Monday, May 26, 2014

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic (2010)

I'm pretty sure I'm continuing with these reviews because I am IN LOVE with the covers. Cannot rave enough about how much I love these simple, elegant covers.

Anyway, finished up this trilogy and I remain conflicted. There is so much I like about the trilogy and so much that just irks me no end because it could have been better. This could have been an out of the park kind of story but because of a few things that, to me, seemed like laziness the trilogy ends up being a stunning hook with meh execution. Thankfully, this third installment didn't have any new issues, just more of the same (though not, thank goodness, more of the same in terms of plot. two was a rerun of one but this is definitely a step forward in the action).

I still think the world building is the biggest fault so why don't I pick on that some more? Something I forgot in the first book is that if you're living close to starvation and then you gorge yourself with food, you will be sick. The throwaway line on the train of taking it easy on the food for one day is not enough. And even if you are the kind of person who can bounce back in one day from a lifetime of near starvation, the richness of the food described would be so far beyond what your body could handle without acclimation that you'd still be getting sick.

Also, I have to ask again: why does District 12 exist? Hover crafts and insta-parachutes we have but technology for cheap, automatic coal mining labor we do not? I ask this again because of what happened at the end of book two. SPOILER, highlight if interested: District 12 gets destroyed. As in, IT'S FLATTENED and the people all die or leave. So no one is mining coal in Panem any longer??? Hunh???? You get some announcements of the shortages in the capital but coal is used for a ton of shit, most famously POWER! Are they fully nuclear power? How do they manage this when it turns out District 13 was the center of their nuclear technology and it hasn't been supplying the capital for 75 years? World building matters, people!!!!

Book three gives a pretty good estimate of the total amount of people living in District 12. Turns out it's even higher than I guessed making the idea of only two people hunting in the woods even more ridiculous.

Came by this line: "Patches of my former self gleam white and pale." Doesn't she have olive skin? The line is specifically about skin and that really threw me for a loop. All that business about the distinct looks of the people in District 12 based on their class and then this discrepancy? It's little things like this that time and time again bumped me right out of a narrative I would have preferred to be immersed in.

And maybe that's why I'm so annoyed. There was so much I liked that I wanted to be totally in the moment. I didn't want these things cropping up again and again to ruin a story I was enjoying. With that in mind, I'm going to link to M.'s goodreads review because I think she does a great job of pointing out the best stuff about this final installment. I did want to expand on this point: "the author continues to portray female characters in strong and active ways." To that I would add "when they show up!!!!" I was really excited to see more women in book two (with the potential for even more in book three) but that was not continued into the finale. I'm not talking about the background and peripheral characters (they are nicely peopled with males and females). I'm talking about the characters that really make a difference in Katniss' life. If you list all the characters most important to her and most important for the progression of the plot they are almost all male. The only females I can come up with are her sister and Coin. That's a disappointment.

To sum up: proceed with caution. :)

rating: 3 of 5 stars

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