Friday, July 20, 2012

Book Review - Mockingjay

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
As rule I don’t read series very quickly. I tend to start the first book, wait at least 6 months to a year and then read the next one. This allows me to savour the series, whilst still keep the books relatively fresh in my mind. 
I started the Hunger Games in mid-April and here I am in July having read the last book. The trilogy is no “A song of Ice and Fire” but something about it engaged me and kept pulling me back. Did the Mockingjay successfully conclude the trilogy?
The blurb:
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.
I was concerned before I started this book. I enjoyed the Hunger Games but Catching Fire began slowly and was a bit directionless until the Quarter Quell started. It seemed Suzanne Collins had her comfort area within the story and unless she was writing within said area then the story was not as strong. With Mockingjay, Suzanne had no choice but to write out of this comfort zone and so I was anxious as to how it would turn out. (That paragraph was deliberately vague to avoid any plot spoilers).
This time round the plot is handled a lot better. The rebellion against the Capital takes place as Katniss finds herself in District 13. What makes the story so engaging is that although the obvious enemy is the Capital, the rebels of District 13 headed up by Coin are no saints either. It adds a nice new dimension to the good vs evil story line.
Katniss also develops in this book. She is still unsure of who to trust but she has much more of a purpose. She is also more ruthless. Gale and Peeta also develop nicely and are given their own story lines rather than just hopelessly fawn over Katniss.
For a large part of the book, the relationship of the three is not really addressed. Surely Katniss would be able to work out who she actually wants to be with by now? But in Mockingjay she is still unsure. This is a minor source of irritation but it is pleasing to see that both Peeta and Gale react to the situation as well.
There are a wealth of characters in Mockingjay and every character gets the attention they deserve. Finnick emerges as a more prominent force and is fun to read. Boggs and Coin are also good additions. The only one to suffer is Haymitch. He is a constant in the plot but does not have much to do.
The book builds towards the inevitable showdown between the rebels and the Capital. At first I thought I was going to be disappointed with the conclusion as it feels a bit abrupt, but by the time things are all explained and sorted out, I was more than satisfied. The ending is good and wraps up the trilogy nicely.
And so ends a surprising and engaging trilogy. One that I read on a whim and ended up more than happy with.
My rating 8.9
Trilogy rating: 9.1