Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: Mockingjay

So rarely is there any trilogy in which the books get better as the series goes on.  Usually trilogies tend to become boring, redundant, and drawn out past the point of being able to detect any trace of entertainment.  That being said, Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games trilogy is one of the most entertaining trilogies I have ever read.  Not only did it keep me up at night, turning page after page because I could not rest until my inquiries were resolved, it also made me ponder social issues, political beliefs, and the concept of human morality.

All of these themes come to a head in Mockingjay, the third book of the trilogy.  The rebellion has begun, Katniss is being asked to be the rebels' symbol, Peeta has been captured by the capitol, and the reader is led on a winding and twisting adventure of a young person coming to understand who she is and what is really most important in life.  This is a struggle that everyone can identify with on some level, although not everyone (hopefully) has gone through what Katniss has faced.

Admittedly, I did not like Katniss for 99% of the trilogy.  I have always thought she was a brilliant character in that her personality and development are masterfully portrayed throughout the series.  However, I always found her to be selfish, cold, distant, and cruel.  She, of course, has been through a great deal of tribulation, but I could not help but dislike her because she could not admit her flaws to herself.  It was always her against the world, a world that included everyone from the government to her own family at times.  In Mockingjay, she finally is able to admit that she needs help from others, that she has hurt people in ways that she never thought possible, and that she needs to change.  I feel like I could finally like her at the end.

The plot of this third book is not much different than the others.  There is no Hunger Games, but Collins portrays the war as a Hunger Games in and of itself.  The result is a fairly humanitarian view of war.  Mockingjay is also anti-Machiavellian, in that Collins makes it clear that she does not believe that the end justifies the means.  She also portrays the horrors and psychological affects of war in such masterful reality that the reader cannot help but feel sorry for anyone who has had to be in war.

I could go on forever about the positive aspects of this book, the depth of the characters, and the complexity of the themes.  However, such a post would turn out to be another book in and of itself.   

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