Tag Archives: Mockingjay

Book Recommendation: A Spoiler-Free Book Review of Mockingjay

5 Sep

By Sammy Bina & Vanessa Di Gregorio

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As you probably all know, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the last installment of the Hunger Games trilogy. And we must say, it was worth the wait! Perhaps we didn’t love it as we loved The Hunger Games (though the jury’s still out on that one, in Sammy’s case); but there’s no doubt about how good a read it is. Now, in order not to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t yet read it, we will be as vague as humanly possible.

So here’s our vague summary: Some stuff happens (some of it quite epic). Some people die. There’s a climax and a conclusion. And you will laugh, and you will cry. The end!

But in all seriousness, what is so brilliant about Mockingjay is the way it resolves many of the series’ conflicts; and there are a lot of conflicts. In this novel, we find the Capitol once again at odds with the Districts, find Katniss fighting with almost everyone, and we see Katniss, Gale, and Peeta all struggling with themselves and each other. The most notable aspect of this novel is how it leaves you thinking about the horror that is war; and its consequences. Katniss and her friends aren’t spared from this cruelty, and deaths (which there are many of) occur quickly and furiously. We would find ourselves stopping to try and absorb what was happening, as the pacing during the action-heavy scenes is rather quick. However, we found that it worked really well and was far more realistic than if Collins had stopped to dwell on each and every individual death. Because in war, you lose friends, and you lose them quickly. You don’t have time to stop and think because thinking is what could get you killed, and by using that same tactic in the book it was, we felt, far more brutal and painful.

However, the book (which is spilt up into three parts) lacks the same urgency that is felt in the previous two titles of the trilogy. The story begins slowly, with Katniss absorbing everything that has happened since (and there’s a lot). And as the bits and pieces fall into place, we’re faced with a relatively slower pace for the first half of the book. Considering how Catching Fire ended, we had assumed that this book would start off in medias res. But while it doesn’t start off with a furious pacing, it does certainly end off with one. And if the book had started off where Katniss just hit the ground running, it probably would have been a much less effective opening. So much transpired during the first two books, especially at the end of Catching Fire, so it seems fitting to give Katniss some time to think things through (and there is a lot to think about!).

Peeta was by far the greatest surprise for us. His character is wonderfully explored in ways not seen in the previous books. He changes from the sweet, optimistic son of a baker to a scarred and brooding shell of a man. In some ways, Peeta has endured even more than Katniss, and everything that he has experienced up until now has really brought out a new side in him that, at times, can be really hard to handle. Because the books are told from Katniss’s point of view, sometimes it can be challenging to really get into the heads of other characters, but we believe Peeta was really challenged and explored in this last enstallment, and really rounded out an already beloved character. We may even like him better after this book, if that was at all possible.

Another aspect of the series that is really explored is the idea of good versus evil; which side, if any, is the enemy. Up until this point in the trilogy, we were led to believe that the Capitol was the root of all evil, but what if that wasn’t the case? Corruption exists everywhere, not just within the confines of the Capitol, and the way Collins portrays both sides is wonderful; neither the Captiol nor the rebels are perfect. She also does an excellent job instilling doubt in both her characters as well as her readers. If the supposed “good guys” aren’t always so good, what does that say about the “bad guys?” It’s really left up to the reader to decide which side they ultimately believe in.

The story is shocking, thought-provoking, and original. What we would’ve loved, though, was being able to see what was happening, instead of being told. There are a lot of blackouts in this novel which, sadly, means that we are told of events after the fact. And while it’s understandable to use one or two, it happened enough that it began to take away from the urgency of the later half of the book. We felt like a lot of the tension was lost each time Katniss woke up and was told what had happened while she was unconscious. Some of it was pretty intense, and it would’ve been really nice to have seen Katniss in those situations, rather than knocked out and on the sidelines.

There is also a lot of explaining; perhaps a bit too much at times. The Hanging Tree song was explained at great length as Katniss remembers the significance of the song. It felt a bit too much; we certainly didn’t need to be told what it was about for over a page, and we’re sure younger readers would have understood it as well. But we certainly can’t say Collins doesn’t trust her readers to understand complex ideas or issues, because this trilogy is full of it; Mockingjay especially. Which is one of the reasons why this series is so good.

We did love that the romance wasn’t so blaringly obvious in this book; in fact, there wasn’t really much romance at all. With everything going on, Katniss didn’t have time to think about whether or not she’d rather be making out with Gale or Peeta. Everything about the romance was very toned down and simplified, and really worked to keep the tension surrounding the revolution very immediate. The little romance that is in the book doesn’t take away from the trilogy’s overall theme and message. Some readers will definitely be disappointed by the lack of romance, but we felt that it worked incredibly well with the overall story/series arc. It would’ve ruined the book if it had been included more.

And that ending! It is bittersweet and haunting, and includes an epilogue that actually works. Though the epilogue might not be necessary, it ends the trilogy with an absolutely wonderful visual; one of hope. After everything that has happened to Katniss, the ending was perfect.

All that being said, Mockingjay is a must-read; especially if you’ve read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Collins has written a wonderful story featuring a remarkably strong heroine who suffers through heartbreak, hunger, and the horrors of war. It is gripping, edge-of-your-seat suspenseful; and not at all what you will have predicted. If you haven’t picked up this book (or this trilogy, for that matter), you are missing out! So, we definitely recommend you read this.

Actually, we insist.

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For our thoughts on Mockingjay with spoilers, check out the transcript from our live chat here.

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Sammy Bina is a 5th year senior who just completed her Creative Writing degree. She is currently querying her adult dystopian romance, THE AGE OF NEVER GROWING OLD, and is working on two new YA projects. She is an intern at the Elaine P. English Literary Agency in Washington DC. You can follow her on twitter or at her blog.


 

 

Vanessa is a Sales Assistant at Kate Walker & Co., a book and gift sales agency located in Toronto. She is also enrolled in a publishing program. Currently, Vanessa is working on a YA fantasy novel and a Children’s non-fiction series.

Mockingjay Predictions

23 Aug

Eeee! MOCKINGJAY’s coming out tomorrow!!

We girls at Let The Words Flow are quite excited 😀 So much so, in fact, that we all decided to make predictions as to what’s going to happen in this final installment of Suzanne Collin’s epic trilogy.

Come chat with us as we count down the hours until MOCKINGJAY’s release. What do YOU think is going to happen?

One note: In case you haven’t heard, someone who got their hands on a copy has posted spoilers on the MOCKINGJAY Goodreads page. So please don’t visit it if you’d like to remain spoiler free! Also, if YOU have somehow already read the book, DO NOT put any spoilers in the comments. Kat will hunt you down with sharp, pointy things. 😀

Okay, on to the predictions…!

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My prediction: Peeta is going to die in some ridiculous martyr-istic way to save Katniss (I only say “ridiculous” because Katniss will probably not want/need to be saved), and, in his last moments, encourage her to be with Gale. She will then be too shook up to actually be with Gale, and they’ll be really, really awkward for a while. Then book will end with them reuniting as friends but leave things open so there’s a possibility of them getting together romantically in the future…

And I will be angry…

Hm…there is also the possibility of this happening the other way ’round, with Gale dying. I know, I know. I’m a happy one, aren’t I? 😛

Oh, and Prim is going to play a much larger role. Maybe she’ll come up with an important plan or be sent on a mission or something. Either way, she’ll prove herself just as strong and resourceful as her sister 🙂

~Kat

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I predict that Gale will become a leader in the coming revolution. He has those natural skills of understanding and predicting prey, right?
Peeta and Katniss will also get involved, and Katniss will have “romantic moments” with both of them, confusing her more but also giving both boys the feeling that they are her choice.

Then, in the final battle that crushes the Capitol, Katniss Everdeen will be killed, probably in some noble sacrificial gesture. The “Girl on Fire” who sparked a revolution will become a martyr to the cause of freedom she came to represent. Yes. I predict… Katniss… Will… Die.

RIP, Katniss Everdeen. “It doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now… Here’s looking at you kid.” (Casablanca, 1942)

OR!!!… maybe both Peeta and Gale will die and she’ll end up with Cinna??? I LOVE Cinna. The trick he pulled with the wedding-dress-turned-mockingjay-costume was the bravest thing a guy has done in the books so far. I like Peeta and Gale, but I guess I’m really Team Cinna. 😉

~Julie

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I don’t want to make any predictions, because I get too depressed and scared every time i think about all of the possible ways it could go down, and none of them are very happy. Someone’s gonna die–and it’s going to break me. I’m bracing for the worst possible scenario, and I may or may not have bought a box of tissues this weekend in anticipation of crying my eyes out.

In the end, I’m Team Katniss, and I’m all for her ending up with whoever makes her happy, whether that be Gale, Peeta, or Haymitch.

~Sarah

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I’m predicting a whole lot of epic action, quite a bit of romance, and definitely a few deaths – particularly, the deaths of Gale and Haymitch. The fight against the Capitol will not go easy, and many lives will be lost. I think Katniss will be unsure of herself as a leader of the revolution, and Gale will be the one to help her – and will ultimately sacrifice himself to save her once the battle between the district’s and the Capitol begin. Katniss will then be faced with the choice to spare or destroy everyone from the Captiol – and will choose to spare them (remembering people like Cinna as proof of their ability to be good).

And I’m not predicting Gale will die because I’m Team Peeta – I just think that the loss of such a close childhood friend (who also happens to be quite the risk-taker and revolutionist) will be absolutely heart-breaking – especially with her feelings being so conflicted. Peeta may lose a limb, though.

~Vanessa

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I think we’ll finally get quality Gale time! Even if it involves spending a lot of time helping to run a rebellion, like Han and Leia (now I’m thinking of Gale as a young, darker-haired Harrison Ford). This makes Peeta Luke so, eventually he’ll realize he really loves Katniss like a sister and all that kissing was just a bit misplaced and they’ll laugh it off and it’ll all be ok in spite of the way they were lusting after each other earlier.

Anyway–Peeta’s been trying to die for Katniss for two books and during whatever raid or battle they have to save him, I think he’s finally going to kick the bucket, tragically. He’s too good to live and I will be angry when it makes me cry like a little girl. But really, I think it’s up in the air. If all three members of the love triangle do survive there really has to be a massacre of the secondary characters, like Haymitch and Fennick. I wouldn’t mind if Effie died too.

~Jenn

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Well, I’m totally Team Peeta, so any outcome that benefits him is one I would like.

However, with an epic trilogy like this one, obviously main characters are going to die. I LOVE Cinna, but I have a feeling he may already be dead. And I think Haymitch is going to redeem himself for some of his less noble actions and sacrifice himself for the rebellion. Gale’s probably going to die, too. Either that, or come ridiculously close. And realize Katniss is nothing more than a sister to him. Because that’s obviously how it should go!

But we have to remember this story is ultimately about Katniss. I don’t think she’ll die (though, like Gale, she may come close), but she may do quite a few reckless things in order to save those she loves. Who knows – maybe her sister and/or mother will really step up and help run the rebellion! I think that’s something I’d really like to see.

And while I fully support Peeta/Katniss, I think that, in the end, Katniss is going to end up alone. If both Peeta and Gale survive, she might not be able to choose. And if one of them dies, she may not be able to get over it enough to let the other fully into her heart. But she’s a strong woman, and I think, ultimately, whatever happens for her romantically will be best.

As long as she doesn’t end up with Gale, of course!

~Sammy

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So? Agree with us? Think we’re absolutely bonkers? Let us know what YOUR predictions are!