BOOK REVIEW: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

7260188Title: Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

Book Length (Audiobook): 11 hours 19 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic 

Read Start Date: November 24, 2019

Read Finish Date: December 2, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay – no matter what the personal cost.

SeriesMockingjay is the third and final book in the 3-part series.

Catching Fire is the second book in the 3-part series. You can see my review of the book by clicking on this link.

The Hunger Games is the first book in the 3-part series. You can see my review of the book by clicking on this link.

My Review: If you haven’t read the first or second book yet, then I would not read this review, as there will be many spoilers. In the first book, Katniss and Peeta won the Hunger Games, becoming for the first time in its 74-year history co-winners. Usually, the Capital only allows 1 victor per game, but as the last 2 standing tributes, neither would kill the other. They decide instead to trick the Capital into letting them both live by threatening to eat poison berries, thereby killing themselves, and giving the Capital no Victor — and there must always have a victor.

In Catching Fire the 75th Hunger Games (the 3rd quarter quell) has been announced. The tributes were chosen from among the victors. This means of course that Katniss and Peeta had to return to the arena to once again fight to the death. However, there was no winner, since the revolution had begun against the Capital. Katniss was rescued from the games and whisked away to District 13, but Peeta falls into the hands of the Capital to be used as a pawn against the rebels.

In the third book there are no games; instead, there is a war between the Capital and the districts. As you can imagine, war is messy and brutal, and the plot of this book is no different. Favorite characters will die, and there will be triumphs and defeats. Although I liked this book (it was as fast paced as the other books) I have to say that this is not my favorite out of the three books. Maybe it was the lack of the Hunger Games, or maybe it was that the ending was too tidy for me, like a neatly packed gift under the Christmas tree, but there was just something about it that didn’t leave me satisfied.

Having said that, I read through the series twice, and if push came to shove, I would probably read it a third time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

6148028Title: Catching Fire

Author: Suzanne Collins

Book Length (Audiobook): 11 hours 3 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic 

Read Start Date: November 20, 2019

Read Finish Date: November 24, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Sparks are igniting. Flames are spreading. And the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol – a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before…and surprising readers at every turn.

Series: Catching Fire is the second book in the 3-part series.

The Hunger Games is the first book in the 3-part series. You can see my review of the book by clicking on this link.

My Review: If you haven’t read the first book yet, then I would not read this review, as there will be many spoilers of the first book. Katniss and Peeta have won the Hunger Games, becoming for the first time in its 74-year history co-winners. Usually, the Capital only allows 1 victor per game, but as the last 2 standing tributes, neither would kill the other. They decide instead to trick the Capital into letting them both live by threatening to eat poison berries, thereby killing themselves, and giving the Capital no Victor — and there must always have a victor.

This seemingly simple act of defiance ignites the spark of revolution that has been brewing in the Districts for quite some time. As Katniss and Peeta take their victory tour through each of the Districts, the unrest grows, as do the feelings in Katniss’ heart. Threatened by President Snow to “convince him” that she is in love with Peeta (they played up the lover card in the Games for the show), will she settle for Peeta as the Capital wants, or will she run away with Gale? Will she bend to the Capital’s will, or will she stand up and fight?

In Catching Fire the 75th Hunger Games (the 3rd quarter quell) has been announced. The tributes will be chosen from among the victors. This means of course that Katniss and Peeta will be returning to the arena to once again fight to the death. I thought that this book was more of the same from the first book, except less action and more story building. However, the book was still really good, especially toward the end when the games started and it made a good follow up to the first book.

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

2767052 (1)Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

Book Length (Audiobook): 10 hours 35 mins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic 

Read Start Date: November 4, 2019

Read Finish Date: November 12, 2019

Brief Summary of the Plot from Goodreads: Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

Series: The Hunger Games is the first book in the 3-part series.

My Review: Essentially, the book is a post apocalyptic story about “the Capital” (where all the rich people live) and the surrounding 12 districts, where in most cases the populous is poor and/or starving. Each district has a sort of theme, where each is responsible for producing one type of commodity. For example, District 12 (where Katniss is from) is the coal mining district. District 11 is agriculture, and so on. Katniss’ father was killed in a coal mining accident, which left the family to fend for itself. As a result of their starvation, Katniss takes up hunting, which is where she meets her best friend Gale (enter the first male love triangle participant).

74 years before the book takes place, there was an uprising against the Capital, led by District 13 (responsible for mining elements necessary for nuclear power). The Capital won the war, and obliterated District 13. In order to keep the Districts in line, they created the Hunger Games, forcing the children of the remaining districts to fight each other every year to the death for the entertainment of the Capital. The names of 1 boy and 1 girl from each district are chosen at random to participate, with the number of times the name appears in the pool increasing incrementally every year as the child gets older.

Even though her name is only in the bowl once, Katniss’ 12 year old sister, Primrose, is chosen at the reaping, and Katniss volunteers to take her place in that years Hunger Games. It seems that the odds were not in their favor. This is where we meet Peeta, the second male in the love triangle. Although Katniss has never spoken to this boy, he had had a crush on her since they were children. They are whisked away to the Capital where they will be made up, pampered and forced to enter a closed arena where they will kill or be killed in sometimes gory and violent ways — all to entertain the Capital’s richest people.

I read this book once before in 2011, and while I remembered the overall storyline, had forgotten a lot of the details, so it almost felt like I was reading it again for the first time. I was really surprised to read in some recent reviews (see, Chrissi Reads) that there was talk of banning the book for violence and inappropriate sexual content for its intended age group. First of all, Katniss and Peeta kiss like a few times (as part of the games). That is all. There is not even a hint of sex in this book. I don’t want to give too much away about their relationship because it actually plays a big role in the storyline itself.

I never would have thought of this book as a romance novel anyway (even though on Goodreads it is tagged as such). For me, this book was more dystopian-action-adventure. Was there violence? Sure. But what PG-13 movie nowadays does not have violence or sexual content? What video game does not have violence? Maybe since this book was written 11 years ago (*gasp* has it already been so long?), it was more cutting edge then now in 2019? I don’t know. Anyway, I never thought that this book was inappropriate — but then again I’m the girl who read Roots in the 8th grade. Now that was a disturbing book, and it was based on reality to boot! I think that if we really want to talk about what might be scary for young adults, we should be having a discussion on school shootings, and not The Hunger Games.

But I digress.

This book has been one of my favorites for a while. Katniss is a great female lead character. She is smart, cunning, and brave. Of course she has some flaws too — she is fickle and naive at times, but I think these flaws add to her character and make her more likeable. I mean, who wants a perfect heroine? That would be super boring.

Despite the violence, there were also some really tender moments, where I found myself getting teared up. If you read the book, you will see what I mean — I don’t want to give anything away.

So in conclusion, and before I get too carried away, this book has it all. If you haven’t read this book yet, you really should.