Tag Archives: Suzanne Collins

‘Mockingjay Part II’ Movie- All the action I wanted in Part I

10 Dec
Image via IMDb.

Image via IMDb.

I’ve been waiting for this movie for five years. I read ‘The Hunger Games’ around Thanksgiving 2010 when my husband introduced me to it. Soon after, I read the sequels and was pained that I had to wait a year for the movie. I’ve been to the midnight release of all four movies (and by ‘midnight’ I mean 8 PM because they do that for YA movies, look it up). So you might say I was a little excited for the final movie. I re-read Mockingjay this past summer to prepare myself for what was coming and to allow me to pick out the changes the writers made because of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death. In the end, I was not disappointed.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Tigris. I wasn’t sure how well they could look a human cat look like both a human and a cat, but they did really well. She was only human enough to be believable.

The traps in the city. I wasn’t sure how well this would translate visually. The book was vague enough that I thought most people had a slightly different idea how the black goo would look, but it looked how I thought it would if nothing else. It was a great scene. Though, side note, I thought Messalla was the one to die in the goo, not Mitchell. Does anyone else remember?

Cracking the nut. This was one of my favorite sequences in the book and I’m glad none of it was lost in the movie. I loved the visual of it. There’s nothing more for me to say, I loved it.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

Replacing Plutarch and Katniss’s conversation with a letter. This was one of two times I noticed that Hoffman wasn’t in the second half of the movie. I think they explained it away well and I was okay with the change. It also gave Haymitch and Katniss more time together which was appropriate.

No military training. I really disliked this part of the book, so I was fine with her sneaking to the capital to join the fight. All of the training was boring and I thought it slowed down the plot a lot.

MockingjayThings That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Johanna’s struggles. Okay, so maybe I just lied. The only interesting part about the military training was seeing how much Johanna struggled to be sober and continue training. Knowing that Collins is writing about PTSD, this stands out a lot more to me and I thought this part was important, but maybe not as kid friendly as the writers wanted the film to be.

Snow dies laughing. I thought this was the most ironic part of the whole book, but it was left out. She literally killed them both with one shot, but we don’t see that. I wish it had been left in as I’m assuming it was filmed and cut. How could you not put that in as a writer?

Things That Changed Too Much

Having Prim talk to Peeta. I don’t even remember the name of the character that went in to speak with him in the book, but the idea was that she wouldn’t remind him of Katniss at all. Sending in Prim instead? How could that not remind him of Katniss? Send in a random actress, make her day, and play her off as that character. Would that really have been so hard?

Katniss and Peeta having children young. She was so strongly against this in the book. She did not want kids to grow up in the world she lived in and fought Peeta over children before having them reluctantly. I understand it’s easier to change that so she has children at a young age for a movie’s purposes (don’t want to have bad aging like in HP) but I thought the change was too much.

Haymitch and Effie. Really? Did I forget that happened or was that added? Really?

Reader, I’m dying to know what you think. What did you think of the Mockingjay Part II movie? Do you think it was a good ending to the series?

Until next time, write on.

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

WWW Wednesday, 5-August-2015

5 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Hold HandsCurrently reading:  I almost hit the middle of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. So close. I might have to return it soon so I’m hoping I can renew it without losing it this time.
Oh hold with I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stand by in case I lose Cloud Atlas.
Half way with The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. I’m liking it, but still not 100% bought into the main character. You would think with such a long book I would be by now, but no such luck.
I’m on a mission to finish The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. The action was really slow to start and now that I’m over half way, I can finally see where this is going. I hope it picks up a bit more and I can get on with it.
I started a new eAudio: Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. It’s his first YA and it’s not the kind of YA I’m used it. It’s very ‘raw,’ which makes sense coming from an author who normally writes for adults. I’m liking it so far. Bohjalian’s daughter narrates the audio. She’s a trained actress and does a great job.

MockingjayRecently finished: Two! Two whole books, both audio. The first is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. It was nice to refresh this one in my mind. I remembered the major actions, but not the details. It’s going to be hard to wait for November to get here! I also finished Andy Weir. This book was really great. I highly recommend it for sci-fi or adventure fans. The narrator has a strong voice so it’s great for any writers struggling with that as well.

One book review up for you all to enjoy as well, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. I really liked this one and hope you all do, too.

WidowReading Next: I got the copy of A Widow for One Year by John Irving last week, but unfortunately that’s got to wait. First I need to read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls for a book club. I hope I can get to these soon!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 29-July-2015

29 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


MartianCurrently reading:  I’m on to the next section of Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I liked the last section, about Luisa, a lot so I hope this one doesn’t let me down.
No progress with. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. Stand by.
Good progress with Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I keep imagining this as a movie and it’s going to be awesome. I’m so excited for November.
Better progress on The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer than I expected. I’m around disk ten now so I’m almost half way done. I’m getting annoyed by all the french road names. It’s reminding me of a Steig Larsson book.
Slow start with The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. The week has been a bit hectic and I haven’t had time to read much. I’m hoping this changes.
Just to make the list of books I’m reading longer, I’m still not done with The Martian by Andy Weir. My husband and I are going to trade it back and forth for our commutes until it’s finished. I hope I can get through it soon, I’m really enjoying it.

Recently finished: Um…. yeah. Nothing this week. I haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like with physical therapy. It will be over soon, though. Then I want to hit the books hard.

However, two book reviews! Beat that! One is for Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (2/5) and the other for Harry, A History by Melissa Anneli (4/5). Check them out and let me know what you think.

CastleReading Next: While I’ve been waiting forever for A Widow for One Year by John Irving, it’s going to be put on hold. I’ve got to get to another book club selection, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This has been on my TBR for a while and since we were discussing new selections, I came ready with some I’ve been wanting to read and snuck them onto the list. Winning!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 22-July-2015

22 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


ExtraordinaryCurrently reading:  Slow progress on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’m enjoying the story a lot more now that I’m back into it. The first section was rough to get through, but I’m starting to see the connections between characters and it’s getting interesting.
No progress with. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I lost the hold so this one might be a while.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins flying by. I’m into the part that will make up the Part II movie so it’s all new to me again. I love it.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is going slowly, but it’s enjoyable. I’m on disk 6 of 22 so that’s progress, though granted not much.
I was able to start The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman late last week. So far, so good though I’m going into this with negative connotations because I really disliked the last Hoffman book I read. Just trying to stay impartial.

ManforHimselfRecently finished: I cried finishing Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. I think my own Titanic knowledge made it worse because I knew which characters would live and die. Bainbridge did a great job of incorporating the well-known passengers, much the way the James Cameron movie did. I started watching the movie after finishing this. Still ongoing due to a bad TV.

Only one book review this week, Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray which a lot of you said sounded interesting. Hope you like my review.

MartianReading Next: I should get  A Widow for One Year by John Irving this week! I’ve been waiting on this one for a while so I’m looking forward to it. I’ll also be starting the audiobook of The Martian by Andy Weir. My husband and I are driving to New York and back for our annual trip so I hope this keeps us entertained while we go through Canada (fastest route between Detroit and Syracuse).


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 15-July-2015

15 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Invisible BridgeCurrently reading:  My hold on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell came in! I hope to get some reading done on this one. I’ve had a lot more ebook time lately because I’m in physical therapy for runners knee and between waiting in the lobby to be called back and doing warm up on a recumbent bike, I get a few pages in each day.
Consequently, I’m letting my hold on I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai expire for now. When I finish Atlas, I hope to pick this backup.
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is going well. I’m beyond the point of the first movie and this is the part I don’t remember too well. It’s getting excited. I’ve set aside my PT exercise time as Mockingjay time.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is going slowly. As I feared, with my new commute, I don’t get as much audiobook time. I’m on the third CD of 22. I hope I can renew this one a few times!
I’m really enjoying Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. I love the Titanic so the setting has me really excited. I forgot how much her writing style makes for a quick read and I’m plowing through it. Hope to have this one finished next week.

HotelRecently finished: I cried while finishing Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. The ending was a huge heartbreaker for me and I really loved it. Though I was reminded a bit of The Orphan Train with the ending and kind of saw it coming. Oh well, still a good story.

A couple of reviews for you to check out as well. The first is A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. The long journey through the first book is finally over!
The second is Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan. This was my favorite book of June and I highly recommend it!

Crossing to SafetyReading Next: I should get my copy of A Widow for One Year by John Irving next week so that’s forthcoming. There are a few other possibilities, though. My next book club selections are Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner and The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. I might jump on those early if I get a chance so I’m not stopping midbook to read one of them later this month. You have to plan ahead as a bookworm!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

WWW Wednesday, 8-July-2015

8 Jul

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


MockingjayCurrently reading:  Stil a hold on Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Wait and see.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is going pretty well. With my big trip over the weekend, I didn’t get a lot of ereading time on my phone. Not much of a need for it in the middle of the woods. Hopefully this can pick up soon.
I’m really enjoying Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Henry is a really great character and I’m enjoying his story mixed between flashbacks and the 1980s.
Two new audiobooks this week. The first is Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins which is a re-read for me. I wanted a refresher of the story before I see the film. I’m curious how much had to change because of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death and how accurate they could keep the story.
The second new audiobook is The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. I don’t remember how this fell onto my radar but I think it might have been a recommendation? We’ll have to see how it is because I’ve only just begun. With my shorter commute to my new job, I’m not sure how fast I’ll get through this 22 disk audio.

HollowRecently finished: Two finished! Both audio. Harry, a History by Melissa Anelli was really good and it reminded me of all the awesomeness that is Harry Potter and being a Potterhead while the books were being released. Great read.
My husband and I flew through the audio for Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. I didn’t like this one as much as the first. I’ll have to write the review to put my thoughts together.

WidowReading Next: No changes to my plans. It will be a physical book that I read next. Either A Widow for One Year by John Irving or Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge. Depends on when I get a copy of ‘Widow’ from my work book club girls. Sounds like I might get it soon!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

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!

Page to Screen Discussion: Catching Fire

3 Dec

Time for the second installment in my new Page to Screen Discussion series. The latest movie I’ve watched (where I read the book first) was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I actually saw it opening night, but I’m giving you all a little time hoping that you were able to see it.

The Movie was released on November 22nd, 2013 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, directed by Francis Lawrence. The book was released September 1, 2009 by Scholastic, written by Suzanne Collins. Here’s some pros and cons of each.

 

Book cover from Goodreads.com

Book cover from Goodreads.com

The Book
Pros: Katniss’s growing animosity toward the Capitol is very prevalent. Her relationship with Peeta seems more strained wich works better (in my opinion) with her character. Better understanding of Katniss’s complacency toward the revolution and how she doesn’t want to be a symbol of it.Cons: First person POV limits the action because the capital perspective is unavailable. Katniss’s cold personality made the capital citizen’s anger at the games less obvious because of the lack of emotional detail.

 

Movie Poster via MyHungerGames.com

Movie Poster via MyHungerGames.com

The Movie
Pros: Ability to have scenes of Snow and Plutrarch talking while Katniss is in the games adds a lot to the plot development of the revolution, which is kind of sudden in the book. The scenes of the capital and their clothing is hard to describe in text but the movie did a fantastic job of depicting it.

Cons: The scene depicting Haymitch’s time in the games was cut and this was a scene I really wanted to see. Because the part about her ear being surgically replaced was cut from the first movie, she doesn’t make any excuse for why she can see the forcefields. The painting of Rue that Peeta did was supposed to be better concealed when Katniss entered the training room and it wasn’t which made the capital seem careless and cocky instead of scared.

So, what’s my end opinion? I was very happy with how close to the book the movie stayed. This was my favorite book of the trilogy and I think Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job. Visually, the movie was great and I think it added a lot to the story to have multiple points of view. Ultimately, I have to stick by my guns. The book was better.

What did you think? I’d love to hear other opinions. Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Until next time, write on.