What I need is the dandelion in the spring-A Review of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve come to the end of this trilogy and I honestly thought I wouldn’t like it. As I said in my other reviews—it took a little bit of work on my part to get used to the first person perspective but the lack of knowing what others were thinking was less taunting in books two and three. I like that the books made me think about who was good and who was bad and perhaps that both sides had issues they needed to clear up before their future could become better.

In my review below I’m also going to explain why I thought this book was a five-star book when a lot of my friends were disgruntled with the ending. I will address those issues and hopefully some of my readers who have expressed their thoughts to me will be able to see it from a different perspective now. We’re all entitled to have our opinions and we should all rate honestly but I thought this would allow me a bit of a chance to connect with those of you that have expressed certain feelings about this last book.

Katniss has agreed to be the Mockingjay for the rebellion and is now living in District 13. I had mixed feelings about District 13—well, obviously we were meant to. Coin oozed of corruption from the minute I read about the conditions in the District. Much of the conditions are a necessity but the rest—something just didn’t sit well in my mind with that character and I think the extent of her corruption and power-lust only becomes more evident towards the end. I’ll not mention “the situation” with Prim since some of you may have not read the story yet but I felt that little mishap was the very pinnacle of her power trip. About said situation—some of the comments from friends and fellow readers is that it was unnecessary and cruel. Cruel? Oh yes, I’d agree with that one. Unnecessary? Not by a long shot. It was an integral part of the story that tipped the scales for Katniss. Without it the ending would have been every bit as bleak as the content matter of the story. Book four would have found us right back at The Hunger Games. I thought it was the only way to turn the tides and open the eyes of Katniss.

The second complaint that I’ve heard is about Katniss ending up with Peeta (I didn’t figure this was much of a spoiler) and I’m honestly just shocked when I hear people pull the team Gale card. Sure, he was Katniss’ friend. She loved him even. She could have been with him but Gale was too much like Katniss. Only Katniss chose to do things on a "need to" basis only—Gale ran in with guns blazing. She needed a soft place to land. Peeta offered that mental cushion for Katniss in a way that Gale couldn't. Had she ended up with Gale her PTSD would be more than she could have handled. Gale was right, when he said that Katniss would choose the one that would insure her survival. She could handle herself physically—no, she didn’t need physical protection. She needed to survive the mental onslaught that she would be forced to live with for the rest of her life. So—that’s it, my thoughts on some of the biggest complaints my friends have provided me.

As for the rest of the story, most of it revolved around the war effort and it honestly wasn’t a pretty thing—war never is! There was some funny moments with Finnick that really made me laugh and I really kept pulling for him and Annie through the entire ordeal. Aside from the wedding though—there wasn’t a lot to celebrate in this story. It was fairly bleak. Which then brings to the matter of the ending—I thought it was fantastic. It was realistic but bittersweet. For those that wanted a beautiful ending without any emotional consequences of war—I have to ask, could you go to an arena, kill people that you don’t even want to kill—lose people you care about and then live through the horrors that this young woman lived through and not display any sort of emotional trauma? I think not. Katniss and Peeta both likely suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder—the nightmares and anxiety—normal considering all they have endured. The important thing is that they found love and freedom to make their world a better place for their children. I’m rather glad that Katniss found her dandelion. I really can’t say it any better than Katniss herself

“I know what I need to survive isn't Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hate, but what I need is the dandelion in the spring. The promise of life instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on no matter how bad our losses. And only Peeta can give me that.”

In the end Katniss plays the repetitive game to know what is "real" and reminds herself that there are far worse games to play. She is musing and her worries are about to what extent will her children know of her involvement in the war and in the games. Not her fear of them in the games themselves. There was an unwritten worry of what her children must think of her. YES they learn about the games and the war but will they understand her? That is what I read into the ending that made me connect with Katniss as I too am a mother and I worry about what my children will think about choices I have made in my life.

With that—I am done reading this trilogy and I would like to thank my daughter, my nieces and my husband for encouraging me to read a series I really struggled to pick up and I hope that my review encourages some of you that have been on the fence about reading to go ahead and pick the series up for yourself! Thank you for reading and may the odds be ever in your favor!
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Since 1991, Suzanne Collins has been busy writing for children’s television. She has worked on the staffs of several Nickelodeon shows, including the Emmy-nominated hit Clarissa Explains it All and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. For preschool viewers, she penned multiple stories for the Emmy-nominated Little Bear and Oswald. She also co-wrote the critically acclaimed Rankin/Bass Christmas special, Santa, Baby! Most recently she was the Head Writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days. The books she is most successful for in teenage eyes are the Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. These books have won several awards, including the GA Peach Award.

You can find out more about this author by visiting her website at http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/

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