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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review:Mockingjay

Premise:Hunger Games victor Katniss Everdeen is pushed to her limit during the revolution where she is used for rebel propaganda.

Author:Suzanne Collins

Genres:Sci-fi, war, action

Notes:The final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Cover taken from the official website and belongs to Scholastic.

Pros:Addresses the characters' post-traumatic stress. Some of the characters like Finnick. The ending.

Cons:The rebellion is hard to sympathize with. The love triangle.

She won the first Hunger Games, and managed to keep her lover alive during it. She escaped the Capitol when they forced her to return to the arena. She is a symbol of hope for everyone sick of this tyranny. But that doesn't mean she's fine.

When a person has been through two events that forced her to kill or die, she's going to be a little messed up. And that's not even getting into everything that happened on the victory tour. Katniss is definitely feeling guilty about all the death and suffering that she directly or indirectly caused. And she's tired of the cruelty of those around her, of being lied to and manipulated by everyone. So there is lots of angst, but it's the kind of angst that needs to be there. So to everyone giving Katniss crap for that, cut her some slack.

It can be hard to care whether or not the rebellion wins because they're ultimately not too different from the Capitol. Yeah, I understand that war is hell. But some of the stuff they do still crosses a line. And in the meantime, a lot of previously good or at least decent characters end up doing some questionable things or forcing other people to do such things just to advance their agenda. Oh, and if you're a fan of Gale, you probably won't like what happens with him.

Speaking of Gale, the love triangle continues into this book. Honestly, I could tolerate it in Catching Fire because Katniss had just gotten to be with Peeta and Gale didn't know how to handle that. But now it's just irritating because they're trying to figure out whether they're just platonic friends or not while Peeta's busy being tortured. Whether you're on Team Gale or Team Peeta, things get tense (I won't spoil the ending).

Be warned that a lot of people (including a few major characters) die here. And it's usually something graphic or disturbing. By the end, Katniss might not be the only one angsting over all that death.

Overall, while it works as an ending to the series, it's the worst book in the trilogy and disturbing even compared to the last books. Consider that before reading it.

Sex:A man derisively says District 13 needs him and other survivors as breeding stock following a large die-off. Finnick is called a sex symbol and handsome. A character reveals that Snow would force desirable victors into prostitution or kill their families. He also states that he learned about some strange fetishes certain people had, as well as incestuous relationships. Katniss reports she's getting her friendship with Gale back, no romance involved. Until he starts talking about waiting for an answer and they kiss. The rebels discuss whether he or Peeta should be presented as her lover.
Katniss tells Finnick to put on some pants; he then takes off his hospital gown (he's wearing underwear) and asks if she finds it distracting. She jokes back she's only human. Gale gets jealous when he thinks there might be something going on between the two. Katniss lets Gale kiss her so she won't feel so lonely. She thinks for all she knew, he could have been kissing girls left and right back in 12. Someone asks if Katniss enjoyed kissing Peeta or Gale. There's also discussion of which one she'll ultimately choose. Johanna flirts with Gale and nudges him with her hip. Someone makes a remark about stealing Annie from Finnick.

Violence:Plenty of war violence and lots of talk about killing people for revenge. A boy is beaten bloody on television. Finnick has short-term memory issues from an electric shock. A boy tries to strangle a girl. People pick up injuries like broken noses, burns, wildly-flaking skin, and gashes. Limbs are blown off. A boy is found with a hole in his cheek. It's mentioned a man poisoned his opponents, but ending up drinking the same stuff and bleeding from his mouth.
A song about execution and suicide is sung, with it being explained line by line. Katniss gets a concussion. She imagines Peeta being tortured in the Capitol and remembers deaths from the Games. She also remembers one of her friends being beaten and dragged off to be tortured and killed. Mention is made of Beetee electrocuting his opponents when he won the Games. Two women are shot in the heart. It's reported that a suspected rebel was beaten to death by a crowd.
Tracker jacker venom, electricity, amputation, and beatings are all used to torture people. People are blown up and shot, including children. A man is ripped apart by lizard-like creatures. This same creatures tear peoples' heads off. Various places are bombed, with ashes and corpses spread about. A trio of characters is found after they've been tortured. Snow has people executed on live TV. A woman thinks of how she'll commit suicide. A weapon used to kill people causes them to bleed from various orifices.

Language/Insults:One use of "h*ll". Colorful profanity is said to be shouted at Katniss.

Drugs/Alcohol:Katniss is given drugs for her physical and psychological problems. According to her, the medication gives her hallucinations and they're weaning her off the drugs. They also check her at one point to make sure she doesn't have any drugs in her system so they don't end up killing her by mixing them.
Drinking alcohol is forbidden in 13 (even the rubbing alcohol is locked up), forcing Haymitch into sobriety. At one point, he still manages to get drunk. Katniss is dismissive when he says he can't face his destroyed home without a bottle, but later starts to empathize.
A poison pill is distributed among soldiers in case they get captured. Various people are sedated. Patients are giving a morphine-like drug, and Katniss finds out someone has been stealing hers. She thinks being addicted to it wouldn't be such a terrible way to die. Withdrawal is mentioned.

Spiritual:Nothing I can recall.

So how did you like it?

© 2014 by M.R.R.

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