Well, I'm back! Actually, I've been reading and reviewing, but mostly for HNS in the past month. This is the first book (purchased through Amazon) that I've been able to post a review on my blog for in a while, and it's a doozy! I'm noticing the polarizing reviews over on the big A; amazing how some people get so bent when a book/trilogy doesn't end precisely as they'd planned for it to. Don't these people realize THEY don't own the characters, no matter how much they love them? Guess not, judging from some of the poor reviews Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins has received (though I am pleased that it's not been totally panned, unlike Breaking Dawn). Anyway, FWIW, I'm posting my own review below.
It took me nearly a week to read Mockingjay. Not that it's an overly long book, or so dull I couldn't stay with it, but because I wanted to luxuriate inside its pages for as long as possible. And once I did finish, I felt an overwhelming sadness to leave Katniss and her world behind, though much satisfaction at how it all played out. Maybe it wasn't precisely as I'd pictured, but it certainly felt right after fighting alongside Katniss through two Hunger Games and the start of a revolution.
Just to sum up Mockingjay's major points: We pick up the story as Katniss has awoken in District 13, lifted out of the arena by Haymitch and Co., leaving Peeta behind to face the devastation wrought when the arena exploded. Katniss, frail in both body and spirit, must come to terms with her unwilling abandonment of Peeta and the new life she must face as the symbol of the fight against the Capitol. Known as the Mockingjay, she now has the power to rouse the other Districts, yet she continually finds herself at odds with those around here and always aware of how Peeta must be suffering because of her deeds. Along the way, Katniss must also come to terms with her feelings for Gale and the loss of lives that can be laid at her feet. It's almost more than she can handle.
I loved every page of Mockingjay, though this Katniss is somewhat removed from her earlier incarnations. However, I found that in itself realistic: just how much can a teenager be expected to endure before she shuts down or cracks? Katniss is still, at heart, the Katniss we've known and loved, yet she walks a thin line between doing what's right and knowingly placing herself and others in danger. And when it comes down to it, she's still no good at following rules or even listening to authority.
It's exceedingly hard for an author to end a beloved series in the way everyone hoped because we all have our visions for how we'd like to see it end. However, Ms. Collins takes us into unexpected territory with Katniss; we see a softer, fragile girl who once again rises to the occasion against all odds. I confess to shedding a few tears when the major loss came to Katniss, though other losses were almost as devastating. My most minor quibble is the amount of time Katniss spends unconscious and recovering, but I can forgive the author that because I came away with a feeling of resolution that felt...well, just felt right. Along the way, I came across moving scenes that made my heart wrench and fevered chases that made it race, and I ultimately feel as though Katniss and her world were done justice. Highly, highly recommended for those with an open mind to all possibilities.