Published by Scholastic Press on August 24th 2010
My name is Katniss Everdeen.Why am I not dead?I should be dead.
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.
Back when I first read this book I absolutely hated it. I would have given it one star and tossed it out a window. This time going through I chose a different format: audiobook. Now whether it’s the fact that the narrator was great or that the book has improved as I’ve aged or both, I no longer thing it’s the worst book ever written. I no longer hate it with a fiery passion. I do still think it’s pretty bad though.
This book has 2 halves: the tolerable bit and the part that I’d rather flush down the toilet than subject my eyeballs to. Harsh you might say? Well perhaps. But reading MOCKINGJAY is like reading two totally different stories mashed up into one.
I define the two parts thusly: pre-Peeta and post-Peeta. Pre-Peeta is all the parts of the story before he is rescued from the Capitol. He’s not in this part of the book except by his absence and a few television spots. I actually like this Peeta. His on-screen self is a better plot device than actual person and we don’t have to put up with him damsel-ing all over the place.
Pe-Peeta involves a lot of healing for all the characters. Finnick and Katniss bond and share experiences. You learn a lot about Finnick as a real person and not as a victor which makes him a lot more lovable. At this point I’d rather ship him and Katniss over the available options. Katniss becomes the Mockingjay in full, taping propos and actually doing some useful things, but rarely obeying orders because selfish Katniss is selfish. At least it makes good story.
Then comes Post-Peeta. Peeta is no longer Peeta. Oh sure, he’s still a damsel. Only this time he needs to be saved from himself as well as the Capitol. Only Collins takes the one redeeming quality he has as a character–his sweetness. Without it Peeta is an unlikable, frustrating slab of meat. And then we pretty much ignore him for a while. Awesome.
One redeeming feature of this part of the story is the humanization of Joanna Mason. She’s quite abrasive in book 2 and only here in book 3 after she’s been tortured does she really come into her own as a character. Not just an angry adversary for Katniss, Joanna now has a purpose and she’s actually kind of likable, who knew?
Then there’s the ending. This is the part I have the most beef with. Mockingjay’s ending is. Awful. Full stop. Awful. It’s rushed, it makes no sense, and the emotions are so all over the place. Some make sense but others seem to come out of nowhere and Katniss’ decisions (based on the fact that she knows nothing for certain) are once again selfish and at points out of character. Just freaking why?
After that the last chapter and the epilogue are worse than useless. They have no point other than to continue the disappointments. Everyone is broken, including the reader. And not in a good way.
While I recommend the first two books in this series, I would only recommend this one if you have an insatiable need for completion. Otherwise please don’t bother.
What did you think of MOCKINGJAY?
What’s your favorite dystopian? Share your thoughts in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,