This post is all about Mockingjay (Final book of the The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Haven't read it? Fix that now. I'll wait... well actually I won't but this post will still be here when you get back from reading all three books.) so there will definitely be spoilers... Also, I've only read the book once through (will be starting it again tonight) so there are parts I may have misunderstood, overlooked, etc.
First, I have to say that I loved it! I read it almost all the way straight through and that I cried a lot. I have many wonderful and glowing things to say about Mockingjay, but I'm going to get the things I didn't like out of the way first.
1) I felt like some parts were rushed through. When Katniss was imprisoned after killing Coin was one of these parts. It was confusing and I don't feel like I ever really knew what was going on, she was trying to starve herself, she was trying to become addicted to morphling, she started singing??? what? Maybe it was supposed to be like that because she was so crazy, but I wanted more info on what was going on.
2) I wasn't crazy about the epilogue. It was better than Deathly Hallows' epilogue and I was glad that the kids weren't referred to as Prim Rue Mellark and Finnick Cinna Mellark, but I would have rather it just ended with the last page of the story. Because "You love me. Real or not real?" "Real." Slays me every time and it is such a happy wonderful ending.
3) My one theory: that Katniss and Gale's fathers were alive and holed up in 13 forming the rebelling, did not materialize...
Complaints/Comments I've heard/read that I want to defend/vent against:
1)There is too much war, not enough romance/too much violence- I would say that these books send a pretty strong anti-war message (let's NOT sacrifice our children to settle our differences)so the heavy presence of war and violence in the book is a neccessity. I don't feel like the war was presented in a let's be gory for gory's sake way. It was presenting a realistic portrait of how war can be. War is...., you know the saying, and Collins was presenting it in such a way. She wasn't sugarcoating or leaving out important, but potentially unpleasant details.
- While I didn't enjoy seeing Peeta basically brainwashed and tortured, I think it portrayed a side of war that is rarely showcased. How war can devastate and destroy mentally and emotionally just as much as physically. How you can come out of a war as a different person that you went in, without any agreement on your part. How long it can take for someone who has been tortured and faced true evil to recover, to trust again, to love again, to smile, to laugh. I think these are powerful messages, and more of Collin's intent in writing than a love story was. And I certainly appreciate a good love story, and think this was one! Just maybe not as overtly as some may have hoped for.
2)Gale. Now I am in no way Team Gale. I am Team Peeta all the way. But I've read some comments that Gale didn't really love Katniss because he left for District 2 without saying good-bye, he stopped being her best friend, etc. I actually think he was acting in her and his best interests by staying away. What could he say that would make her not hate him, not be suspicious of him her whole life? Nothing. Would it have made her life easier if he stayed around, haunting her life with remembering he might have had an indirect hand in killing Prim? No. Could they have ever been the same kind of friends, or even friends at all given when happened? No. So why should he have hung around? It just would have hurt Katniss in the long run. I think he left without some big awkward good-bye that would have been painful for them both for different reasons and let her be. He wasn't "giving up" on her because he knew they had no future and any role he played in her future would bring pain. A clean break would be less painful for both.
- Also I don't think you can ever really say who loved her more, because I think Gale did what he did because he loved her, whether that means he loved her more than Peeta, I can't say, I don't think anyone can because how can anyone quantify how much love people have for each other, but just because he loved her doesn't mean they should have ended up together...
3) That Katniss was 'indifferent' to her children. I think that she was indifferent when they (at least the girl) was conceived. She was having kids to please Peeta, which is not the right reason to have kids, but... But once they were born "Only the joy of holding her in my arms could tame" her fear, her anxiety, which is totally legit and allowed considering what she's been through. So while she was apprehensive, I believe once they were born she loved them.
Now what I loved:
1) The above line, which I'm going to type again because I love it so so so much. "So after, when he whispers, 'You love me. Real or not real?' I tell him, 'Real.'" ahhhhhh! So amazing, makes me what to cry every time I think about it. Such simple words, but so beautiful! (Honorable Mention goes to: "You're still trying to protect me. Real or not real." "Real, because that's what you and I do. Protect each other." *thump* that was me falling on the floor dead. I <3 Peeta with a passion. He is amazing
2) I loved Peeta's vulnerability in this book. I love him being lost and scared and confused, but finding his way back to a version of himself, back to Katniss, back to love and trust. I think that Peeta had always seemed so indestructible, solid, steady, that this was a very significant character development for him and I loved it. Some people have said that they wanted "the boy with the bread" they came to know and love, but I loved getting to see a new side of him, a pained side, an open side, a side that can see and love Katniss for who she is, seeing him as a complex character, not just a flat, unchanging leading man. This was the first time I think we saw him really vulnerable, when he wasn't acting knowing that a camera was trained on him and how he acted could save his life or Katniss's. When he was declaring his love for her, while he really meant it, his telling his feelings were the means to an end, saving Katniss. He wasn't truly being vulnerable like he was in Mockingjay, when he was laying it all out and trusting even though he really had no reason to.
- I loved the real or not real game (see above two quotes :)I love that Katniss helps him remember all these things about himself. When he had to ask if her favorite color was really green, my heart broke. It really hit home the total disintegration of his trust in himself and his memories. He wasn't even sure he could properly remember something as trivial as Katniss's favorite color, or his own. And I loved when Katniss tried to tell him all the little things about himself to help him remember, like how he takes his tea.
3) I loved Finnick and Annie. I loved that they were reunited, if even just for a little while. That they had a baby!!!
4) I cried my eyes out so many times, but to me that means that I was highly emotionally invested in the book, the characters and the story. If it was poorly written I wouldn't have cared so much. I cried when Finnick died, when we learned that Cinna was dead, when Katniss thought of all the people who died because of her, when Peeta was beaten on(ish) camera, when Peeta tried to kill her, when Prim died, when Peeta hated Katniss, when Peeta and Katniss ended up together, so many times, some happy, some sad.
5) I liked how Haymitch came to love Peeta and Katniss. I loved when Katniss and Haymitch had their first private meeting in the book. When Katniss says, "I can't believe you didn't rescue Peeta." and Haymitch just says, "I know." And then Haymitch says, "I can't believe you let him out of your sight that night." And Katniss just says, "I know." They both know that they are disappointed in the other, but they have to forgive and move on so they can work together. Brilliant.
6)I love the way Suzanne Collins write and the messages her books are sending. Right after I finished reading I wandered here and read the thoughts of a lot of intelligent and thoughtful people about Mockingjay. One thing that really stood out to me was how well they thought Collins portrayed war and how senseless it can be. Some of the quotes that particularly touched me: " 'To murder innocent people?' says Peeta. 'It costs everything you are.'" "Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children's lives to settle its differences." (377). So true
--- I read on the message board that Collins has said that the idea for the Hunger Games was based on her watching footage of the War in Iraq at the same time as watching ridiculous (my word, not hers) reality shows on television. I can see where this connection takes hold in the books.
7)I love that Peeta's rose-colored glasses regarding Katniss came off and he still loved her (I did not come up with this idea, I stole it from someone on a message board.) Throughout the first two books, he loves her without really seeing her flaws. He loves her and she is perfect in his eyes. She can do no wrong. She drugs him, he still loves her. She points a bow at him, ready to kill him when it it announced only one can win the Hunger Games (when he's already dropped his weapon), he still loves her. He doesn't see her or love her for who she truly is, but for who he wants her to be/ who he thinks she is. But after his "hijacking" he is able to see her for what and who she is, initially "Violent. Distrustful. Manipulative. Deadly." And she hates him for it. But after he sees her flaws, he also sees her good qualities. The real ones that she actually possesses: kindness, strength, bravery, love for her family, etc not just the perfection he used to see. And he comes to love her for all that she truly is and that to me is true love and beautiful beyond words.
8) I love that Peeta and Katniss end up together!!!! And that they are happy. I love the cute repeated lines from other books- "Always." and the part about not seeing herself clearly. I love that Peeta, even after he was hijacked, warned 13 about the upcoming attack. I loved that the day after Peeta gave Katniss the bread, he noticed her finding the dandelion, since it was such a drastic and life-changing moment in Katniss's life, it felt so significant and powerful that he noticed and could tell something big had happened. And I love that Katniss later compares him to the dandelion.
9) I love the way the end of the chapters are always amazing cliffhangers that make you never be able to stop reading between chapters. And that I sometimes found myself covering the end page of a chapter with my hand so my eyes didn't accidentally flit over there before the proper time.
As I was reading, I underlined some lines that touched me or I thought were particularly beautiful. Not as many as in some previous books, but I'm sure I'll do more when I'm re-reading and not racing to find out what happens!
- "It's only know that he's been corrupted that I can fully appreciate the real Peeta. Even more than I would've if he'd died. The kindness, the steadiness, the warmth that had an unexpected heat behind it." (195)
- "Peeta and I grow back together...But his arms are there to comfort me. And eventually his lips. On the night I feel that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that." (388) *sigh* I love Peeta.
- and a bunch of other things I've already quoted above.
I guess that's all for now... :)
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Busy Bee Lauren
"You love me. Real or not real." "Real." :D