Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh. My. Mockingjay.

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After my first day of classes, you would most likely expect to find me at the bookstore buying the rest of my textbooks or in a study room making plans with classmates on how to best proceed on assigned projects. At the very least, you would expect to find me at home putting syllabi due dates into my Google calendar. Instead, I was curled up on an old rocking chair at Sundance holding my breath as the final pages of “Mockingjay” unfolded. Forget the “to do” lists and the ringing phone that I left sitting in my car. I had to know how the battles in Panem would end, who would survive, and who Katniss would ultimately choose as the love of her life.

The urgency to know how these stories will end is part of Suzanne Collins’ masterful story telling. Her writing occasionally leaves something to be desired – the pace often is a little too frenetic at key moments leaving the reader rereading to see whose legs exactly were blown off and which genetically altered creature carried off which unfortunate victim. And yet the compulsion to read almost seems forced. Four in the morning or at the expense of dinner burning on the stove, you have to know what happens….

Collins’ characters are flawed, complicated, and unconventional – which is what makes them relatable and more endearing. There is no white knight and blushing heroine. They are more real than that. The characters have issues and triumphs in the same breath just as Collins’ readers are prone to experience in any given day.

Summation of the Hunger Games series and specifically “Mockingjay” seems an impossible thing to do. And so, from a completely personal reaction, I have to say that I love these books. They are violent, disturbing, and exceptionally brilliant. Collins has created a fictional dystopia that eerily familiar to the world in which we live now. In much the same way that I felt after I initially encountered Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” I have found myself thinking about where I see a book’s warnings in day-to-day life. Overdramatic, maybe. But ask yourself next time, you sit down to watch Reality TV or hear about Sudanese genocide on the news after the report of Lindsay Lohan’s latest rehab stint, whether or not we really are that much better than the citizens of Panem’s capital. And what are we going to do about it?

Long review short – Read it. It’s definitely worth a few hours of missed sleep.

(ps. Everyone who has read the books wants to know which of the series you like best. So my order would be Hunger Games first, Mockingjay second, and Catching Fire third. If you haven't read "Mockingjay" yet, I would suggest rereading the other books ahead of time. I think it made my overall reading experience that much better...LOVE them!)


Anna said...

love your review! Justin started reading them a few days ago and he is half way through Catching Fire. He's hooked! hehe.

Laurel said...

I have so done the burning dinner thing. I loved the first two books and can't wait to read the third.

Great review. :)

sarah h. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sarah h. said...

I loved it, too. The ending seemed it bit rushed and I wasn't totally satisfied with how Pres Snow died. I really wanted Katniss to kill him. (that sounds wicked) But other than that I was completely satisfied.

The Leakes said...

Jaclyn, having just finished Mockingjay, I loved your delightful book review! You are an expressive writer, which I've known for a long time. I hope one day to read one of your novels. Thanks to Jenny, who is typing this for me, I am now connected to a great book critic! :) Hope all is well with you. Love, Laura