Saturday, October 09, 2010

Mockingjay - Spoilers!

I almost walked over to my friend's house and broke in to steal something in the middle of the night. That item? Her copy of Mockingjay. I'd just finished Catching Fire, and I needed that book. I couldn't think about anything else.

Like the other two books in the trilogy, I read the final installment in less than 2 days and really couldn't be distracted to do anything else until I was done. It's a really phenomenal series and absolutely gripping! I'm actually relieved I didn't discover them until they were all out, or I would have been in agony waiting for them to be released!

I'm going to get into specifics, so stop now if you intend to read this in the future...

As you may recall, at the end of Catching Fire, Kitness has just been snatched out of the arena and discovered that Peeta is in the hands of the Capital. At the beginning of Mockingjay, we learn that the revolution is in full swing and Katniss, her mom and sister, Gale and many others are living in District 13, underground. The rebels want Katniss to be the symbol of the revolution, The Mockingjay. She finally consents, after making some conditions. She does inspire the districts with her bravado and hatred for the Capital's practices. I think that bit of the books is interesting because (although I often forget) these are YA books with a largely un-confident female protagonist, who has to prove to herself, or have others point out, that she really is a remarkable and inspiring person. While she may otherwise have little in common with teenage girl readers of the books, it's quite likely that they'll have lack-of-confidence in common.

I enjoyed reading about the underground caverns that make up district 13. How they got their daily schedule temporarily tattooed on their arms, what they ate, what they wore, what their rooms were like. The rebels understood as well as the Capital how important the message of the revolution is - Katniss is instructed to make propos (propoganda messages) to be aired across the districts, while President Snow creates his own propos, using an ever-beaten down Peeta as his tool.

Because Katniss is so overwhelmed by the thought that Peeta is being tortured to effect her, the Rebels free him and others from the Capital, but Peeta's been "hijacked" to believe that she's the enemy and tries to kill her. I thought that was a really clever plot devise even though I found it kind of devastating because I was so wrapped up in the story.

This inspires Katniss and others to topple the Capital, so she, Gale, Finnick and some others (followed by a camera crew) go off to fight. They discover that the Capital has been rigged, much like the Games, with all kinds of crazy traps, and lots of folks on their team get killed. Isn't it interesting when you love someone in a book and when they get killed or die, you've got to recover a little? This book reminded me a lot of the last Harry Potter book (also about a war, also were beloved characters are killed) but Suzanne Collins' book struck a more universal note with me. Ultimately Katniss becomes the sort of moral barometer of the war. She feels the weight of each person she's killed, has caused to be killed, or even sees die. Her friend Gale is the opposite - he looks at the war strategically and logistically and it ultimately drives a wedge between them.

I love how the book ends with Katniss and Peeta creating a book together of everyone who died in their lives, the games, and the revolution:
The page begins with the person's picture. A photo if we can find it. If not, a sketch or painting by Peeta. Then in my most careful handwriting, come all the details it would be a crime to forget. Lady licking Prim's cheek. My father's laugh. Peeta's father with the cookies. The color of Finnick's eyes. What Cinna could do with a length of silk. Boggs reprogramming the Holo. Rue poised on her toes, arms slightly extended, like a bird about to take flight. On and on. We seal the pages with salt water and promises to live well to make their deaths count.

In Mockingjay, Collins illustrates the futility of war, while complicating the fact with the need for revolution. I think it's a really thought-provoking series that leads the reader to contemplate the complicity and responsibility of citizens relationships to their governments. I'm going to enjoy rereading these books many times.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Hi--I enjoyed your review of Mockingjay, which I finished last night. Here's mine:

I can't remember how I first discovered your blog, but I've linked to it on my own newly launched book blog.