Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mockingjay (2010)

This book is the third and last installment of the series by Suzanne Collins which started with the fantastic "Hunger Games". The violence in this dystopia fantasy was quite disturbing particularly since so much of it was teen on teen. In this last book, the rebellion is in full swing and everyone is involved, whole districts are being fire-bombed and the most dastardly traps are around every corner. Katniss, has been elevated as the face of the rebellion, Mockingjay, named after a pin she wore, given to her by her mother.

What they want is for me to truly take on the role they designed for me. The symbol of the revolution. The Mockingjay. It isn't enough, what I've done in the past, defying the Capitol in the Games, providing a rallying point. I must now become the actual leader, the face, the voice, the embodiment of the revolution. Ther person who the districts -- most of which are now openly at war with the Capitol -- can count on to blaze the path to victory. I won't have to do it alone. They have a whole team of people to make me over, dress me, write my speeches, orchestrate my appearances -- as if that doesn't sound horribly familiar -- and all I have to do is play my part. Sometimes I listen to them annd sometimes I just watch the perfect line of Coin's hair and try to decide if it's a wig. Eventually, I leave the room because my head starts to ache or it's time to eat or if I don't get aboveground I might start screaming. I don't bother to say anything. I simply get up and walk out.

I probably should have read the three books together because I found Katniss' character positively grating. I wasn't the only one. Even the other characters in the book seem to have a problem with her. One of the times she is recovering from wounds, she talks with Johanna.

". . . How about you, Mockingjay? You feel totally safe?"
"Oh, yeah. Right up until I got shot," I say.
"Please. That bullet never even touched you. Cinna saw to that," she says.
I think of the layers of protective armor in my Mockingjay outfit. But the pain came from somewhere. "Broken ribs?"
"Not even. Bruised pretty good. The impact ruptured your spleen. They couldn't repair it." She gives a dismissive wave of her hand. "don't worry, you don't need one. And if you did, they'd find you one, wouldn't they? It's everybody's job to keep you alive."
"Is that why you hate me?" I ask.
"Partly, she admits. "Jealousy is certainly involved. I also think you're a little hard to swallow. With your tacky romantic drama and your defend-of-the-helpless act. Only it isn't an act, which makes you more unbearable. please feel free to take this personally."

Another aspect of this book that bothered me was the use of drugs. It seems that every time Kat got agitated, like after seeing Peeta speaking for the Capitol on TV, someone was there with a syringe to sedate her. Also, it seems she was receiving a lot of pain medication for her many wounds.

I will have to give this series another shot, some day, and read them together. I may have more sympathy for Kat then.

This series is very imaginative and violent, but very readable. I suggest the reader tackle all three in a row.

My rating for this book: +++ 1/2

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