final book which does the first two justice.

Would I recommend the trilogy? Yes. No question at all this is one of the greatest YA trilogies/books/series that exists and I would recommend it without fail. But, that said, it's not warm romantic or happy. It's war in all it's brutality and loss of innocence. It is not an easy read. Not a fun beach, vacation, rainy day read. It's intense from page one through to the last, it doesn't let up, it tears you apart and asks huge questions.

Was I disappointed about anything? Yes. But detailing that would be spoiling it. I will say that there is a outcome I didn't like, still can't accept. War changes people, I know that, I've got an uncle who's ex-army, been to Iraq and I've heard the stories, seen what it does to him as he speaks of it and can't begin to imagine how I'd cope in Katniss' world. But despite that, despite everything, the changes brought in one character disappointed me and the outcome it meant for them disappointed me. From how that character was shown from books 1 and 2 it didn't quite tally with me. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm asking too much, but it's how I feel about it.

The ending was brutal, and if I'm being honest, that thing that disappointed me? For me, meant a taint on that ending, it didn't give me what I wanted, though with how things went I do understand it. Its the second thing that disappointed me about the book, but I think they're the only things that do. Fairly major disappointments for me, but they can't take away from the greatness of this trilogy, not truly. Because this trilogy has never been about a romantic love triangle (which yes, does get a resolution, but I won't say anything beyond that on the subject), or a girl standing up to a bad guy or two. It's been about war. A different world, a different life, from ours sure, but we've all seen the images, heard the stories. Some know those involved, or have been themselves even. That's what this trilogy is about, war, the darkness that causes it, the darkness that comes with it, and the darkness that follows.

Mockingjay is a fitting end to this epic trilogy, and of course a must read for fans of the first two. But I warn you it is far more brutal than either of the first two, and I while I can honestly say it's amazingly done and one of the very best YA series that exist, I do not love it. It is not something I feel I can love, though I hope that can change with a little time and perspective. I suppose it deserves full marks for what it is, for everything it says, for the trilogy as a whole and this book alone, yes it gets full marks and then some. But on a personal level, it can't. Not with how disappointed I feel about that one character, that one outcome. I feel almost wrong giving it less than it deserves, but that's just my opinion. 8/10


evilqueen21 said...

Great review Cem! ...and I see where your coming from, I totally understand your point of view but for me even though it wasn't everything I personally wanted, I have to give Collins a 10/10 just because even despite my not agreeing with it all I can't fault any of her writing it's just sheer genuis. It cemented it's position for me as #1 series ever!

Maiawa said...

i know how you feel Cem...was it the thing that happened to one of 'her boys' at the end? because that really made me sad. and yes, i know its a war, but the ammount of unnessecary deaths was shocking and even now, a month after reading the book, i cant get over it. i suppose thats a good thing. thats what authors aim for, that it sticks with you. but this book was so beautifuly and honestly tragic! i want to read the series, but at the same time throw them under the bed away from veiw! argh!