Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (4/5)

17 Aug

I’ve talked with a lot of Readers about deciding to re-read Mockingjay before the final movie release. I read these books originally in December 2013 so, to be honest, most of Mockingjay 1 was a surprise to me. While it’s nice for a movie to surprise you, I’m also curious what had to be added or cut because of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death. And the only way I could know that definitively was to re-read the book. I think the movie will still surprise me. So when it was time for another audiobook, this was the logical choice.

Mockingjay

Cover image via Goodreads

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Summary from Goodreads:

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans–except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.

Well, I remembered more than I thought I did. I remembered who died and how the book ended, which were the biggest spoilers. But I’d forgotten a lot of the smaller details. Plutarch is very different in the book from how Hoffman portrays him, but most of the other characterizations are spot on. It’s hard to react to a book I’m re-reading so this review might be a bit short.

I’d forgotten how much of the book focused on Katniss’s PTSD. Especially the later part of the book which will be in the next movie, after the war. I’m not sure how they’ll make that part into a movie. It might involve a lot of montages and ‘passage of time’ shots. I think it’s very realistic for Katniss to go through such an ordeal. Especially because of the inspiration behind Collins’ book, I’m glad she included it.

I love Peeta’s character. He’s my favorite in the whole series, but what he does in this book is great. He purposefully puts himself in harm’s way to keep others from being hurt. I can’t think of anything more noble and heroic. I love the fight he has with his ‘hijacking’ to come back around to Katniss and how he’s not exactly the same. He’s a very dynamic character and gives me someone to root for.

Suzanne Collins Picture via Wikipedia

Suzanne Collins
Picture via Wikipedia

My favorite scene is when the rebels are trying to ‘crack the egg’ in District 2. I think this will make a great scene because it’s very visual but also very emotional for Katniss. It’s a big turning point for her and shapes how she participates in the war. I’m really excited for it in the film.

I thought Johanna’s character fell short of her full potential. She was very pivotal in Katniss’s training time but fell away soon after. I think it would have been a lot stronger to have Johanna in the fight with them at the end. I wanted to see more of Johanna because she was a favorite of mine.

My audiobook was narrated by Carolyn McCormick. I thought it was okay, but nothing special. I guess it bothered me that she pronounced Panem PANem instead of panEM which is what I always thought and how the film did it. I was okay with her Hanging Tree song though it sounded a bit too happy. Her voice was a little flat to me during high-tension moments and that was the biggest disappointment. But I wasn’t too distracted by her voice to be taken out of the book, so it was good enough.

Collins has said that the whole series is about war and young people fighting in a war. The final book takes that to a very different reality than the previous two. The first two books are a simulation that’s dangerous to those watching while the war is dangerous to everyone near it. I thought Collins brought the realities of war to the forefront and didn’t skip over any of the ugly parts. It was a very real book and for those of us who haven’t been in combat, I hope it’s a realistic look at what our countrymen might be battling once they come home.

Writer’s Takeaway: Collins wasn’t afraid to be controversial. She was writing about her feelings on the US War in Iraq and her comparison is thinly veiled. She’s not attacking individual players (at least I didn’t read it that way), but she’s criticizing the whole system. While the fist book is a thrilling and quick read, the second one has a more serious tone and the final book hits you over the head with it. Well played, Collins. Well played.

Great book, god pacing, and interesting characters. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Re-read: “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins | SDAVREADS
Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins | Writer’s Resource Blog

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