Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Book #88 The Hunger Games : Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games : Mockingjay

WARNING : This review may contain spoilers of the previous two Hunger Games novels

Following her unexpected exit from the Allstars Hunger Games arena, Katniss Everdeen finds herself a resident of District 13, a district widely believed to have been destroyed many years before. She comes under intense pressure to become "the Mockingjay" the public face of the rapidly gathering rebellion, but after agreeing, discovers deceptions, ulterior motives and dangers from unexpected sources.

Mockingjay is very different from the previous novels and was less compelling for me in it's opening third. District 13 has to be established as a new society in addition to the continuing rebellion, its a bit slow, and then later, a lot of warfare segments which I'm not a great fan of anyway. What is clever about the depiction of the District 13 rebellion is its emphasis on propaganda, war is less about action and more about persuasion, hearts and minds. I thought this was a really interesting and important message to give young readers to think about. When watching media coverage think about agenda, think about manipulation, think that those purporting to be "right" may not always be what they seem. I liked it.

Where I am more critical however is with some slightly dodgy plotting on a number of occasions in order to get Katniss into the necessary position for the next event. Its weak, its like some of the highly unconvincing plotting that occurs in those awful Disney TV series, Katniss wants something, it looks impossible, she's told its impossible, but somehow it all turns out exactly as she wanted. Sigh.

The Gale/Peeta dilemma interests me as a writer because I actually think that Collins herself couldn't decide what to do with this decision, she doesn't choose the easy way of eliminating the choice, but it is done in a quite lame, anti-climax way. I decided that she really regretted the strength of the origins of one of them and didn't know what to do with him, and even the end resolution for the couple who do become the item, though the right choice, feels unromantic and halfhearted.  

Although, the "fault on both sides" take on war was well done. President Snow still fails to be at all threatening or scary. The pinnacle of Katniss's  desires is to be the one to assassinate Snow and yet, he's only really in two scenes. He just doesn't cut as a bad guy, even with Finnick's testimony to add weight to his crimes.

Still.....very readable, if rather flawed and the trilogy as a whole is massively enjoyable 7/10 

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