Friday, January 7, 2011

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you've all had a good week. My week started out badly but so far is ending on a good note. As I mentioned on Wednesday, I had received a rejection on my manuscript, Demon Reincarnate. However, the information I received was not the "official" letter, simply a response to my follow up. So when I received the official letter today, which was suppose to explain why they were rejecting the manuscript, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't a rejection at all! Instead, it was a request for me to revise parts of the manuscript and resubmit. Woo hoo! That is good news because that means the publisher is extremely interested--enough so that the editor is willing to reread it.

On a somewhat bittersweet note, I also received another rejection in the mail today on a partial I had out with an agent. While rejections are never fun, this one was personalized and she had a lot of nice things to say about my writing--although she said the story didn't fit her list, according to her (and her colleagues who she passed the manuscript to), I "clearly have talent", and am  "very good at creating tension." She even suggested a children's authors organization for me to join to 'nurture my talent'. As far as rejections go, it was a very good one.

Then to top it all off, I finished this wonderful little book called, Mockingjay. Now onto the review!

Synopsis: "Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss' 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' 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."

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

First Sentence: "I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather." Not a very invigorating first sentence, but the first few paragraphs and first page as a whole are definitely interesting.

Beefs: I'm absolutely in love with this series, but I wasn't a huge fan of this book's ending. I'll elaborate more on that below. (SPOILERS AHEAD): My main beef with this book is Peeta's brainwashing. She changes his character and taints the rest of his and Katniss' relationship--forever. That kind of ruined the romance for me. I also didn't like the turn she took with Gale's character in making him become a ruthless fighter and severing his and Katniss' friendship. Further, I didn't like how Katniss' mom abandoned her after Prim's death. I was happy that Katniss' killed President Coin, however, I wish she had also killed Snow, rather than him being trampled to death. (SPOILERS FINISHED).

Brownie Points: Perhaps I said this in my review of the second novel, Catching Fire, but Suzanne Collins is a master at what we writers call "black moments." Black moments are good because it puts the characters at their ultimate low, which allows us to identify with them on a very basic, human level--we all suffer at some point in some way. Every time I think that it can't possibly get any worse for Katniss and her friends/family, I'm proven completely wrong. Yet while Collins loads on the pain and torture, she manages to walk that tight line between the perfect amount and overkill with total grace. Not once during the entire series did I think she went overboard with the torture.

Ending: My main beef with the ending was how bleak it was. Katniss had to lose absolutely everything and everyone she loved before she was able to be with Peeta, and even then, her relationship with Peeta was tainted because of the Capitol. Even the epilogue about their future was bleak, thanks to the very last sentence about having to explain the Games. I would have preferred just a slightly more hopeful ending. Not necessarily happy, just hopeful.

Recommendation and General Comments:
I am in LOVE with this series. I'm completely, head over heels, ga-ga in love with it. It is now filed on my bookshelf next to the Harry Potter novels--that is the highest honor a book can have. The Hunger Games is excellently written, perfectly plotted, and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the whole series. As the old saying goes, "I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me". I can't say enough good things about this series. I liked it so much that I'm writing one of my graduate school entrance essays (it has to be about YA literature) on The Hunger Games. Everyone should read this book. Whether or not you are a fan of young adult or dystopian literature, this series is something that everyone should at least try. Though the final book in the series was my least favorite of the three and though I had a few qualms with it, I still give Mockingjay, as well as the whole Hunger Games Trilogy, a rating of full moon!

This is the mother of all recommendations. You NEED to read these books. There is nothing I can say to give them the proper amount of praise.

Would I aspire to write like this author? 
Absolutely. The way Suzanne Collins can create tension and conflict, along with her plotting abilities, is beyond amazing and the thought of someday having abilities like that (psssh, I freaking wish!) is enough to make this YA author salivate. It would be a dream come true to write as well as Suzanne Collins one day.

Hope you guys enjoyed the review! Check back in on Monday for an update on the 250 follower giveaway! You won't want to miss it! And don't forget to check out our usual blog hops posted below. Til Monday ;-)

Book Blogger Hop

The question for Crazy-for-Books blog hop this week is: "What book influenced or changed your life and how did it change you?"

The Harry Potter series. This is my all time favorite series and I'll tell you why. I was considered a "non-reader" until I was in the 4th grade and I struggled in school--not for lack of effort, but because I could barely read. It wasn't until my fourth grade teacher, Ms. McCartney, starting reading us Harry Potter during recess that I took an interest in books. She let me borrow the Sorcerer's Stone and take it home over Christmas Break. For Christmas that year, my mom bought me all the books in the series (which at the time was only the first three). After that, I was in love. I reread those books over and over and over and over again until my reading comprehension and abilities sky-rocketed. Eventually, I branched out to other novels, but it all started with Harry Potter. Without that series, I probably would've continued to struggle in school, and chances are I wouldn't have gotten into a good college, or into any college at all, because of my struggles and I certainly would've never been a writer. Harry Potter changed the course of my entire life and I'm forever grateful. I just hope that some day, my books can do the same for another child. That's why I write YA literature.


  1. Wow, that is a great reason for loving Harry Potter! I'm not sure if it was life changing for me personally, but I can't argue with the fact that they did influence my reading habbits. :)
    Have a nice weekend!

  2. Hopping through. It's wonderful that Harry Potter was so good for you!
    Happy weekend!
    My Hop

  3. Just hopping by - have a great weekend! Stop by The Wormhole sometime! Happy reading!

  4. Lex and Alison--I think Harry Potter influenced a lot of people. I definitely think I am not a minority. It got so many kids to read, who had never done so before. I just hope my books will do the same thing one day. Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

    Beverly--Thanks for stopping in! =)