Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mockingjay- worth praise or.. Mocking?

Well friends, I've finished it. I have read every Hunger Games book. Now here's my summary and review. This will contain major spoilers at times, so skim with caution if you ever intend to read the books.

Chaos. Destruction. Revelation. Three words that best describe the ending of Catching Fire, were we last saw our beloved Katniss Everdeen. Katniss, in the heat of the moment, blew up the force-field surrounding the arena of the Quarter Quell Hunger Games using the trick her fellow tribute (and former victor) Beetee taught her. Just when she thought she was in for it, she learned more than she could have imagined. District 13, thought to have been obliterated years ago, is still in existence. All of the tributes in the Quarter Quell, except her and Peeta, were in on a plan to keep both of herself and Peeta alive at all costs to defy the power of the Capitol. The problem is, they only half succeeded. Peeta's been taken captive by the capitol Forces. And, oh, by the way, Katniss' little stunt has decimated her home of District 12, and the few lucky enough to survive, including her mother, little sister Prim and best friend Gale, are now safe in 13. Katniss should feel some sense of relief, but she doesn't. Back in Panem, the Capitol is trying to use Peeta as a lure to draw Katniss in as they inflict much torture on him. Katniss is also finding while she may be out of the hands of the sinister President Snow, she is becoming just as much a pawn for the cause in 13. Besides that, who will Katniss chose to give her heart to, if she can even live that long?

I'm gonna say it again; Collins has constructed a uniquely masterminded series I found myself reaching for constantly. You're gripped by what will happen to the characters, especially since you know that this is it. This book is definitely a full-on tale of war set against the backdrop of romance, as opposed to the other way around ,which is how the last two have been written. You certainly feel Katniss' emotions ebb and flow. When a character dies, there's a clear sense of loss and sacrifice that shakes you. Everyone, from Finnick to Peeta to Katniss to their team of Rebel commandos they join in the Capitol, to even Gale ,show self sacrifice  For all the controversy, I thought it all ended pretty well. Despite the fact that Katniss, even as an adult mother, was still struggling against the trauma of  the year we followed her so closely for, it was clear her Romantic choice (whom I will not say) and her children were giving her the strength to carry on and heal.

That said, let me list my few minor complaints here: Death. There's a lot of it, sometimes pretty gory. While its not the gore that bugged me, the constant death of a lot of characters (some of them key characters) didn't give us time to sit back and enjoy them much. While scenes such as Finnick and Annie's wedding are tender and heartwarming, moments of healing, while existent, are a little few and far between. You don't get a lot of time to, er, smell the roses (actually, you probably don't wanna, so maybe that's better :D) The whole death thing is taken to a new level when (HUGE SPOILER ALERT!) Prim is killed by one of Beetee and Gale's contraptions in the chaos of war. While I get the fact that something needed to really break between Katniss and one of the two guys in her life (Peeta and Gale) for her to live happily ever after with one of them, it seemed a little extreme from my point of view. Beyond my personal biases though, here are the actual things to look out for: Morphine, whose name was botched into Morphling sometime between nowadays and the time of the books, is used pretty frequently on patients. While its necessary at first to calm the extreme trauma most of them are processing, most sneak a couple extra doses because they become addicted for a time. Katniss is NOT excluded from this drug fest. As I stated before, the violence gets pretty gory. I would not recommend anyone under 13 read this series because it is literally a metaphor for Iraq, WWII and other such bloodbaths. On that note, some people have related the malignant effects of the war in Panem to the war in Iraq, and if you're one to pick up metaphors and double entendres, it won't take long. Besides that, though, the only problem is, in the end, a slight detail that is pretty left to interpretation. It's never made clear if Katniss and Peeta get married (SPOILER!) before they have their two kids. while they're basically living alone in 12, there are certainly other inhabitants. This is, I guess, a morally grayed ending for a morally gray thread of the story. While there is certainly no doubt that they love each other and would sacrifice anything for each other, the fact that its never placed just how far they take their relationship (obviously once they have kids it is) or just how committed to each other they are can be interpreted  a number of ways.

So in the end,  I whole-heartily recommend the series. Your not gonna find anythingn like it, and certainly nothing as gripping. It makes you think twice about what you would do in their situation, and, for all its issues, delivers a great storyline as well.

Farewell Hunger Games trilogy!

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