Friday, 19 June 2015

Book Review: Mockingjay; Suzanne Collins.

I'm giving myself a great big pat on the back for finishing this series, because it took me far too long (though this is a recurring theme for a lot of series that I read). Ahead of the up and coming film release for the second film based on this book alone, I decided I wanted to be ahead of the game and read the conclusion before I watched it.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Mockingjay
AUTHOR: Suzanne Collins
SERIES: The Hunger Games (#3)
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
PAGES: 438
GENRE: Dystopian, Young Adult, Action, Romance

RATING: 4/5 Stars

Blurb:
Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But she's still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans - everyone except Katniss.

And yet she must play the most vital part in the final battle. Katniss must become their Mockingjay - the symbol of rebellion - no matter what the personal cost.


What I Liked:
  • The second half of this book absolutely blew me away. It was action-packed, gripping and at times gasp-out-loud horrifying. There were a fair few plot-twists that I wasn't expecting either which really added to the drama and shock of it all. I wasn't really expecting them to happen, so when the did, I felt completely taken aback and very overly-emotional.
  • I felt like Collins really showed off her writing skills in this one. It definitely had a much more mature feel to it, and I loved reading into some of the political symbolism and commentary on human behaviour that she subtly threw in to keep things interesting. This final instalment really impressed me because it felt like much more of a look at the bigger picture, not just Katniss' story. Panem felt like a much bigger place, and I loved the way that she wrote District 13. Military, organized and yet with small echoes of similarity to the Capitol in it's need for control on all aspects of the Residents lives.
What I Disliked:
  • Despite a spectacular finish, the first half of the book really did it no favours. It didn't really feel like anything was actually happening, just a lot of decision-making and negotiating. Katniss did a fair amount of thinking during this portion of the story, and I felt that while she needed some time to reflect on her situation, her constant re-evaluation of it all got a bit tedious. In fact, she became a little whiny. On top of that, I found it hard to connect with or like the other characters surrounding her (Coin, Plutarch, etc.) and her tempestuous relationship with Gale frustrated me.
Overall Conclusion:
Though there was never a point that I could say I was outright bored with the story, the pace for the first half was excruciatingly slowly. There were a few minor twists to keep things moving but I didn't like the characters (bar Prim, who's massively grown up and showed a lot of development) and I found Katniss' thoughts and actions a little repetitive and predictable. The second half of the book really got to me on a level that I didn't expect, and more than made up for the lacklustre start with a heart-pounding, emotional ending. I can see why there are so many mixed responses to this book but in the end, the writing was consistently good throughout and the slow plot sped up into such a great finale that I couldn't not give it a high rating.