“My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.”
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.
I know, I know. You’ve made the rounds of numerous blogs and have read the review for this book about a gajillion times (well, mostly they were probably like oemgeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!) (not that I don’t blame them, the first few hours after I read this, I was a bit dizzy too) so what could I possibly have to say that has not already been said (in bold letters, often capitalized) by others.
I don’t know. Possibly nothing very different but consider this an exercise for my own sake. I need to work through my own thoughts.
If you read literary classics, you will realized that more often than not, they are revered more for their writing than their story. However, I have noticed that people are moving towards the opposite spectrum (and rightfully so, in some cases) where the story determines the strength of a book – though the writing might be sub par. (I didn’t say a word about sparkling creatures, okay?)
Mockingjay started off pensive. The melancholia pervading each sentence as an ode to the losses that have led us this far into the narrative. The pace was slow and contemplative as Katniss came to terms with her own loss, the new direction of her life and the goals she has had foisted on her. But as the narrative gains momentum, the story explodes. Perhaps literally. When Katniss grabs the microphone to make her own stand (finally!), the world reverberates. I read that part about a dozen times and every single time, it gave me the same jolt.
What I liked about Mockingjay was the fact that Collins depicted such dramatic events without drama. There is a lot of death and all of them are tragic but all of them are given this curious “matter of fact” tone. At least, that’s how I felt. You register the death and the tragedy of it but you can’t wallow in it because there is a war being fought and you are a soldier.
I had issues with the ending of Harry Potter because I felt that it was way too happy to properly encompass the loss of all the people who had fallen during the fight. Arguably, it can be asserted that their happiness was a tribute to the fallen but I don’t know. It seemed irreverent and inappropriate to me.
Mockingjay’s ending – the ending to the trilogy – felt realer to me. It showed that wars linger in the sinews and muscles of your body, in the memories stored in your mind and no matter how happy you are at a singular moment, you need only close your eyes to relive the horror of it, to re-realize the losses incurred during it.
I said earlier that recently books are more popular based on the story than the writing. Mockingjay isn’t one of it. Suzanne Collins effectively combines flawless writing with her exquisite skill at narration to give us a story that will linger.
When I finished Mockingjay, turned the last page and then put it away, it wasn’t with a glow of satisfaction at the fact that I had read a good book. It was with an unsettled feeling. With thoughts in my mind about humanity and the divisions within us. Whether we too are racing through the years to a real life Hunger Games. I have a feeling I will be pondering these questions for a long time.
A book that makes you think outside of the structure of its characters and plot is a good book. And I’d say Mockingjay is a pretty darned good book.