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Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: PJV on August 26, 2010, 07:29 PM

Title: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: PJV on August 26, 2010, 07:29 PM
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Anyone else as happy as me that Katniss ended up with Peeta and not Gale? Throughout the entire book, I still felt they belonged together. I also thought SC's idea to have him hate her and want to kill her was brilliant. Didn't even suspect it. Weirdest thing was how upset I was about Finnick dying. I had to read it three times. I expected Peeta or Gale, not Finnick. Even little Prim didn't bother me as much because it was written in so well. It was what made the ending so perfect. And I loved Joanna. She was hilarious!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: bechick108 on August 26, 2010, 10:10 PM
The romantic in my really wanted more of a loving embrace when Peeta showed up back in 12. Or at least more details of when she did finally fall back in love with him. I definitely agree she ended up with the right guy and I'm glad SC pointed out how Gale was too much like Katniss whereas Peeta was her opposite to balance her out. I can't believe she killed Finnick!!!!   Although I'm glad Anne had a baby, it made me feel a little better.

On a non plot side the book seemed to have a very pessimistic view of the hope for humanity. Even in the end no one seemed to really learn from the mistakes of the past. Which made the book less fulfilling than I would have liked.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: TrueImage on August 27, 2010, 08:05 AM
I finished this book last night and I'm still pondering how I feel about it.

It's very dark as I suspected it to be. I think a lot of readers may be put off by the darkness of it but I think this is where Collins was planning to go all along -- I mean you can't have a trilogy about a Hunger Games -- pitting child against child to fight to the death -- end on a fluffy high note. She has always stated that she wanted to show the effect of war on children and adults.

I was Team Peeta from the beginning, but there was something about they way the two go together that is...I don't know. It's seems she picked him by default since Gale went to District 2. And he didn't even say good-bye (at least in the book).

But like bechick108 said, Katniss did realize that Gale was too much like her and even if she hadn't gone to the Games and they had of escaped to the woods, would they have really made it together?

And I think when the bomb killed Prim, I knew it was over between Katniss and Gale as far as a romantic relationship. She would always wonder if it was Gale's bomb (or at least his tactics) that killed her sister.

I guess I just wanted her to make a more "active" decision. But if she HAD of ended of with Gale, I would have been disappointed. Peeta was definitely a better match. And I loved the dialogue in the last chapter.

And it was sad with all of the characters dying. The characters that we got to know and love. Especially Finnick. His character really was rounded out in this book.

Still, I don't know overall how I feel about the book yet. It did affect me and the writing was phenomenal. And the ending with Katniss and Peeta's children being free of the Hunger Games was hopeful, but the affects of the War still left a deep scar without any guarantee that War would not flare up again.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: ello on August 27, 2010, 08:20 AM
I loved it. I thought it was brilliant and ended exactly as it should have ended. If she had gone Hollywood on me, I would have been really upset. This dark ending with this hint that war can still happen is realistic to not only the series but to life. I think any other ending would have been a Disney ending. There was no way for this book to end any other way but dark.

For some reason Finnick's death definitely affected me more than Prim's. It seemed sudden and unexpected and I was upset about it. Prim's death was well done tied so brilliantly into the President's plotting. How calculating. That Katniss had no one left to talk to about what to do made her last actions feel absolutely true to her. I really thought all of this was just masterly done.

I don't think she defaulted to Gale. Every interaction with Gale seemed to highlight that he was actually a default for Peeta. And I was surprised to find that I ended up disliking Gale halfway through the book. He and Katniss are alike, but it was Peeta that made Katniss so much better. I think Katniss recognized it also and that's why she loved him. He made her a better person.

Ok - I can go on and on so I'll stop now. But yes, I really loved this series and I'm so not disappointed at all by it.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: JustWrite on August 27, 2010, 08:22 AM
I have a sort of Mockingjay treatise on my blog if anyone wants to stop by to read and leave their thoughts. I'd love it if you would. I have my own theories about the entire series and what Suzanne Collins has been trying to say. Let me say this. Hunger Games *ain't* no Twilight.

Lisa


http://lisa-amowitzya.blogspot.com/2010/08/bigtime-mockingjay-spoiler-dont-read.html (http://lisa-amowitzya.blogspot.com/2010/08/bigtime-mockingjay-spoiler-dont-read.html)
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: dinalapomy101 on August 27, 2010, 08:44 AM
I LOVED IT. Thought it was BRILLIANT!

A few quibbles: I wanted Prim's death to affect me, but it didn't. I wasn't sad about it at all, and that kind of bothered me.  I also felt there were too many characters to keep track of at times.

But I thought it was well done, perfectly plotted, and Prim's death made K's decision not to go for Gale as a partner final, and came full circle with the fact that K set out to save P from the HG by taking her place, but in the end during war, you can't just save someone unless the war is over. 

As far as Gale v. Peeta, K decided before that, too, that she would choose neither G or Peeta since they were right when they were talking; she'd pick the one who could be the most useful to her and she said that it would be neither of them; she needed no one. When she ended up with Peeta, circumstances had changed.

And the ending was as hopeful as a war book ending can be, imo.  She had children, had hope that the world would be better, and the war was over and people were rebuilding.  I thought it was realistic.

Coin's death? Brilliant.  Coin asking about another HG?  Brilliant and shocking.  I loved the unpredictable story twists that still fit perfectly with the characters' actions -- and I think that is how SC is a brilliant writer and this series was fantastic.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: TrueImage on August 27, 2010, 09:13 AM
Oh yeah. Coin's death = brilliant.

One thing has been bothering me about some of the negative reviews -- saying that Katniss was passive throughout the whole book -- I don't think that's necessarily true. I think she realized that she was a pawn in yet another game (Coin's), which is why I thought when Katniss killed her was brilliant.

The more I think about how this book has left me -- sort of drained, dazed and a little depressed -- that may be proof that Collins has done what she set out to do -- to truly show the affects of War.



Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Jennifer Rush on August 28, 2010, 10:05 AM
I don't think any one scene affected me more than Finnick dying. I actually stopped reading, mouth agape, and looked over at my husband. "No!" I said, and he just looked at me like a crazy person. And then, when I read Anne had a baby? Tears! Burning in my eyes! Maybe that affected me more because I'm a parent, and I can only imagine how hard it must have been to have a baby alone. Not to mention, Anne was having a hard enough time with the day-to-day with Finnick. How is she now without him?

I'm glad Katniss ended up with Peeta. I had hoped she would, because, like she herself said, her and Gale were too much alike. Gale was focused too much on the victory, and not on the path that would take them there. I still felt bad for him though, when he and Katniss had a conversation about the bomb that killed Prim. Gale knew Katniss would never forget the bomb, he knew his chance had been lost.

I think, like others said, Suzanne Collins did exactly what she set out to do, making us experience the hollowed out feeling one feels when they've been through war. The fact that we felt anything at all is proof she's an extremely good writer! I can't wait to see what she writes next, though I'm VERY sad we've read the last of the Hunger Games books.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: sbk(linda) on August 28, 2010, 10:20 AM
Finnick's death also left me shocked and yelling, "Whaaaattt??" to an empty room. Prim's death saddened me, but I only really felt it when Katniss was trying to get rid of Buttercup. I'll admit, that got my tearing up.

I'm curious about something. Did anyone else suspect that the hospital scene was a set up by District 13 in order to get a real reaction out of Katniss? That scene was the one that got me thinking that Coin would do whatever it took to win and so I wasn't surprised at all that they may have used Gale's bomb to kill the children.

It was such a dark and depressing novel, but to have turned it into anything else wouldn't have worked. I love a book that stays with me long after I've finished it. The whole thing was absolutely brilliant.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Running2StandStill on August 28, 2010, 11:54 AM
I just finished Mockingjay about five minutes ago, so I'm still processing. But I will be the first in the thread to say that Prim's death was the one that really got to me. Finnick's death was surprising and terrible--he was a wonderful character--but the weird thing I remember thinking when the mutts got him was "Huh. Maybe she didn't know how to end/continue on with his character." It felt so abrupt and pointless for him to die right then. Prim's death had meaning and was a catalyst of sorts, and I just couldn't believe it.

As for the Team Peeta/Team Gale point...I was always Team Gale, however I think Collins was a genius at her reasoning as to why Gale wouldn't work out for Katniss. Peeta was the right choice for her in the end, that is clear. The romantic in me DOES wish there had been more "romance" to the romance angle. Ah well.

It was a hard book to get into...I wasn't pulled in until about page 100 or so. Felt there was a lot of summarizing. Of course, that is hard *not* to do when writing the third book in a series!

I wish I'd liked Katniss more. I respected her...I thought she was a strong character, brave, and real with her weaknesses. But in the end, it did seem like she was a cold person. Perhaps that was the point: she recognized that when Gale said "She'll choose whoever she can't survive without." This is a dark book with dark themes. Katniss herself is on a path of self discovery and she doesn't like what she finds? The whole series says a lot about the importance of honesty and truth.

Overall, I really enjoyed the third book. I think it ended well with a small (realistically guarded) sliver of hope.  :smile

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Anne Marie on August 28, 2010, 03:57 PM
I found it to be an exciting ride but not un-put-down-able.  The authorial hand was far too obvious and the resolution of the love triangle seemed contrived and not organic to the characters.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: dave r on August 28, 2010, 06:42 PM
Finally found the time to finish Mockingjay. Good book. Dark. Tolkeinesque in it's violence and depiction of war.
I did feel the majority of the book was more character driven than the first two, so I was able to put it down and come back to it.

Finnick's death was a shock. When it happened, I just remember saying,"But he just got Annie back." Somehow it didn't seem fair to either of them.

It wasn't until Buttercup's return that Prim's death had an effect on me, but I think that was Collin's plan all along. We don't grieve until the character grieves. She didn't see Gale or her mother after Prim's death, the two people who would have openly grieved for her sister.

As for Coin and District 13, I never felt it was a safe place or that she was anything but power-hungry and manipulative. No different than Snow in many ways. And there was a part of me that suspected that the hospital and several other scenes were somehow manipulated by District 13 and Coin for effect.

I think it would be interesting to get a viewpoint of someone who has read all three books in succession -- rather than over a period of years (it's been quite a while for me, since I read Catching Fire in bound manuscript form).

That said, I think the next book I read will be about fuzzy kittens and playful puppies. I need some cheering up. lol

keep writing,
dave r
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Mike Jung on August 28, 2010, 07:03 PM
Relentlessly bleak settings...teenagers infliciting unimaginable acts of violence against each other...the terrible, destructive effects of life in an inescapable war zone...yep, CRACKED UP TO BE sure is a dark book.

Oh wait, are you guys talking about MOCKINGJAY?
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: TaliaVance on August 28, 2010, 08:23 PM
Just finished today!

I was very satisfied with the ending. It's the only one I could imagine.  And I liked the epilogue, because the reason that Katniss could never imagine herself with Gale, Peeta or anyone at all in the first book was her unwillingness to risk bringing children into a world where the Games were hanging over all of their heads.  Caring for her sister and mother were more than she could bear.  The fact that she was able to have children, fifteen years later showed how much she did heal and that peace was sticking without the sacrifices of the pre-revolution Panem.  It made everything Katniss went through seem worth it, so that the next generation could have a chance at happiness and freedom.   So I guess I didn't find the ending as dark as everyone seems to. 

I confess that I didn't understand why Katniss would agree to hold another Games, and I would have liked to have some internal reaction or clue from her in that scene.  I also wanted to see Peeta and Katniss reconnect instead of being told about it in a few sentences.  I never felt like Gale's going to District 2 was a cop out.  He went because it was well and truly over with Katniss after the bomb, and I felt like it was over long before, something Gale always knew.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: PJV on August 28, 2010, 08:51 PM
I felt the reason Katniss agreed to another Hunger Games was to just get on with killing Snow/Coin. I think she planned it all the time and thought if she didn't agree, maybe Coin wouldn't let her be the one to execute Snow, which meant she wouldn't have the shot at Coin. Because they knew she was unstable and only gave her one arrow. They just thought her hatred of Snow would overpower any other ideas.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: J-Bert on August 28, 2010, 09:25 PM
I finished Mockingjay today!! My initial reaction was total satisfaction, and just a general sense of WOW with the whole trilogy. But then, as I've mulled it over, a couple things have struck me as a little problematic. Overall though I thought it was a terrific read and solid end to the trilogy.

One of my few quibbles was Katniss's reaction to seeing Peeta after they rescued him from the Capitol. Did anyone else have problems with that? Her eagerness and expectations that he would warmly greet her seemed totally out of line for me with her character, especially given how much she'd worried about him and what he must think of her as she watched the Capitol interviews with him. She'd observed that he didn't look quite himself, and she knew he had been tortured. I wasn't expecting Peeta to strangle her, but I also thought she would have approached that reunion with a little more concern/worry/caution for how he might be feeling toward her, and Peeta's reaction seemed to take her totally off guard.

Prim's death oddly didn't surprise me, but I think this is because very early on it was established that Snow used people's weaknesses against them, and from the opening of Book One, we've all known Prim was a weakness for Katniss. I was actually expecting Prim to somehow be captured and used against Katniss earlier, and so the way she was used in the story was unexpected which I appreciated. That sounds so heartless! Sorry Prim! I was sad to see her go, but I guess what I'm saying is that I knew going into Mockingjay characters were going to die, and Prim was at the top of my list for people I didn't think would make it to the end.

But there were two parts to Prim's end that didn't fully sit right with me. I had been worried about Prim the whole novel but she was never in harm's way, and then in the end it almost seemed too convenient that she rushed out into danger and died. I also am not fully sold on how she was considered underage and yet was sent into combat as a medic. This wouldn't have even occurred to me as an issue, except that it occurred to Katniss, so much so that she ran to Haymitch for answers which she never got and stopped pursuing for no reason I really understood. I take it I am supposed to believe that Coin gave permission for Prim to go on purpose to punish Katniss, but even if Coin masterminded the parachute drops, it seems like she couldn't know for sure that Prim would get killed. Coin also did not seem particularly cruel toward children to me earlier in the novel--calculating and focused on bringing down the Capitol above all else, yes, and concerned with retaining her power position. It just didn't seem like Coin to want to hurt Katniss by hurting her loved ones--that seemed to be Snow's game--so I can't help but feel the author presence of SC here manipulating the story. Prim's death is essential to triggering what follows, but the trail leading up to Prim's death doesn't seem as naturally laid out as it could be.

And along the same lines, I loved the twist at the end when Coin presented the idea for another Hunger Games--it so solidly set the idea this would be a never-ending power game that relied on evil and cruelty, no matter the side in power. But again it didn't sit right with me that Coin would be that callous about sacrificing children. Maybe if I reread the book I will see a lot of earlier incidences that underscore this trait of hers, and I glossed over them because I wasn't focused on Coin. But I wondered why Coin wouldn't present the Hunger Games idea with ADULT residents of the Capitol as contestants--prominent allies of Snow, rather than their kids. That would have seemed more in character to me. Still cruel and continuing the cycle of violence as a power move, but not at the level of Snow. At the very least, it bothered me that none of the tributes suggested that as an alternative option when they were voting. It makes me wonder if SC thought a new Hunger Games would have to include children in order to push Katniss over the edge into killing Coin instead of Snow.

The other thing that kind of bugged me is how relatively easy it was for Peeta's rescue team to break into the Capitol prison and release everyone with no real casualties (I think Gale got a minor injury and that was it), and meanwhile when Katniss's team tried to go to the Capital there were pods and booby traps and Peacekeepers all over the place. Since Boggs was working from an old Holo from the Capitol, I'm assuming all those obstacles would have been there when Peeta's rescue team went, but maybe not. I do remember a line from Boggs or someone who commented on how it seemed a little too easy, like Snow wanted them to remove the prisoners and take Peeta since he was programmed to kill Katniss. So maybe that should be sufficient reasoning--Snow knew they were coming and disabled all the booby trap and pod things and only gave limited resistance to make it appear like they cared, when really the rebels were doing exactly what the Capital wanted them to do.

So much to think about and digest! Even with my quibbles here, I was really impressed and wowed with this whole trilogy. It's incredibly rare for me to read a book that I don't have ANY quibbles with, and overall I thought this was a masterfully executed story.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Sara on August 28, 2010, 09:57 PM
I started at 9 pm and finished at 2 am. So, although I didn't want to put it down, I agree with someone else who said it wasn't as hard to put down as the first two. I kept waiting for the action, and it just didn't show up until 3/4 of the way through the book. But I still liked it--just not as much as the first two.

PJV, you said
Quote
I felt the reason Katniss agreed to another Hunger Games was to just get on with killing Snow/Coin. I think she planned it all the time and thought if she didn't agree, maybe Coin wouldn't let her be the one to execute Snow, which meant she wouldn't have the shot at Coin.

Along those lines, do you think that Haymitch was onto Katniss's ulterior motive for agreeing to another Games, and that's why he voted for them as well? There was something going on there between the two of them, but I wasn't absolutely sure what it was...

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: PJV on August 28, 2010, 10:01 PM
I wondered about Prim, too, but if you remember, Snow was broadcasting that Katniss was dead and Prim may have gone because of that.

Also, it was mentioned that the reason it was so easy to rescue Peeta was because Snow wanted him to kill Katniss. Gale's injury may have been because he was the one person Snow would have wanted dead to punish Katniss.

Leah: It wouldn't surprise me at all if Haymitch knew exactly what she was thinking. Someone joked on twitter that Katniss ended up with Haymitch and it's true, they were more alike than her and Gale!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Tammi on August 28, 2010, 10:03 PM
I wonder if Katniss agreed to the Hunger Games in an attempt to have Coin mistakenly believe Katniss was on her side. This way Katniss wouldn't be viewed as a threat. Which clearly she was.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: J-Bert on August 28, 2010, 10:28 PM
Ah, PJV, those are good points. I didn't think about how it was broadcast that Katniss had died. I could see Prim insisting on going. But I still don't see enough to believe though that Coin manipulated everything with the intention for Prim to die, which seemed to be what Katniss was suspecting. She said, "Did Coin do it, hoping that losing Prim would push me completely over the edge? Or, at least, firmly on her side?" I don't think she ever gets a clear answer on that, but it just seemed far-fetched to me, or out of left field for that to be Coin's tactic. I would, however, understand Coin sending Prim into the war effort if Prim was insistent about it, and Coin being indifferent to her outcome. And then Katniss crediting Coin with causing Prim's death because she was calling all the shots on the rebel's side, the same way Katniss blamed herself as the cause for so many more deaths than the ones she directly had a hand in. But what came across for me in Katniss's words and actions was that she felt Coin had intentionally wanted to harm Prim to further manipulate Katniss, but I didn't feel like there was enough to support that.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: bechick108 on August 28, 2010, 10:52 PM
Did anybody else wonder if Plutarch? purposely allowed Katniss to talk with Snow in hopes of him convincing her to kill Coin? It just seemed a little too convenient that she was the one that said Katniss could be in the same room as Snow and then the one to be elected the next governing official. Was Katniss ever not a pawn?
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: PJV on August 28, 2010, 11:09 PM
I wondered that, too, if she knew how Coin was and thought Katniss would be against her if she knew the truth. I don't know if she just hoped Katniss to back her instead or if she, too, used her. It would be interesting to hear more from Collins. I hope she talks about it when everything calms down.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: J-Bert on August 29, 2010, 06:57 AM
Oh, interesting thought bechick!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: TrueImage on August 29, 2010, 08:12 AM
Yes, I also thought Paylor letting Katniss go into President Snow's living quarters with the roses was a little too convenient too. Maybe she knew that Coin was just as bad as Snow and she wanted Katniss to find out. She ended up being the President so maybe Paylor used Katniss as a pawn too?

Another thing that has been puzzling me that maybe slipped through my first reading of MOCKINGJAY is the remaining district industires. I know that we found out what District 2's industry was (some mining but mostly Peacekeepers), but what about Districts 5, 6, and 9? I still can't figure out what the industry for each was (although fanfiction has them as identified as something else but it doesn't come from the books).

From the trilogy the known district industries (book in parenthesis):

District 1: Luxury/Jewelry (HG)
District 2: Peacekeepers (MJ)
District 3: Electronics/Explosives (CF)
District 4: Fishing (CF)
District 5: ?
District 6: ? (Some say medicine/pharmaceuticals because the morphlings were from 6 in CF)
District 7: Lumber/Paper (CF)
District 8: Textiles (CF)
District 9: ?
District 10: Livestock (CF)
District 11: Agriculture (HG)
District 12: Coal (HG)
District 13: Graphite/Nuclear(HG, CF)

One of my friends sent this passage to me from Chapter 5 (page 71) of CATCHING FIRE that sort of hints at what they could be: "Sometimes a brief tour a glimpse of the sea in one district, towering forests in another, ugly factories, fields of wheat, stinking refineries."

She thinks that the sea was 4, forests were 7 and ugly factories were 8, which left wheat and oil since she thought 6 was medicine. A lot of people think District 9 may have been oil and then maybe 5 wheat/grain.

Wasn't FoxFace from District 5? A lot of fanfiction has District 5's industry as hunting. And a fox is a hunter.

I'm still thinking the industries of 5, 6, and 9 were never stated out right. Maybe this is something Collins wants her readers to figure out with the clues she left.

I also wonder if she will ever say where they were located although you can figure out where some of them are located by hints in the book. I think the Capitol is definitely in the Denver/Salt Lake City area -- hence the Rockies and the fact it was snowing in MJ. District 11 is definitely somewhere in the South as well as District 4 (probably in the Gulf area). I always thought District 8 was near Detroit somewhere. And District 12 in Appalachia; however if you listen to Collins read, she always reads Katniss with a Southern accent so probably West Virginia. District 13 would be farther north of 12 -- I think Katniss said in MJ that it was a week's walk away. Also Twill and Bonnie from District 8 got on a train from District 6, so it must be in that vicinity as well. I'm thinking the water took up a lot of land so what is considered North America to us may be different in THG trilogy.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: NinjaWoman on August 29, 2010, 09:39 AM
Reading through this thread - I tend to agree with a lot of points. 

POOR FINNICK!  I just felt so terrible for Annie and I had to reread the sentence because it seemed like Finnick was killed off just like some extra little character.  I think the girl in the lemon yellow coat's death got more page time than Finnick's!

And yes - I would have loved a more detailed reconciliation with Peeta at the end.  Katniss and Buttercup got a nicer, more specific reunion scene.   :ha  I suppose that's the romantic in me too.  There was a decent amount of romance in the other two - I could have done with a teensy bit more.  But I was very satisfied that she ended up with Peeta.

Did anyone else think that something more was going to happen with the pearl that Peeta gave her?  She brought it with her to 12.  She held it at night when she couldn't sleep.  She tied it in the corner of her parachute and then didn't she tuck it in the pocket of her Mockingjay uniform?  I could have some facts wrong b/c I was tearing through it, but I thought - FOR SURE - that Peeta was going to try to kill her again and somehow the pearl was going to come out and he'd see it and remember his love for her.   Or something!  It was mentioned so often I can't believe it didn't come into play.  Maybe it was simply supposed to represent how Katniss was holding on to him - but still - I closed the book and thought - "What happened to the pearl?" 

But my quibbles were little.  My emotions were big.  I loved the whole series and will give it all some time to settle then start all over again.

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: sbk(linda) on August 29, 2010, 12:01 PM
Oh yeah!! I wondered about the pearl too! I sort of assumed it was a loose end that SC forgot to close up. A little frustrating, but such a small detail, I chose to move on and not worry about it.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: J-Bert on August 29, 2010, 12:16 PM
NinjaWoman, I forgot about the pearl but I had the same expectations too! I could also see, as you said, how the pearl was only meant to be symbolic. But the way it was referenced and used I thought it would play an essential role between Katniss and Peeta at some point. I always wonder with these sorts of things about the revision process with a story--was there a time when SC intended the pearl to play a bigger part in the end but that ended up changing along the way?

And your comment about the girl with the yellow coat's death having more stage time than Finnick's made me chuckle. So true! Poor Finnick indeed. I really liked his character in this book--I found myself rooting more for him and Annie to reunite than the Katniss/Peeta/Gale triangle. And I don't mean that as a diss on SC and how she handled the love triangle either. I actually thought she did that pretty masterfully--it seemed very real to me. Their relationships were so complicated as we knew them, with so much baggage, there really wasn't a storybook ending option that would have been realistic. And given the circumstances of them fighting in a war and not confidant about their day-to-day survival, I think I would have liked the book less if there had been too much focus on the romantic angle and Katniss debating which guy was best for her. I felt like she had love for both and her main priorities as far as Peeta and Gale were concerned were their safety, and to not hurt either's feelings. Having said that though, I also agree with many of you who wanted a little more in the reconciliation with Peeta at the end. That did seem a little skimmed over to me, a lot left to my imagination. I loved the scene when she runs outside to find him planting primrose, and how seeing him again triggers a rebirth in Katniss. But then it brushes over them actually growing back together as a couple and I would have liked at least one scene showing something significant from the process. Still, though, I found the whole trilogy very satisfying.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Gretchen on August 29, 2010, 02:24 PM
I was a little disappointed the pearl didn't play into the story at the end.  I thought it would show up in the poison pill pocket, or maybe Katniss would use it in one of their little games of Real/Not Real; it would've been a tangible "real".  The romance between Katniss and Peeta needed more romance, but at least they ended up together. 

The Coin character was so obviously another baddie from the beginning.  It would've been more interesting to me if there was a bit of mystery as to Coin's intentions.

I kept thinking Haymitch would die; that would've been a death that bothered me.  Also, I wanted Cinna to show up so badly, but...  it wasn't meant to be.  Finnick's death made me sad.  Total bummer.  He deserved a better death or some dying words or something.  Prim's death didn't affect me that much and I feel it should have since, despite the fact she stepped up and took her place at the Reaping, in the end, Katniss still couldn't save Prim from the Hunger Games. 

It was appropriately dark and bloody, and I enjoyed the book.  It wasn't may favorite of the three though.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: NinjaWoman on August 29, 2010, 02:35 PM
Quote
I would have liked at least one scene showing something significant from the process.

Exactly, J-Bert.  It's like we've been through so much with Katniss - give us a moment when we can feel some of the emotion that she and Peeta felt during book 1 & 2.  And I don't mean to be all complain-y either.  Sometimes when something is fantastic (Which I totally thought it was), it's easy to see the few things that weren't as satisfying.

But I, too, wondered if maybe the pearl played a bigger part in a scene that just didn't make the cut.

Yanno, re: Prim's death.  I'm not one to enjoy the killing-off of sweet little girl characters - but it brought things full circle for me.  Most likely, if Prim would have gone to the games in book one, she would have died.  A rebellion probably would not have started.  Katniss going in her stead and one-thing-leading-to-another caused a lot of violence and death, true.  Prim still died but a terrible regime was destroyed in the process.  So either way, Prim's a goner.  But this way some good came of it.  I guess my point is - I wasn't as upset about Prim because it kinda felt right that she died.  But not so with Finnick.  He was very vital to me and I didn't see that one coming.

Did that make any sense? :duh

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Whizbee on August 31, 2010, 03:08 PM
This book had way too much summary for me, especially at the climax when Katniss blacks out we read the most crucial part of the book as... summary. And why in the world did Katniss keep singing that song about a girl dying alongside her lover if not to foreshadow her own death alongside either Peeta or Gale?

Too much summary, not enough tragic romance--the ending was a letdown. Here's the one I propose:

Gale is taken prisoner and Katniss shoots him to spare him the torture. Tragic! But at least she has Peeta to comfort her. They take Snow prisoner and execute him. Coin then betrays Katniss and Peeta, who die in each other's arms, and Coin instigates a new set of Hunger Games. End.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: sbk(linda) on August 31, 2010, 05:55 PM
oooh, sorry Whizbee. I would have hated that ending and it would have resulted in me throwing the book across the room when I finished.  :guns Your ending would have meant everyone died for nothing. Absolutely nothing. I need a book with a little more hope than that. I thought this ending had a beautiful balance of tragedy and hope. I felt as though I'd been through everything with Katniss and was a mess for days after reading, but was grateful that in the end, it was all worth it. She'd been fighting for a reason.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Whizbee on August 31, 2010, 07:07 PM
Well, I was being a little facetious. :)
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: andracill on September 01, 2010, 07:19 AM
I finally got my copy yesterday (yeesh, how long does it take FedEx to ship these things, anyway??) -- but now I can read this thread, so all's good ;)

I didn't mind Prim's death -- she always seemed like a catalyst to me, rather than a real person.  First she shoved Katniss into the Games, and now she shoves Katniss into the ultimate showdown.  I expected it.

For me, Finnick's death was pointless.  I suppose that WAS the point, though -- war provides many pointless deaths.  However, since I'm reading fiction, I personally wouldn't mind a little more 'point' -- and I would've liked to see Finnick live.

I'm another who wanted more of a relationship resolution between both Gale and Katniss (though I do think their friendship/love was always secondary in Gale's mind to the overall cause -- something Katniss knew in her head, but not her heart until Prim) and Peeta and Katniss.  Even though Peeta and Katniss were manipulated from the beginning, I still think the opportunity to show the power of love was there, and SC didn't really take advantage of it.  It reminds me a bit of Ginny/Harry in HP -- not used to its full potential.

I liked the book, definitely, but it's not my favorite of the three -- in fact, it's my least favorite of the three.  Too much gore for my personal taste (although I get that war is gory) -- and it certainly brought to mind the debate about too much sex v. too much violence in YA.  If I had to choose between giving this book to my kiddos or a book with a graphic sex scene, the sex scene would win out every time!  ETA:  (I just blogged about this -- http://robinellen.livejournal.com/292561.html (http://robinellen.livejournal.com/292561.html) -- non-spoilery thoughts about some of the general themes in the book.)
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: sbk(linda) on September 01, 2010, 09:03 AM
Well, I was being a little facetious. :)

 :snork LOL yeah, I realized that, but still had a bizarre strong reaction to it because it was similar to an ending I tried to pull off in my current WIP. If I had to give it up, then no one else is allowed to do it either. ;-)
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: ccw on September 01, 2010, 03:38 PM
The scene where Buttercup returns to Katniss ripped me up! I think this really drove home the loss of Prim for me and the void she left behind. Brilliantly done, I thought. Such an intense and powerful novel on so many levels. I think I'm still digesting it all.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: PJV on September 01, 2010, 06:35 PM
Little things like that make me wonder if she had that planned from the beginning, since Buttercup was introduced with Prim in the first chapter of HG. I'd love to be able to plan like that...
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: YAchicka on September 02, 2010, 07:23 AM
I also thought the Hanging Tree song was leading up to Katniss's suicide beside her lover - who I'd hoped would be Peeta. So for me, the two of them ending up together and having children was practically a storybook ending  :smile
All I can say is  :bow to SC for the whole trilogy!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Anne Marie on September 02, 2010, 08:17 PM
Great comment thread here:

http://readroger.hbook.com/2010/08/spoiler-free-zone.html
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Megan on September 03, 2010, 07:19 AM
It's interesting to see how many different reactions there are!

I appreciated the violence and brutality--I actually felt there wasn't enough of that in the first two books (one of my major peeves with HG is that Katniss never actually has to kill someone in a way that isn't sort of an accident or out of mercy), and I wish there'd been more of it at least in CF so that the tone shifted more naturally.  I can see how people would be jarred by the change.  I liked that Collins didn't shy away from just how awful war is, or what effect it has on people.

Also really enjoyed some of the twists, like Peeta's hijacking.  And I didn't see Katniss as passive--many times she breaks orders and does things because *she* thinks she should do them, even though the people trying to control her would rather she didn't.  Yes, she isn't in total control, but is anyone else either?

What disappointed me, though, is a lot of the emotional stuff felt off.  There isn't a whole lot of time for emotions in the first two books--everyone's running around preparing for games and then trying not to be killed most of the time--but in this one Katniss spends a whole lot of time reflecting on things.  Which could have been good in theory, but I didn't like the way it was handled.  For one, it felt like Collins often pulled away from moments that should have been emotionally intense right as they started to happen, and then came back to Katniss hours or even days later when she'd reflect back.  The first time it really struck me was when Peeta attacks her, and it also bothered me when Prim dies--I didn't even know for sure Prim *had* died based on what is on the page in that moment.  I wanted to see Katniss reacting to things in the moment, rather than just after she'd already had some time to process them. 

I also didn't like that we're almost completely left out of Katniss's thoughts and feelings when she's hearing about Coin's proposed Hunger Games, deciding to shoot her, and then finding out what happened after.  She gets *very* distant at the end.  Honestly, the way it's written, I'm not sure we're even supposed to believe Katniss really loves Peeta.  As much as I do adore the last "Real/not real?" exchange, in the lines before she's not talking about feeling anything for him...  She's talking about what she "needs" and what Peeta can "give" her, and because of that, she tells him it's real that she loves him.  She never says it's because it really is real.

Which would be fine.  It's just that when I've stuck with a character through three books, by the end I want to feel closer to that character than I have before, and instead I felt more distant.  I wanted some sense of how Katniss felt about the decisions she'd made over the course of those books and how things had turned out for her, but she almost didn't seem to care about anything (not about her kids, which she admits she only had because Peeta pushed for them; not about how her society is changing or the role she played in making sure her kids won't have to experience Hunger Games).  Which maybe would happen to someone who's been through as much as she has.  But it makes for a pretty depressing ending, if the main character can't show even a little happiness out of having made it to the end of that journey.  (I just re-read the epilogue to confirm my impressions, and I still feel the same way--the closest thing to happiness is when she mentions "joy" when she held her daughter for the first time, but I don't *feel* any joy actually shown in the way it's written.)

So...  It's a book that's stuck with me after reading it, and that affected me a lot while I was reading it.  But in the end I feel kind of unsatisfied.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: andracill on September 03, 2010, 12:32 PM
What disappointed me, though, is a lot of the emotional stuff felt off...

I wanted to see Katniss reacting to things in the moment, rather than just after she'd already had some time to process them. 

I also didn't like that we're almost completely left out of Katniss's thoughts and feelings when she's hearing about Coin's proposed Hunger Games, deciding to shoot her, and then finding out what happened after.  She gets *very* distant at the end.  Honestly, the way it's written, I'm not sure we're even supposed to believe Katniss really loves Peeta. 

I definitely agree, especially with the emotional distance.  It bothered me that Katniss never really recovered her humanity (not that I thought she was a very approachable person, to begin with).  But by the end, she's so cold and calculated in everything -- she refers to her children as Girl and Boy, for crying out loud!

After a few days now, I'm glad I read it, but I'm definitely disappointed with how some things were handled.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Larissa on September 03, 2010, 01:19 PM
I definitely agree, especially with the emotional distance.  It bothered me that Katniss never really recovered her humanity (not that I thought she was a very approachable person, to begin with).  But by the end, she's so cold and calculated in everything -- she refers to her children as Girl and Boy, for crying out loud!

After a few days now, I'm glad I read it, but I'm definitely disappointed with how some things were handled.

Me three.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: mbwest1220 on September 03, 2010, 06:48 PM
I fourth the above (:)). I starting skimming through the last 1/3 of the book just to find out why Katniss was so detached. I love her character and love the HG trilogy in general, but I wanted so much more in this book. Peeta's reaction to Katniss should have sent her over the edge and I wanted to go there with her. Prim's death also felt off to me. I had to flip back to the previous page and read it again to be sure I understood what happened.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Elaine (aka sweetpea) on September 04, 2010, 08:10 AM
Just finished!

To me, the coldness and damage in Katniss, it's subsequent reflection in Peeta, how he struggles to hold on to what is real and precious really is the most moving part of the book. Gale could never really be the counterpart to Katniss because he's got that same anger and fire from a lifetime of neglect and abuse. Gale and Katniss together they would only lead to the destruction, the way that having Coin take over would eventually lead right back to a regime that's based on fear, punishment, retailation and the Hunger Games to keep people in check.

War is brutal and SC did a fantastic job showing this in all the characters. While I agree there was the emotional distance with Katniss after Prim's death, we do get to see her crawl back out of that. She makes The Book to remember it. She lets Peeta back in. I think that even though she's been broken, she is a survivor and that even though she comes across as cold, Katniss does feel. Maybe too much, since she describes her fear over carrying her children, over having all that she's risked and built taken away from her. That's so real to me and so present, just look at all the people she feels responsible for their deaths that haunt her dreams every night.

Last, Finnick--I'm not surprised he died. He is someone who kept one thing pure and good throughout a lifetime of prostituting himself--his love for Annie. Being that this is a story of war and SC's message about how destructive it is, I'm just not surprised something that pure and happy was targeted. Plus, I imagine he was fighting for a better world for his unborn child and for the woman he loves. THAT is a good and noble thing that he would willingly sacrifice himself for. So like Finnick to let the Capital think he's shallow, but be anything but. Now THAT is rebellious!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Pippa on September 09, 2010, 09:04 AM
I couldn't work out why I put Mockingjay down and instantly forgot it, when I wanted it to stick with me like other powerful stories do - it deserved a stronger emotional response from me, darnit!  But I think Whizzbee and Megan nailed the reason for my reaction (or lack of it). It was because Katniss pulled back and became distant.
The ending was all summary! Thanks for putting it so succinctly.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: m_stiefvater on September 10, 2010, 05:02 AM
I was one of those that read it the moment it came out -- I almost never do that. I can't remember the last series book I pre-ordered!

I have to say that the whole "emotional scarring made Katniss distant and is realistic" excuse doesn't hold weight for me, as a writer or as a reader. Because if we were talking about the realistic, emotional effects of violence and war, then Katniss should have been useless in the original HUNGER GAMES book, which was equally savage and emotionally rending for our main character. As a writer, you aim for realism and a compelling story and also a steady character arc. Ideally in a trilogy there should be clues in the first books to how, character-wise, the last book is.

So I went digging through the first two books after finishing Mockingjay, trying to find out why I felt so at odds with Katniss' character arc. And I couldn't believe I'd forgotten about how Katniss hated her mom so much for being weak and catatonic after her father died. So . . . that's what Katniss turned in to?

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: brendasturgis on September 12, 2010, 09:52 AM
Having spent the last 10 days reading the entire trilogy, I came away with a lot of thoughts regarding Katniss. Didn't cry over any of the deaths, but did get teary at the very end when Katniss finally agreed after all those years to have children, and could totally relate to not wanting to because you don't want to get hurt again when somebody dies.

That felt like the most "REAL" thing to me out of all the books. I too wanted the pearl to play some signfigance, and I also wanted the book of her mother's to hold some secrets of their own.

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Jennifer Rush on September 12, 2010, 11:39 AM
I just finished rereading HUNGER GAMES. I'm surprised at how much I missed on my first read and how much I enjoyed the story again the second time around. But I can't believe the Katniss from #1 is the same Katniss of #3. She was definitely more compassionate in the first book, and had such a terrible time hurting anyone or anything. At the same time, one of my favorite scenes is the one where she goes before the Gamekeepers and shoots the apple in the pig's mouth with the bow and arrow! I wish we could have seen more of that, because, as others have said, I didn't think she reacted the way she should have when Peeta attacked her in #3. In #1, she was ready to kill him at the lake at the end when he pulled out the knife (to toss it). So why didn't she fight back when he attacked her in #3?

Another thing that bothered me...the redheaded Avox girl was given so much face time (for a minor character)---why didn't she play a bigger role? I was sure she'd play a significant role somewhere in the book. Instead it was simply mentioned in #3 that she was killed in front of Peeta. Right? Or did I read that wrong? I still haven't read  #2, so perhaps I'm forgetting something...

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: TrueImage on September 13, 2010, 08:28 AM
Yes, you're right. The only thing we got about the Avox girl was her name.

I still feel a little cheated about Madge. I just knew we would see her in MOCKINGJAY. And I was still thinking it could be something between her and Gale. But she was killed with her family when the Capitol bombed District #13.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: HB on September 14, 2010, 10:48 AM
Just finishing Mockingjay yesterday. Mixed feelings here.

It kept me completely riveted. Whenever I had to put the book down I couldn't stop thinking about it until I was able to get back to it again. Powerful stuff. I also feel the ending was what it had to be. It was creepy having people die off camera (Cinna, Madge). But that's war. No final goodbyes, no body to bury, possibly not knowing for years whether someone is dead or alive. Although books usually give a sense of closure, sadly, real life often doesn't.

I found the first two books more hopeful than this one. Even though they're almost starving and forced to send their children to their death every year, the hints of rebellion and growing frustration of the Capital over how the Games are going provide a promise for a better future. In Mockingjay, the future is now. People are dead or broken or mourning and that's as good as it gets. But although I understand the choices the author made, that's not to say I enjoyed it -- I generally avoid dystopian for that exact reason.

I figured Peeta and Gale would both survive. There could be no choice for Katniss to make if one them died. The other would just end up the default. But in the end I didn't feel it was much of a choice anyway. It didn't seem that she loved Peeta more, or felt more passionate about him, but simply that she couldn't forgive Gale for thinking up the bomb. Not that she "wouldn't" but she "couldn't," which doesn't seem like much of a choice on her part. Then Gale left without saying goodbye, never to return, which also seemed to take free choice away from Katniss.

Yes, Finnick was the most tragic death.

Only time I teared up was Buttercup's return. It reminded me of Rue's death. Why could she spend the time mourning the girl she'd known for only a few days when there wasn't time in this book to mourn anyone else?

That brings me to my main issue with the book. Scenes should have an action --> reaction. Instead we had action --> K gets injured and is put into a medically induced coma --> morphine stupor --> summary of what happened while she was sleeping with no emotion since it's old news for everyone else in the room. I don't have a problem with Katniss suppressing her emotions if that's what her character does, but let it be her choice to bury the pain, not just dump her into a coma until everyone else has gotten over the initial mourning / emotions. I felt the book could/should have been longer to deal with the emotional impact of some of events, and to show us certain scenes instead of just telling us. For example, it felt like there were two epilogues -- one summary description of Katniss and Peeta healing and finding each other at last and a second summary description 20 years later.

But still, a powerful, important book that made me feel like I was right there...even if Katniss didn't always seem that way.

Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: mrh on September 27, 2010, 08:27 AM
Just finished this last night. Partway through, I disconnected from the story enough to realize it was way too gory for me but I'd read the first two and unquestionably wanted to find out what happened.

I agree that Finnick's death was the most tragic. I wasn't expecting it, but maybe I should have been. Gale, Peeta and Katniss all had to live, or K's choice would be taken away. You can't just kill the minor characters from team 451. I suppose Finnick had to go. But I worry about Annie. I loved their wedding, and was both comforted and troubled that she has their son, but has to raise him alone. She could only just hold onto sanity WITH Finnick, and now she's a single mom, and what are the chances she'll meet another man who'll really understand -- it's exactly this concern for Annie that makes Finnick's death affecting and real. Also agree that Prim's death hardly touched me. While I appreciated that Prim matured in this book, she has always been more a function than a person -- the whole reason K got into the Hunger Games and everything in Panem changed. In that way, she's just as significant as K, and that's the aspect of P that I most admire. She was just crucially, crucially important, but all the focus is on Katniss.

I really liked the explanation for why K ended up with Peeta. G & K really were too much alike to help each other grow as people. Though Prim's death was the last straw, it was over sooner and I think Gale knew it. When he said "She'll choose whichever one can help her survive," his mind knew this wasn't what HE wanted, even if his heart wasn't completely lined up with his head yet. But actually, I figured the edge went to Peeta when he tried to kill K. I mean that mostly from the writer's POV. Collins was going to redeem Peeta all the way from K's almost-murderer to her husband.

Thought Coin's assassination was a brilliant moment. But what would K have done if Snow hadn't already been in rough shape?

I was aware when I was reading that so much of the beginning was summary, but I appreciated it because I needed it after the long time between books. I did find some of the later summary "cheating." It seemed that when we were really on the brink of something momentous, K ended up incapacitated and we had to hear about it secondhand. While I'm not sure it worked from a pure storyteller's standpoint, I wonder if the reason wasn't to get a little more of the violence offstage.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Kate Kae on September 29, 2010, 08:17 AM
Just finished reading and am still haunted. In the first two books, Peeta brought hope to the story, which was absent in this one. The destruction of his personality was so painful. Then Gale gained ground throughout, but suddenly he was gone to that job in District 2. Sort of like, "Gale is out, Peeta is in. Can't be around him because his idea caused my sister's death." When they've already had SO MUCH to forgive and forget about, and such a deep friendship that involved sacrifice in many forms? Sorry that I must disagree with the consensus; I felt this was weak.

I know war is the worst thing on our planet, but I struggled with the graphic violence, the deaths--especially Finnick's as many of you have said (and Boggs) and for what? Driven by revenge and a desire to end the war, Katniss accomplishes neither. The rebels end the war and she wakes up after it's all over. Her headlong trek into destruction, which causes the death of her friends, was for nothing. By the time Prim died, I was numb.

Katniss did have far more character development, and her self-deprecating comments softened her brash personality which made her overall more likeable. And the rare moments of humor were brilliant. Overall, I won't soon forget this book. Despite having finished it two days ago I'm still haunted (as stated above) and that must prove the impact of the author's writing. Still, it's doubtful I will ever make it through these stories again. I think S.C. might have included the final decision of one last Hunger Games involving the Capitol's children to allow for a companion book in the future, but I won't be able to handle the escalating violence.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: olmue on October 05, 2010, 09:25 AM
After being something like #172 on my library's waiting list, the book finally came in and I read it yesterday. I agree with some of the other comments here. I totally missed that it was Prim who died at the bombing at the end. Seriously, I had to go back and read it again to figure out who that was. Part of me sees that it's one of the reasons Katniss couldn't choose Gale in the end. But part of me is annoyed because this whole choice of K's to play in the games was to save Prim, and she still bit it in the end. Kind of like going through all kinds of stuff and then waking up and it was only a dream. So, I'm in two minds about that one. Also, I would have liked to know what was in her mind when she voted to continue the Hunger Games. What?? It would make sense if she was trying to get Coin to trust her, but there was no actual evidence WHAT was going on in Katniss's mind there.

I did like the change with Peeta; that was a good, new twist for his character. But--but--then things were all glossed over with a summary at the end! I wanted to SEE Katniss choose Peeta. I wanted to SEE him finally get past the stuff inserted in his mind and remember how much he loved her. I wanted to SEE her finally, irrevocably choose him--and it was all told to me after the fact. I'm glad she's happy, I'm glad she was able to move on and at least make a world for her children. That's a much bigger triumph, I think, than if she just went off by herself and nursed her hurts or something. But I just wanted to be there.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: andracill on October 05, 2010, 01:44 PM
I did like the change with Peeta; that was a good, new twist for his character. But--but--then things were all glossed over with a summary at the end! I wanted to SEE Katniss choose Peeta. I wanted to SEE him finally get past the stuff inserted in his mind and remember how much he loved her. I wanted to SEE her finally, irrevocably choose him--and it was all told to me after the fact. I'm glad she's happy, I'm glad she was able to move on and at least make a world for her children. That's a much bigger triumph, I think, than if she just went off by herself and nursed her hurts or something. But I just wanted to be there.

Yes!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Kate Kae on October 12, 2010, 07:42 AM
Yes, all excellent points. That's how I felt too--just being told afterwards about Peeta, etc. was a let-down. And yes, voting for the Hunger Games! Maybe that's true to K's character, though still disappointing. Was nothing learned?

Guess if the author wanted discussion about her book, she achieved her goal...
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Turtle9 on October 15, 2010, 02:33 PM
Just finished it yesterday (had to wait to get a copy)-- and I couldn't put it down once I got it.

Quote
Finnick's death was surprising and terrible--he was a wonderful character--but the weird thing I remember thinking when the mutts got him was "Huh. Maybe she didn't know how to end/continue on with his character." It felt so abrupt and pointless for him to die right then.

Word. I was actually expecting him to die, but thought his death was very anti-climatic. I wished he had gotten a more powerful death scene or scene leading up to his death.

Overall, I liked it. I think my feelings of disappointment stem more from the fact that it's over rather than how it ended. This was the first love triangle I actually liked, and I'm satisfied with how it ended, though they could have done more with Gale's exit.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Marcia on October 16, 2010, 02:20 PM
I’ve just finished listening to the whole trilogy on audio. What a writer! Great pacing and Carolyn McCormick does a fantastic job narrating. I can still hear the voices of all the characters.

I agree with many of your comments. Katniss’s whole goal from the beginning was to save Prim. Her sweetness was shown more in the first books so Prim was fresh in my mind and I couldn’t believe Katniss had to lose her as well. It seemed a bit contrived to have her there just before the bombs.

Like everyone else, I also thought Finnick’s death unfair now that he was finally happy and with Annie.

I agree with PJF on why Katniss pretended to want more hunger games (but I was very surprised not to see a reaction from Peeta on her vote).

If Gale had shown an interest in Madge or that other girl who knew Peeta when he was young, it would have been easier for him to go off and for him and Katniss to remain friends. A bit more emotion between Katniss and Peeta at the end would seal the choice, although I guess Katniss remained true to her strong, reserved personality.

Congratulations to Suzanne Collins for this remarkable saga!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Michael Sussman on October 17, 2010, 10:34 PM
It's just that when I've stuck with a character through three books, by the end I want to feel closer to that character than I have before, and instead I felt more distant.

Yes! I hadn't realized it, but this captures much of my dissatisfaction with MOCKINGJAY.

I thoroughly enjoyed HUNGER GAMES and thought CATCHING FIRE was a good sequel, but I really didn't care for this one. Sure, there were some exciting scenes and clever twists, but I found much of the writing tedious and was eager for the story to end. I thought it was over the top, reminding me of a Hollywood summer blockbuster. The ending was particularly disappointing. SC handled the love triangle so brilliantly throughout the series, and then it just fizzles.

Given that so many kids are "reading up" these days, I am also concerned about the level of violence and cruelty in this last installment. My son, who is 12, was introduced to the series last year when his school librarian read HUNGER GAMES to his fifth grade class. He went on to devour the second book on his own. He started this third one before I had a chance to read it, but now that I have, I've asked him to wait until he's older to read it. I thought he'd put up a fight, given how much he'd liked the first two volumes, but I think he was relieved. The unrelenting violence and dysphoric mood are too overwhelming for a child of his age. I've given him a copy of Tom Sawyer!
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Michael Sussman on October 18, 2010, 08:25 PM
Well, no one is responding, so I guess I'll continue my complaining.  :fury

I wrote my post last night, right after finishing the book. Now, a day later, I feel even more strongly that MOCKINGJAY is poorly written, is a disappointing conclusion to a remarkable series, and is not a book that I'd recommend to teens (or adults.) It is nihilistic and offers no hope to the characters in the story or to humanity.

For an eloquent and incisive (one-star) review, see the second Customer Review (by Suzanne G.) at Amazon:
http://amzn.to/bpq3uY (http://amzn.to/bpq3uY)

She writes:
"To my mind, the purpose of good YA lit is to explore dark topics in a meaningful, well-written way that doesn't leave you in a bog of existential misery. If this is the brave new world into which young adult literature is heading, let me say now that I want no part of it."
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: J-Bert on October 18, 2010, 09:12 PM
I'm wondering, has anyone heard Suzanne Collins speak about MOCKINGJAY yet? Or has she written any thoughts about the book anywhere? I'd be really curious to hear her perspective.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Tabitha on October 19, 2010, 10:24 AM
I would, too.  I had many issues with this final book, many of which have already been voiced so I won't rehash it all.  I think Collins was trying so hard to show the atrocities and futility of war that she forgot about Katniss.  For me, it made the story seem a bit message-y.  But I could have overlooked this if Katniss had been more like her old self.

A few people have said that Katniss was too passive in this book, but I didn't see her that way.  She's still her belligerent self, and she does step up for many an action scene.  However, she spends the bulk of the story reacting to her environment instead of being proactive about getting what she wants.  As a result, she doesn't drive the story.  The story drives her.  That really bothered me.

In HG, she was reactive this way, but it made sense.  Who wouldn't want to hunker down and watch the fallout in your very first Hunger Games?  I would.  :)  In CF, she starts to become more proactive as she tried to get Capitol citizens to see the Hunger Games in a different light.  So, in Mockingjay, I was hoping to see her progress to completely proactive and stop at nothing to save Peeta from Snow's clutches.  After all, she attacked Haymitch at the end of CF because Peeta got left behind, so it didn't make sense to me that she'd fall to pieces after finding herself in an environment not controlled by the Capitol.  I expected her to fight harder, but instead she let everyone else put her into situations where she'd have to react. 

I also had major issues with her concussion experiences.  I've been through a serious concussion, and her experiences weren't realistic in the slightest.  But I suspect not many would share my perspective on this, so I can understand this being acceoted.  Still immensely bothered me, though.

Tabitha
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Michael Sussman on October 19, 2010, 06:04 PM
I'm wondering, has anyone heard Suzanne Collins speak about MOCKINGJAY yet? Or has she written any thoughts about the book anywhere? I'd be really curious to hear her perspective.


Here's the most recent interview I've come across, in the Library School Journal. It's from Aug. 1st, 2010, just before MOCKINGJAY was released.

http://bit.ly/9Xpwk9 (http://bit.ly/9Xpwk9)
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: J-Bert on October 19, 2010, 06:40 PM
Thank you for sharing that, Michael. It was really interesting to read. I had been wondering the same things as you as far as the violence and darkness of the third book. My 10-year-old nephew read HUNGER GAMES and I had mixed feelings about it and him continuing the series. But then I also have mixed feelings about why I have mixed feelings, haha. I thought the themes of war were so painfully realistic in their bleak portrayal, and I have the urge to protect my nephew from being exposed to these horrible aspects of our world. But I also see that protective urge is maybe silly; war, terrorism, genocide, so many awful things are a regular part of our world and maybe it's a good thing for my nephew to be exposed to them first by entering a fictional world that is non-threatening to him. But I still can't help but be a protective aunt.

It was especially interesting in that interview to learn about Suzanne Collin's father, and how much learning about history and war was a part of her childhood. And this quote seemed especially telling, "One of the reasons it’s important for me to write about war is I really think that the concept of war, the specifics of war, the nature of war, the ethical ambiguities of war are introduced too late to children. I think they can hear them, understand them, know about them, at a much younger age without being scared to death by the stories. It’s not comfortable for us to talk about, so we generally don’t talk about these issues with our kids. But I feel that if the whole concept of war were introduced to kids at an earlier age, we would have better dialogues going on about it, and we would have a fuller understanding."
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Michael Sussman on October 19, 2010, 07:46 PM
Yes, I also found it interesting that Collins' father spent his career in the Air Force.

I've always felt that it's vital that children's and YA literature explore dark themes, but whether this is helpful or potentially harmful to readers depends on how authors present their material. As Roald Dahl said: “Fairy tales have always got to have something a bit scary for children - as long as you make them laugh as well.”

The HG trilogy is a fairy tale for teens. In my opinion, the first two volumes worked well because Collins balanced the scary material with humor, romance, and a sense of hopefulness and triumph over dark forces. For me, she failed to achieve this balance in MOCKINGJAY, leaving the reader with only bleak despair.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Kate Kae on October 20, 2010, 08:12 AM
In my opinion, the first two volumes worked well because Collins balanced the scary material with humor, romance, and a sense of hopefulness and triumph over dark forces. For me, she failed to achieve this balance in MOCKINGJAY, leaving the reader with only bleak despair.

Yes, that's exactly it! And in those first two volumes, Peeta's character was the one that brought hope. Once he was reduced to a living shell of what he'd once been, the story sank into despair.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: angela on October 23, 2010, 03:31 AM
“He loved Big Brother”
When I read the last words of MOCKINGJAY, Katniss became Winston Smith for me. The ending was just … tragic.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved all three books and I am in awe of S. C.

Some of the things I LOVED about the book:
1. That 13 wasn’t paradise – and Katniss wasn’t sure she wanted to fight for that type of future (even against Snow)
2. Peeta – finally grew a backbone. He had to lose his mind to do it, but I he actually had some oomph in this book. He was smart, determined to discover real from not-real and self sacrificing (when he saw the video of himself)
3. Plutarch – he was larger than life and consistent throughout the story…what a character!
4. The fake war scenes set-up by 13 to rally the rebels against the capitals --- bombing the hospital in 8 with planes wearing the capital’s seal (and the final blow at the end).
5. The tension of the love triangle was real, thought about (and talked about) by all parties and not just something Katniss tried not to think about.

If I could have MOKCINGJAY customized…the “Angela version” would include:
1. Gale and Katniss having a real talk about life in 13 and the future of Panem.
2. Katniss calling Gale out for being such a Coin-bot!
3. They would also have a conversation about battle after Gale’s first.
4. The pearl would come into play. See 5
5. Katniss would CHOOSE Peeta during the trek to the capital (she seemed to be choosing him anyway –refusing to kill him when ordered, not wanting to give him up, keeping him with the group despite the fact that he was a danger).  Something like this: When he asked about the last hunger games and the kiss ‘real or not real’, Katniss would kiss him in front of everyone (yes, even Gale) and say “Real” and hand him the pearl.
NOTE: I have always been Team Gale, but I could tell in MOCKINGJAY that Katniss was choosing Peeta.
6. I realize that Katniss was a loner before the reaping in HG 1, so I didn’t expect her to ever become a social butterfly. But (as this is the “Angela version”) I desperately wanted one simple action, a small gesture from Katniss to be part of the community. When others were clearing the wreckage that was district 12 away, Katniss lending a hand…pushing a wheelbarrow, clearing a house out, even tearing down that despised fence would have been perfect.
7. I know in Katniss really lost her mother when her father died, but I would have welcomed one line in the epilogue about her mother ---at least visiting the grandkids…or an invitation to her from Peeta and Katniss to visit if she ever wanted.

Yes, it was clear to me that Katniss wanted to kill Coin the moment she learned about 13s imposter planes that killed Prim—the idea of another version of the HG only sealed the deal. I liked the tie in to her earlier pleas for Annie’s safety and Coin’s reassurance “we never convict the mentally ill” and how this policy later played out to save K’s life after she caused the death of Coin.

Me and my girls love HGs, but I haven’t read MOCKINGJAY to my youngest yet –she’s 10 and not ready for Orwell either! HG1 & 2 will always be two of my favorite adventure stories. And Kaniss and Gale are true adventurers to me (like Lyra and Will). MOCKINGJAY is in a different category. My last thought with MOCKINGJAY will always be:  Snow won. (Yeah, I get that he’s dead…but where Katniss is concerned, Snow won.)
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Kate Kae on October 26, 2010, 08:07 AM
Angela,

I vote for your version! You came up with a lot of small scenarios that would have tied up all  those loose ends and made it a more satisfying read. You should be an editor.

Like you, I was very much into the first two novels, but now don't want to loan out my copy of Mjay to others because I don't feel I can support the over-the-top violence. Despite our desensiivity, definitely not fare for a ten-year-old.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: YAchicka on October 26, 2010, 08:58 AM
Ooo, really like your 5 and 6 suggestions Angela!  :yup
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Michelle DP on October 26, 2010, 11:46 AM
I read Mockingjay through really fast the first time (skimming a lot of the violence because I don't generally like that much graphic violence) and I have been slowly rereading because I suspect I missed a few things. I had thought to respond after my second reading, but I can't help saying a few things.

1. The pearl - I felt the whole point of the pearl was that it was given to her by Peeta. In my opinion, Katniss carrying the pearl everywhere showed that subconsciously she had already chosen Peeta. I know a lot of people wanted to see Katniss actually choose between Gale and Peeta, but I didn't think that was in her personality. Given a choice, she would choose to be alone and keep her heart protected. That's why it's so huge in the end when she chooses to have children because Peeta wants them. That is her ultimate profession of love for Peeta.

2. Gale - At the end of CF I thought of the different ways the triangle could turn out. I was kind of expecting Katniss to lose both of them. One of the scenarios was that Gale would go too dark in his thirst for revenge. Katniss is cold at times, she is a capable killer, but she isn't dark inside. I think that in reality the end for Gale and Katniss was when he conceived the idea for the bomb--the fact that he was capable of coming up with that scenario--and that he shared the idea with the military. Prim's death was the final nail in the coffin. I think it is telling that Gale settles in District 2--the district that produces peacekeepers.

3. I didn't  really expect what happened to Peeta, but I thought it was an interesting twist. I think we do see him regain himself and remember his love for Katniss in the scene when he is losing himself and she begs him to stay with her and he says "always."

4. Prim's Death - That took me by surprise, but it had a full circle feel to it. With all that happened in between I had forgotten that everything began with Prim--and that's how it ended. After I got over my shcked outrage, I realized that it was really the only way the story could end. Of course, her death didn't really strike me until the scene with the cat, but that scene made me cry. I believe 100% that Coin was behind Prim's death. Coin's distrust/dislike of Katniss was threaded throught the book--as was Coin's need for Katniss's support. The few thing's we know about District 13 are that they value children, and that they are extremely contolled with a type-a attention to detail. This leads me to believe that Prim's presence on the front line was deliberately planned by someone able to manipulate the system, i.e. Coin in an attempt to manipulate Katniss.

5. I agree that it would have been great to know what Katniss was thinking when she voted for the final hunger games, but I honestly don't know how S.C. could have pulled that off and still preserved the surprise of Katniss shooting Coin. I think Katniss agreed to the game in order to convince Coin that her strategy worked. That's why Haymitch voted with her--because Haymitch was smart enough to work out what happened and he knew how Katniss thought. Looking back, I wonder if the whole meeting wasn't some sort of test of loyalty by Coin.

6. I think it is chilling that Putarch the gamemaster is one of the few people to come through this whole thing unscathed. It appeals to the cynical side of me.


Finally, I think Suzanne Collins is a brilliant writer. I don't usually read books this violent or this dark, but these books were extremely well-written, and I am in awe of her talents. I found all three books to be rather dark and bleak and I rather expected this one to be darker and bleaker because it was the end of the series. I was actually looking forward to there not being a hunger games in this book and I nearly cried when Finnick and Katniss recognized that the battle ground was actually an arena.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: kidlit59 on February 03, 2011, 10:44 PM
I really enjoyed Books 1 & 2 and had trouble putting them down, but Book 3 was a disappointment to me. I got lost in the characters and plot of the first two, but in the final book, I was jarred out of the story by the constant messaging. I felt like the first two books sucked me into the story so the third could teach me a lesson. I realize many others didn't have the same reaction and felt the third book was brilliant. I wanted it to be, but unfortunately, for me, it wasn't. I did finish it, but not out of burning desire, but more of a "I've come this far, might as well see it through to the end" attitude. All in all, I loved the first two books so much more than I disliked the third that I'm still recommending the trilogy to my friends and family.

I did feel that there were a lot of storylines started and then left dangling, like the pearl and the red-haired Avox. I would have liked to have seen those plot elements woven back into the story at the end.   
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Kate Kae on February 04, 2011, 11:20 AM
Good points, all.

Yes, the red haired Avox... I prefer all things wrapped up at the end.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: Jenna on April 15, 2011, 02:28 PM
I loved loved loved loved loved Mockingjay. Did I mention that I loved it?
I'm so glad that SC didn't Disney-fy the ending. I'm glad that Katniss didn't end up some sort of Greek goddess heroine. I'm glad that Peeta was hijacked, that Gale made those decisions, that Prim and Finnick died. It's all so realistic to me. I could pluck out so many things from it and say, "Yes, this applies to us." I always wondered what I would do in the situations presented in the book.
And I don't think Katniss was passive in Mockingjay either. In the beginning she was by not wanting to be the face of the rebellion, but after being used so much and being treated as a puppet, why wouldn't she not want to work for them? And then at the Capitol she took initiative and decided she was going to go and kill Snow. And then at the end, she decided to kill Coin. She was active, certainly not all the time, but I thought it consistent with the attitude of a seventeen-year-old girl who's been used like no other.

And for those curious about the pearl, someone went to a book signing for Mockingjay and asked SC about that and she said it probably got lost in the explosion. But she also said that whatever we want to happen to it, happened to it. She seriously gives her readers so much room for imagination. If it wasn't explained in the book, whatever you want to happen, happened.
And my goodness I could write an essay on that pearl. It was definitely a symbol between P/K though and their relationship.
Title: Re: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (SPOILER ALERT!)
Post by: m_stiefvater on April 16, 2011, 08:11 AM
But she also said that whatever we want to happen to it, happened to it. She seriously gives her readers so much room for imagination. If it wasn't explained in the book, whatever you want to happen, happened.

Not to open a can of worms, but I don't think this is good enough. I never want to underestimate my readers' intelligence, but I think if it's important, you know what actually happened and you place the clues in there. And as to being completely realistic? I think a commercial writer imposes meaning on chaotic events -- a true snapshot of realistic life has no plot or character arcs, and that, I think, is the core of story-telling.