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Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.

Currently reading

One Hundred Years of Solitude (Audio)
Gabriel García Márquez, John Lee

Being the Mockingjay

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) - Carolyn McCormick, Suzanne  Collins

Katniss never tried to fashion herself into a symbol of resistance against the repressive regime of President Snow and the Capitol, but unwittingly, that is what she's become.  Secreted away in the underground structures of the District 13 she had been taught to believe had been destroyed 75 years before, she faces the prospect of consciously affecting the persona of the Mockingjay that has become associated with her.  Meanwhile, Peeta is being held somewhere in the Capitol, being subjected to unknown horrors while being used as a an anti-rebellion spokesperson.


I went into this final installment of the trilogy knowing that there are many readers who absolutely HATE this book.  I've generally tried to stay spoiler-free, but there were certain details I had picked up inadvertently.  I wanted to avoid being influenced by other readers' opinions, so I haven't read anyone else's review.  While I'd rank this one lowest of the three books, I didn't hate it (as evidenced by my three-star = "good" rating).  There were parts of this book that felt kind of drawn out, like those that generally established "life in District 13" and some of the training, while other parts--notably in the second half--felt decidedly rushed.  When I got to chapter 25 and realized just how close I was to the end, I had a feeling of "there is still way too much that still needs to happen before this book can end!"  I also felt a bit cheated in moments where a big, climactic event would happen, Katniss would be knocked out in a violent way, and then next thing we know, she is waking up in the hospital, having plot points summed up for her.


I kind of feel as though this book could have used one more rewrite--and perhaps division into two parts, as the filmmakers have done.  Gale plays a more prominent role in this installment, and I can't help wondering if an editor might have given Collins a note suggesting she "make the readers care [more] about Gale."  In the previous books, he came across to me as little more than a cardboard cutout included to force an obiligatory-to-certain-YA-genres love triangle.  At best, he struck me as a "male Katniss," growing up a tough guy on the Seam and becoming a hunter to support a fatherless family.  He does become a more fleshed-out character, but I do wish Collins had resisted the "love triangle" formula altogether.  As it is, I do appreciate that she did, in certain ways, subvert it.  Katniss gives the impression that she has no time or desire for a romantic relationship, considering the conditions she is facing.  I wish more YA novels would have characters recognize that, instead of having them duck out of combat for sexytimes with their designated love interests.


Poor Peeta is kept off-stage (though on-screen via "Capitol" broadcasts) for much of the narrative, and his reintroduction to the reader as well as to Katniss would be something I'd want expanded in a rewrite.  While I would avoid the silliness of a "Team Peeta" vs. "Team Gale" brawl, the series did show Peeta as the kind, nurturing type that provides a balance to Katniss's qualities.


In my reviews for the previous two books, I mentioned my reactions to the hunting from the standpoint of being a vegan.  As previously discussed, I see a sharp distinction between when Katniss's hunting was her way of keeping her family from starving and when she just did it because that's what she does (in Catching Fire, when being a victor made her very wealthy).  Similarly, in Mockingjay, she makes one of her conditions for agreeing to be the "Mockingjay" and face of the District-13 led rebellion that she and Gale be allowed to come to the surface and go hunting.  Not because there is any need (everyone has enough to eat), but because hunting is what makes her feel like herself.  While I mostly find Katniss a sympathetic character, her callousness about animals feels like a major flaw to me.  This also extends to her animosity with Prim's cat Butterscotch.  That feels over-the-top to me.


Side note:  Reading this trilogy inspired me to rewatch the first two movies (yes, I'd watched them before reading the books) and also (for the first time) watching Mockingjay, Part I.  This is a random observation, but I found it really annoying that Mags does not speak in the Catching Fire adaptation.  There was never any indication that the character is a mute, and as far as I know, the actress is capable of speech.  What the heck was that?