Friday, November 12, 2010
I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood. Over there was the kitchen table. The bricks of the chimney, which collapsed in a charred heap, provide a point of reference for the rest of the house. How else could I orient myself in this sea of gray? Almost nothing remains of District 12.
Mockingjay concludes Suzanne Collins' trilogy. Book one: The Hunger Games. Book two: Catching Fire. Katniss, our reluctant heroine, is as strong as ever. As weak as ever too. For Katniss has been tortured by the mind games of those around her. From President Snow to President Coin. If you've not read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire--but you intend to at some point--then don't read this review!
Katniss has made it through her second Hunger Games--just barely. She was "rescued" just in time. Unfortunately, Peeta, her on-screen romance was not. While Katniss is trying to adapt to her new home in District Thirteen, while Katniss is trying to decide whether or not to become the rebellion's "Mockingjay", he is President Snow's prisoner. And knowing that Peeta is in danger--that he is being tortured--is torture for her.
Is Katniss's reunion with Gale a good thing? You be the judge of that. He does bring out Katniss's anger, her aggression. And not always in the right way. For Katniss finds him infuriating to be around at times. Does Gale make a good soldier for the rebellion? Definitely. But just because he's in favor with the rebellion, with President Coin, doesn't mean that he's a good friend--a good partner--for Katniss.
Katniss is still trying to find herself. She's still having people try to shape her, mold her, conform her, define her, limit her. In many ways, President Coin is just as bad as President Snow in trying to "make" Katniss into something she's not. Coin wants her to be "the face" of the war. In a very artificial way--at least at first. Under the circumstances, Katniss has never had the time--the opportunity--to decide anything for herself. She's forced into everything--either directly or indirectly. Is it any wonder she's so confused? (But Katniss does get her moment in Mockingjay.)
Mockingjay is very much focused on war and politics. And with both sides so committed to war, to destruction, to "winning" it shouldn't be much of a surprise that this one is so violent, so bloody, so ugly.
I liked this one. I thought it was compelling--very intense. It is an emotional book--the subject matter makes it so.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews