Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #3
Publisher: Scholastic Press on August 24 2010
Genre(s): Dystopian (YA)
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.
So in today’s episode of When Books Suck Ass, Suzanne Collins will be playing the role of Author Who Led Me On And Ruined The Series. Sound good? Didn’t think so. But that’s pretty much the way this review’s gonna go. Oh, and you are now entering Spoilerville.View Spoiler »
Unlike The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Mockingjay was not a crazy adventure to survive in a horrific arena before going back home to maybe be torn between two lovely, lovely boys. And that’s a bad, bad thing. This one was more political chess moves and terrorizing the destitute. It was as bleak as I imagine living in District 12 would be, and it was just as unrewarding.
Remember how Katniss jumped up to save Prim, screaming that she volunteered as tribute, anything to keep her little sister from (at best) living through the horror of the games or (at worst) dying there? Pointless. Prim dies anyway, a victim of a bombing orchestrated by President Snow to kill… get this… children! I very nearly checked out then.
But no, I just had to keep reading because I am apparently stupid enough to hold out hope that Collins might somehow redeem the series. Did I mention that I’m stupid? Okay, then I guess you know how that went. After too much death and manipulation and loss and just sad sad sad surviving for nothing but suckage, we get the epilogue. And in it, Katniss is apparently content with her lot in life, all hooked up with Peeta, and still kind of f’ed up about what happened to her in and after the games. Go figure. But it’s a little hard to believe since Katniss was essentially never ever ever ever ever happy during the books. Because she lived in hell. And went through hell. And lost pretty much everything. And now she has this couple life, and that’s supposed to make her happy and make readers happy? Um…no.
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So after reading all three books, here’s what I walked away with:
- You can’t save anyone.
- The world sucks.
- Rich, powerful, creepy people will destroy you, even if you win.
- People you love will die, go crazy, or just walk away after turning into soulless jerks.
- May as well spend forever that dude you kissed a few times, even though he tried to kill you, since everything is all sucky.
And just so you know, I’ve read and enjoyed other series that had disappointing, shocking endings that weren’t so happy, but even though I hated the way things ended up, I walked away feeling like it was for a reason. This shit here? Nuh-uh. Perhaps that was the point.
I understand that it’s not a fairy tale. Perhaps it’s supposed to be a realistic portrayal of how war destroys everything and everyone, even the survivors. But if I wanted that, I would have picked up something aimed at adults, not seventh graders. Or maybe something about an actual war. But I picked up a young adult book about a heroic girl who was willing to sacrifice herself for her little sister, a book about a (hopefully) fictional future, and it’s that fictional aspect that I was counting on. Because in fiction, you can have a happy ending, your losses can have purpose, your sacrifices can be worth it, and you can miraculously survive and overcome and thrive. That’s the beauty of fiction — it doesn’t have to go the disappointing way of real life. Unfortunately for me, this one did.