Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins – book review
Katniss has been lifted out of the Quarter Quell and dropped into a country in the midst of rebellion. She is reunited with her loved ones from District 12, but, in the case of Gale, that only complicates her already complicated life. She has doubts about the rebellion, and is unsure who to trust.
I hear that when Hollywood get their hands on this book, they will turn it into two movies. I can see several places about 40-45% of the way in to this book where they can end the third movie in the series, cliff hangers involving Peeta. I think that third movie will be the least exciting of the four. There’s some good storyline in there, and I personally like a post-apocalyptic world in turmoil, but there’s not as much action in that section as the second section.
There’s more character development in this one. Something terrible has happened to poor Peeta, and he’s probably the nicest person in the books, so it feels all the worse. I like that Prim has started to grow up and we see more of her personality, and their mother’s. I am told that this is the skill of a good writer – create good characters and they will tell your story for you.
I loved the first two books, but I think this one is where Collins makes her point best. She spells it out for us in chapter 16, just in case we weren’t fully versed in Latin. The country is named for the phrase Panem et Circenses – “bread and circuses” in English, which is a metaphor for people’s desire for superficial entertainment. In political circles, the phrase is used to suggest that by distracting the people with shallow crap on the TV, people wallow in their ignorance and lose interest in their civic duty. Well, I’m not sure if that’s what Collins meant but that’s how I see it. It makes me very sad to realise that this is how it was in ancient Rome 2000 years ago, this is how it is now, and this is how it probably still will be in 2000 years time, if humans manage to stay in the planet that long.
The main reasons why I have loved these books so much are;
Fast moving present-tense narrative,
Katniss and her kick-ass-ness (also other well-developed characters),
Political commentary on current events by writing a story set in the future.
The second half of the book is another roller-coaster ride, and of course, because it’s the end a few people get killed off. Towards the end the idea of continuing with the Hunger Games as a way to punish the children for their forefather’s sins is an excellent thought-provoking point, and I think Collins could have made more of that.
We can all rest easy in the certainty than this is pure sci-fi and will never happen to us, or our offspring, but Plutarch, the Gamesmaker, wisely points out that “we’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction”, so who knows?