written by Suzanne Collins
As with my other immediate reaction posts, this will probably not be the most organized, coherent blog I write. This is because I literally just finished reading Mockingjay, and it was sufficiently mindblowing. Congratulations, Suzanne Collins, for successfully making my brain explode. Obviously, my thoughts were all over the place while reading, and are in no better state at this moment. The suspense of this book kept up throughout the entire read, down to the very final pages. I found myself sitting here, grasping the last few pages in hand, completely clueless as to how Collins could successfully wrap everything up so quickly. She did. She freaking DID.
The book starts with a one month time jump since the events of Catching Fire. Everything that happened there is explained, which, by the way, put Catching Fire in a new (and better) light in my mind. There's a lot of preparation and build up for all the big battles, and trust me, big battles there are, literal combat and raging inner psychological wars. All the while, Katniss' every move is still being filmed, a move I didn't quite appreciate (and, well, neither did Katniss!). Both Katniss and I really wanted to see more of her in combat rather than on camera.
I was really glad to see the romance toned down. Very early on, Collins makes it clear that Katniss is in no state to be choosing her "Team", at one point blankly making a statement through Katniss: "The very notion that I'm devoting any thought to who I want presented as my lover, given the current circumstances, is demeaning." This isn't to say that her inner struggle between Gale and Peeta doesn't exist, just that there are obviously bigger issues at stake. She does eventually (very eventually, it's not until the last page, plus the epilogue) make her choice, and while I am not at all a fan of the choice she makes, it's still written in an incredibly powerful emotional (or, as the case is, emotion-less) way. The way her castoff "Team" is treated, though, just slightly enrages me, as it is a character plenty of fans were very emotionally invested in.
Anyway, to more important things. I do not like the epilogue. I do not think Katniss going back to District 12, popping out babies and living a normalish life with Peeta is in-character at all.
There is so much effective foreshadowing done in this book, as well as throughout the first two books in the series as well. It's still extraordinarily difficult to tell exactly where the plot will take the reader, but ohh, after finishing the book, it's amazing how well all the pieces, laid out from the very beginning, all fit together. There's nothing I like better than a book that sets up an intricate mythology and mysteries surrounding that set-up, and then resolves all of the plot threads.
For the longest time, I was convinced that Gale would flat out sacrifice himself so that Katniss could end up with Peeta. Guess I was looking at this book and its author incorrectly. They would never dumb themselves down to that level of desperate romantic plot, and I'm so thankful I was proven wrong.
I came to a big realization while reading this series. It is very rare for me to like a main protagonist in a book or series, and for once, I do. I love Katniss. She was, surprisingly enough to me, my favorite character. Such a complex girl (and that complexity is fully fleshed out in this book, as is...well, pretty much the complexity of everything), with so much to face. Her realizations throughout this book about herself, her place in the world she inhabits, are emotionally raw in their realism, and her end emotional state left me paralyzed in its intensity. The story is darker than the first two, darker than most books I've read, and the progression of Katniss's emotional state is the most compelling and, in a twisted way, beautiful, part of the series for me.
Rating: A much deserved 5/5
I can't wait to see everyone else's reactions to the book! Leave me a comment with your thoughts (or a link to your review) if you've finished. =)
Randomish side note, I was shocked that Madge/her family played such a small role. I read this article and was convinced they'd be the key to the story, haha, so to not even see Madge in the book was a huge shock.
Also in the series:
The Hunger Games