Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Book Shelf: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains - except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost.

(Blurb from Goodreads....)

Review: (Warning, contains some spoilers!)

Mockingjay marks the end of The Hunger Games series and Collins doesn’t disappoint with her heart-wrenching, action packed ending!

It’s taken me a while to get my head around this book. I recently finished it and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there were parts that broke my heart and shattered my soul but at the end of the day I feel like Suzanne Collins wrote it right. While I have no doubt there are people out there who will disagree with me, I honestly feel that for Collins to have written this book any other way would have been a betrayal to the series.

Before I go into the rest of my review, there’s something I need to say. The Hunger Games series houses a dark, harsh world filled with pain and torment. Collins has made this clear from the very beginning and in this book she truly backs up her claims. You can’t have a dystopian world of that magnitude where people suffer so much and not show it. Suzanne Collins was brave enough and daring enough to show the loss, however heartbreaking, that her characters faced and went through. She didn’t sugar-coat it. It was agonizing and it was painful, but it was REAL. She showed the necessary evils of war in a way that was undeniable and that you couldn’t hide from. Nothing was glossed over with the pain and the deaths of the characters depicted exactly how I think they should have been. Ordinarily endings that aren’t extremely happy annoy me, as I feel cheated, but here I feel like nothing else would have been enough to truly strengthen the events of this series. Was I heartbroken to see characters I’d come to love loose their lives? Of course! Did I hate seeing Peeta and Katniss become shadows of the people they’d once been? Good lord, yes! But was it the right thing for Suzanne Collins to show after everything that has happened in this series? Absolutely!

I feel ripped and raw after reading this book. If ever a book managed to tear my heart into a million pieces it’s this one. This was a never ending ride of torment. Loss, pain, betrayal....they were all themes within this book that you couldn’t hide from. So many things seemed senseless and meaningless, from the deaths of certain characters to the decisions and actions of others. It was heart-breaking. Collins made me feel. And feel it all! She didn’t let me read an action packed, war story with a happy, Hollywood ending. Instead she forced me to read a book that was so emotional, despite it’s YA Fiction status, that every moment engraved itself in my heart. I should hate her for this....but I don’t. And here’s why....I think she was true to the human spirit. There’s only so much a person can take before they begin to fray and break and in this series Collins wrote Katniss in such a way that true to this.

Katniss Everdeen is one of the strongest heroines out there....even though she’s a shadow of who she was by the end of this book. It’s understandable that she crumbled. No one can expect to go through so much and not be left scarred, both physically and mentally. Katniss’s character is perfect in my eyes. She’s real and she’s believable and fits perfectly within the story. She was strong when it counted despite her pain and even though she’ll never be the person she once was I think she still managed to accomplish exactly what mattered. Oh, my heart bleeds for her. She’ll never be able to completely let go of the past, nor will Peeta, but I think in the end Collins wrote this perfectly too.

I was marginally surprised with the way the “love triangle” between Katniss, Peeta and Gale was resolved. In fact I feel slightly cheated. I expected there to be a bit more fight, more indecision, instead Gale just more or less walked out of Katniss’s life. I still agree that had things been different, Katniss still would have found her way back to Peeta, he was just the one she was meant to be with, but I would have like a deeper, more meaningful resolve between the three of them. However, in the end I think Katniss is right to be with Peeta. They’re very different people, and considering how much they’re both irreversibly altered after the events of this book, I still feel like they balance one another out. They’re able to understand each others pain and heal one another. I don’t think Gale would have ever been able to do that for Katniss. As Collins put it....she needed Peeta.

And yet despite the anguish and devastation left over at the end of this book, Collins leaves this series with little rays of hope. In the form of friendships that remained despite everything. In the face of a baby, born to a character loved and then lost. In the relationship between Katniss and Peeta that manages to go on despite both their pain and in the family and life they share.

Suzanne Collins ends this series on the biggest of highs and biggest of lows, leaving me as the reader feeling both devastated and fulfilled. Overall I’m happy with how the series ended, and sad to see it go, but I’m comforted knowing that every event, every moment of pain, all led to a world different than the one that started out, and even though it breaks my heart to say it, I think everything Collins wrote was necessary. And I wouldn’t change a single word of it!

Source: I bought.
Format: Paperback
Recommend: Yes!
Recommend borrow or buy: Buy--this is a series you need to own.
Cover: This is my favorite of the Aussie Scolastic covers for the series, but again, it's not really that nice :/
Read sequel/continue with series: This is the last book in the series, but I'd love to see more by Suzanne Collins!

Buy it here:

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


  1. *salutes* Awesome review, Rachel! As always. I totally agree with you in regards to the love triangle. I really felt cheated. While I agree with how things ended and whom Katniss chooses, but the Gale thing (one of my favourite characters of the series) . . . I felt his story wasn't complete. He just walked out and never came back. Since I was a big fan of him, that was disappointing but with everything else? Brilliant!

    1. Thanks Erin :) See, I liked Gale, but there was never a moment where I loved him. I just don't feel like we got to know him anywhere near enough. For me anyway. Would have loved to have seen more about him.....and have had more resolution. YES! He just walked away and that was it. There was no real goodbye scene or a moment when Katniss stopped and chose. And I found I wanted that. Gale was just gone and that was that.

  2. YAY Rachel!!! I am so glad you've finished the whole trilogy!!!

    16 days countdown to the movie!

    I wasn't a big fan of Gale so I didn't really mind him. I'm so glad though that Katniss chooses Peeta in the end because my heart would really break if she ends up choosing Gale!

    Anyway, FANTABULOUS review, Rachel!

    Welcome to the club! ;)

    1. Me too! Wished I'd read it sooner, but with the movie coming up, I'm glad I don't need to re-read. It's nice and fresh in my mind!

      YES!! So, so close. Cannot wait!

      Ditto. I think I would have been devastated if Katniss didn't end up with Peeta, I really do.

      Awww, thanks hon <3

      LOL! Thank-you Celine. Pleasure to be in it!!

  3. Thanks Erin :) See, I liked Gale, but there was never a moment where I loved him. I just don't feel like we got to know him anywhere near enough. For me anyway. Would have loved to have seen more about him.....and have had more resolution. YES! He just walked away and that was it. There was no really goodbye scene or a moment when Katniss stopped and chose. Gale was just gone and that was that.

    1. Just ignore this people. Stupid computer won't let me delete it :S

  4. Oh this such a great review Rach. Exactly what the words out of my mouth would be like. The love triangle however for me was nothing I set my eyes on. I accepted Gale for moving on knowing that Katniss has had this close length of time with Peeta and she has basically made her decision.

    Really hope Suzanne Collins writes a new book. But with the success of these books I doubt she really needs to, or is in a rush to do so.

    1. Thanks B! :) I had my eyes on the love triangle simply cos I'm a lover of romance and always tend to pay attention to them. As I've said before cos I never really saw Gale as much of a contender there was no real choice in mind, but I still would have loved a more powerful resolution.

  5. I completely agree with you on the whole triangle thing. Gale, in my eyes, is not a character who would just walk away. I also hated that he was turned into some kind of war mongerer and ended up responsible for what happened to Prim. It was too easy.

    The rest, I don't agree with :P. throughout the whole series we're asked to follow Katniss and trust in this really cool character and then, suddenly, she's nothing. She's frustrating and weak and spending half the book in hospital. I seriously got the feeling that by the end of the book, Katniss would have chosen either guy depending on who walked through her door first. Now this doesn't mean I was looking for a Hollywood, cookie-cutter ending because I really like endings that a realistic. But I think this book completely generalizes what happens 'after a war'. There's grief, there's nightmares, but not one person would talk about becoming an 'empty shell' because even while the outside may not portray much, every day they're back in the fight and their minds take them somewhere no one can understand. By the end of the book I couldn't stand being inside Katniss's head because it just felt too shallow to me. Also, I never really felt the whole romance with Peeta. (But when I reread - I promise to try!)

    And don't even get me started on how frustrating Finnick's end was. Out of all the characters in the story he was my favourite; maybe I had it in for Collins from that point onwards lol.

    I'm glad you ended up liking Mockinjay Rachel :)

    1. See, I didn't see that from Gale either. He and Katniss had been friends for a long time and for someone who seemed to love her it seemed strange that he'd just walk away. Where was the end scene where they laid things bare and Katniss made a CHOICE. I wanted that closure.

      Haha. I definitely see where you're coming from Heather. I think how you take this book really depends on who you are and what your tastes are. I defiantly see why there's so much debate about it. Like you mentioned before it's a book you either love or hate.
      LOL. I don't think you'll ever be a Peeta gal. Stick with Gale. You love him and that's all that matters! <3

      I was really saddened by Finnicks death. He was one of my fave characters and I hated that he died how he did. I think I was more sad for him than I was for Prim :(

      Thanks hon! xx

  6. Aw geez. You're making me teary reading your review, Rachel!! Absolute perfection, you totally mirror my thoughts, although I was okay with how the love triangle ended. As devastating as Gale's part in Mockingjay was =\

    And oh my god... Finnick. Finnick. FINNICK. Oh he tore at my heart so badly, but like you said, these moments were necessary. It's war. And with war comes unnecessarily tragedy. And loss. And moments you don't want to read, but Suzanne Collins glues your eyes to every single word, you CAN'T turn away.

    Sigh. You're making me want to go reread this and have my heart mangled all over again.... thanks haha. Amazing review!

    1. Aw, thanks Brods. Glad you liked my review--it was hard to coherently put into words my thoughts, lol. They were a jumbled mess for a while ;)

      *wails* I was devastated with Finnick's death. It broke my heart. I wasn't expecting it and I hated that Collins made me feel all that emotion. It was almost mean.

      You're welcome ;) Think of me while my hearts mangled, hehe! And thanks :) <3

  7. RACHEL! "At the end of the day I feel like Suzanne Collins wrote it right." YES YES AND YES! I've seen a lot of peopel complain about the book, and about the ending, and about who... you know, dies, and who Katniss chooses, but I think it happened how it needed to happen. Seriously. It was a rebellion, an uprising, a war. People die in wars. It's inevitable, and if everyone had have survived Mockingjay, it wouldn't have been true to the story...

    "You can’t have a dystopian world of that magnitude where people suffer so much and not show it... It was agonizing and it was painful, but it was REAL... here I feel like nothing else would have been enough to truly strengthen the events of this series."

    Oh, I have CHILLS. You've summed this up perfectly. PERFECTLY. I'm not gonna try review this book, ever, because I possibly do it half as well as you have here... and what you've said about Katniss! "She’s a shadow of who she was by the end of this book. It’s understandable that she crumbled. No one can expect to go through so much and not be left scarred, both physically and mentally." This is just... YES. And it's HEARTBREAKING.. She started out as the strongest, bravest, most perfect YA protagonist, and by the end of the series she's a... well, a crumbled shell. It's heartbreaking, she's broken, she's not half the girl she used to be... normally we see this in reverse... but Katniss is destroyed by the end of the THG series... but... hmmm... I think maybe she's almost more. All of the unecessary layers have been peeled away, and now she just is. What's left is raw and bloody, but Katniss at her core... distilled, sort of? Hmm...

    Oh, but I HAVE to agree with you about the love triangle. It broke my heart... oh goodness *shudders* the bomb... Gale... Gale designed it *curls into ball and rocks in the corner* *sobs* Gale. How could you :'(
    It kind of seemed... I don't know, a bit too easy? Like, Collins just made it easy... but you knwo, at the end of the day, we were talking about how Mockingjay is real and right, and I wonder if it's not true to human behaviour. Most guys wouldn't stand by and wait, have their feelings thrown back in their face while a girl hangs onto indecision.

    Aw, shit. Now I'm remembering all the bits of Mockingjay I'd blocked from my memory. District 13. The bitch-ass boss... them pushing Katniss away... heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak :'(

    I'm not kidding, Rachel, I have CHILLS. "everything Collins wrote was necessary."

    Your review... it's... it's PERFECT ♥
    *wipes tears away* Also, I think you've just convinced me not to re-read! haha! I don't think I could cope with the heartbreak at the moment.

    1. Uh... was that 'comment'/essay overkill? :S
      Eeek... I'm sorry!

    2. Aww, Sarah <3 You're always so incredibly enthusiastic about my reviews, lol. Thank-you.

      I've definitely seen a lot of people complain about this book. A lot of people I love and whose opinions I thoroughly respect. To be honest I think it could have gone either way with me, but in the end I truly like how Collins wrote it. Anything else wouldn't have been right.

      I'd love to see you review Mockingjay Sarah! You write incredible reviews and I think you'd write an amazing one that would do the book perfect justice. Seriously! I think Collins went against the mold with Katniss's evolution. As you said usually we see the heroine become stronger by the end of the series but here we have the reverse. I think it was an incredibly brave thing for Collins to write. Clearly it has caused it's fair share of debate.

      I thought that was devastating too. Gale would have to live with that for the rest of his life and I doubt Katniss could have ever have forgiven him.

      LOL! I'm glad you loved my review Sarah--means a lot. I was so confused when I started writing it. I had no idea how to say what I wanted to put across at first.

    3. Oh and I love your essay long comments--they're awesome to read! <3

  8. Just trolling the web for MJ reviews When I came across and I have to say this is a really good review Rachel. One of the better one's I've read.

    I must admit though, I disagree with a lot of what you said :). I thought Mockingjay was terrible from start to finish.

    I don't think Ms Collins got MJ right at all. The story was just too big to fit into one book. The book was just to rushed. Not enough time was given to explain or make things clear. We had to read between the lines too much. She was on a deadline/page count and it shows. Katniss's POV really hurt this book as well as too much is taking place 'off screen', unlike in the other books.

    I also couldn't take the heavy-handed 'war is bad' message. I know war is bad, I don't need to be clubbed over the head to get the message. There is also no distinction between war for war's sake and war for freedom.

    As for the love-triangle. I think that Katniss should not have been with Peeta. It should have been Gale or no one. Maybe it's because I'm male that I have a different perspective. I don't want to get into it to much (I could go on for while if I let loose) but I think people forget about certain aspects of Peeta and how their relationship basically came to be. I felt that Katniss saw Peeta as a surrogate for Prim, someone that she needed to take care of and Peeta saw Katniss as this 'perfection' that needed protection. With Katniss and Gale, I saw two people that treated each other equal and could be themselves around each other - what I feel is the basis for strong, long lasting relationship. There a couple of things Katniss says or does after the bomb and after Gale is gone that makes me think it was him that she really wanted. Alright, enough about this though - like I said, I could go on for a long time

    A few other problems I had...
    - Katniss never has to kill someone that isn't the 'bad guy'. She should have been faced with the moral dilema of killing someone that didn't deserve it (but I guess that's a critisism of the overall trilogy)
    - Katniss is hell bent on finding out the truth about the bomb but then just gives up when Haymitch teases her?
    - Katniss just believes Snow because he says they never lie to each other? This would have been effective if at some point before, we saw Snow tell Katniss the truth when it would have benefitted him to lie.
    - Killing of secondary characters isn't 'ballsy'. One of the big three or someone like Haymitch should have been killed.
    - The whole 'Gale's bomb' plot device. That was just a cheap and very heavy handed. It forced Katniss out of a choice. I saw this as just another way that Ms Collins chose to put her message over what was best for her characters and for her readers.
    - I also don't like how everyone (I mean readers) is okay with Katniss getting her team killed going after Snow and how it's okay for her to be judge, jury and executioner of Coin. Both of these things were done for revenge. But somehow Gale is the 'bad guy' because of his way of thinking about the rebellion. Sure, Gale had some personal reasons for wanting to destroy the capitol, but overall he wanted freedom for all the people of Panem. Failure was not an option and his way of thinking reflected the harsh realities of what needed done to win but he still gets villified in a lot of circles. Let's not forget that if the capitol stays in power, everyone is dead or even worse, Peeta and Katniss are probably forced into prosititution while every one they care about is killed. (Sorry for the little rant there - I just think Gale gets a bad rap).

    Wow, this went longer than I had planned. Sorry! Other than THG, it looks like were into different types of books so I don't know if I'll be back. But you do have a good site here and you do write well articulated reviews. Keep it up.

    1. Hi Rick!

      Thanks for stopping by and for your compliments :)
      I think this is the kind of book everyone takes differently depending on your life experiences, morals, age etc. There's so many various opinions of it overall and about certain aspects. I definitely see where you're coming from--I think there's a lot to considering when thinking about this book. And while he's not my fave person, I think Gale get's a bad rep too.

      Haha! That's alright. Believe me, we can all ramble and talk when we feel strongly about this. Again, thanks for stopping by regardless if you return--it's great to see different people visiting me. Take care x


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