Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Mockingjay”

Alli’s #CBR4 Reviews 40 + 41: Catching Fire + Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So I have been unable to complete these reviews for a few reasons, I am going through a rough time personally and I just haven’t been able to get them typed up so I decided to combine them into one and just say a few things about how I felt about these two books.

I think most people have either read these books or if they haven’t then they shouldn’t read reviews since I don’t like spoilers. But to each his own so if you want to read on then you might get spoiled. I am not going to do a plot summary or anything but as I type on who knows what will come out.

I really enjoyed both of these books. One of the best parts was being able to share my excitement with my coworker who lent me the last book. These books won’t change your life, but they were sure entertaining to me. I am looking forward to seeing the movie versions as well.

Read the rest on my blog


llp’s #CBR IV Review 12: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


I finished this book several months ago, and am regretfully so far behind in my reviews… Mockingjay was great, an excellent end to a very satisfying trilogy.

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #36: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So I pretty much almost exploded from conflicting emotions the last time I read this book. I was torn between liking/loving certain things and being SO UPSET and BETRAYED about others, and also the rational part of my brain that isn’t affected by feelings (so, the small part) realized that there was a reason for the way things turned out, but the majority of my brain was like FUCK YOU, BOOK. It was extra upsetting being so conflicted, so basically I was upset about being upset. It was just a fuckstorm of emotion*, I’m telling you. Thankfully, this time through, I was way less conflicted, and I’m glad to say I was actually able to enjoy myself.**

*I am copyrighting this phrase and am now going to use it at all times.

**You know what else is a fuckstorm of emotion? The season four finale of Doctor Who, which I spent all of Friday night watching for the millionth time, and you probably don’t care, but I don’t care that you don’t care. Watch Doctor Who, motherfuckers.

One of the reasons, probably the main reason, that I was so upset the first time through is that I was under the very wrong impression that just because this was a YA book, that meant it was going to have a YA ending. Instead, Collins goes to the dark place and she doesn’t back down. This series is a story about war and how war is always always bad and does terrible things to people, whether it’s making them into victims or unwillingly participants, or making them do awful things in the name of justice and victory. This is a story about how people in power will always, always use the people underneath them, for good or evil. Collins’ whole thing is that war makes people forget about the humanity of it all, which is what the Hunger Games was about: keeping the people of the Capitol happy like fat little sheep, providing them entertainment and dehumanizing the rebellious districts to the point where the people of those districts weren’t real. So of course, yeah: that kind of story isn’t going to have a happy ending. It’s going to have an ending that enforces all the above points, and it’s going to kick all of its characters when they’re down, maybe even after, because otherwise the spectacle of this series would end up just being as cheap and awful for us as the Hunger Games are to the characters in this book.

So yeah, all the crap that happens in this book is still awful, and it still hurt to read, but the pain was a dull one, and the betrayal I felt over what I thought Collins had done to her characters turned into this sort of awful sadness about why she had done it in the first place. Yeah, she corrupted Peeta, ruined something pure, but war ruins beautiful things. That real/not real game he and Katniss play near the end (that they inherited from Finnick and Annie)? It’s representative of that very thing, that the two of them have seen so many horrible things that they’re not even sure what’s real anymore. Just awful. And yeah, she killed Finnick for practically no reason. That journey in the sewers, that mission, it had no real purpose, and it’s only REAL consequence was the death of Prim. Yeah, she killed Prim. Prim needed to die for Katniss to realize that Coin was just as bad as Snow in her way, that Katniss’s real enemies are those who take her choices away from her, who take people’s humanity as their own possessions and use it to move them around like chess pieces, as if it were some game at stake and not real life.

And I genuinely enjoyed some stuff: Katniss assassinating Coin instead of Snow, that last scene with Buttercup (heartbreaking as it is), Katniss’s reasons for being with Peeta . . . and of course, “Well, don’t expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.” They better not cut that part out of the movie; I’ll boycott, I swear! (No, I won’t.)

[Crossposted on Goodreads.]

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #13: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

So, the final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay (2010) by Suzanne Collins… I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to write this review, but it’s probably a safe assumption that I’ll be throwing out spoilers for all three books.

Click here to read the entire review (and it is full of spoilers). Although I enjoyed the series, I was a little disappointed with it in the end.

Malin’s #CBR4 Review #26: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

This book is the third in The Hunger Games trilogy and this review WILL contain spoilers for both The Hunger Games (Book 1) and Catching Fire (Book 2). So skip over this if you’ve managed to avoid the series so far. You really should read the books, though. : )

Katniss Everdeen has survived not one, but two Hunger Games, and is now a wanted criminal. Her home district in Panem has been completely destroyed, but luckily her best friend Gale and her family, as well as a few hundred survivors have been rescued and taken to the believed to be destroyed District 13. While Katniss is still alive, she’s not allowed any respite. The survivors of District 13 have rebuilt their civilization underground, and manage to feed, clothe, train and educate everyone through rigid order. They are now in open rebellion against the Capitol and want Katniss to help them mobilize the rest of the country by operating as a figurehead and symbol, the Mockingjay.

“My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely he is dead. It is possibly best if he is dead…”

While Katniss was rescued from the 75th Hunger Games by District 13, Peeta was not, and it turns out that there are fates worse than death. Peeta appears to support the cause of the Capitol, and begs Katniss and the rebels to agree to a peace treaty. Katniss agrees to be the Mockingjay on the condition that Peeta (and some of the other surviving Hunger Games contestants unaccounted for) be rescued, and not executed as traitors. Until he is, it’s quite obvious that President Snow is torturing him specifically to try to break Katniss’ spirit, and through her the rebellion.

Is Katniss right to agree to be a figure head for a civil war she wants no part of? While she has survived the Hunger Game arena twice, it’s quite clear that war, politics and propaganda are just as deadly a game to traverse, and she has to make sure her loved ones are safe. She lives with the knowledge that District 12 was destroyed in retaliation of her actions, that Peeta is being tortured because of her, and that if she steps a foot out of line as figurehead, she could endanger the lives of the loved ones she has left. Unable to truly trust anyone, she has to make the best of a dreadful situation, and hope that things turn out right in the end.

While I thought that Catching Fire became a bit of a rehash of the first book in the series, Collins takes the book and her heroine in a different direction in Mockingjay. The districts of Panem are now in open rebellion, and while the first books had fights to the death as televised entertainment and a way to keep the population cowed and contolled, this book depicts full on civil war. Katniss is still so young, but forced to make nearly impossible decisions, to keep herself and her loved ones safe. She’s racked with guilt about Peeta, who’s being tortured and brainwashed by the Capitol and President Snow. She feels conflicted towards Gale, who seems to excel  and thrive at guerilla warfare and advanced weapons development. She knows that District 13 and its President need her to act as figurehead, but that also that because of her popularity, she may not live long once the war is over, no matter what side emerges victorious.

I didn’t have books like this when I was a teenager, that’s for sure. I kept putting off reading Mockingjay because the previous two books were so dark, and I had heard this one was especially bleak. However, The Hunger Games trilogy are now the publishing phenomena of the season, with a very good film adaptation in the cinemas, and teenagers everywhere devouring the books. Three of the teenage girls I teach claimed that they couldn’t do their homework properly (which among other things, involves writing a reading log), because they were worried they were going to spoil the book for me. Obviously, I can’t give my pupils excuses to skip their homework, so I devoured the book in the course of a weekend, and can now with authority join in the discussion of whether Team Peeta or Team Gale should win. I certainly think teenage girls (and boys) have much better role models in these books than they get in the Twilight books. Collins certainly can’t be accused of underestimating the intelligence or maturity levels of teens, and teens today could do much worse than reading and discussing these books. A very good (if bleak) ending to an engrossing series.

Originally posted on my blog:


xoxoxoe’s #CBR4 Review #14: Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

Steer clear if you don’t want to know about major plot points in Mockingjay, the third and final book in the The Hunger Games series.

“War is Hell” may be a phrase heard so often to have become a cliche, but Suzanne Collins’s final book in her Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, doesn’t let its heroine or readers forget the reality or power of those three words for an instant. The action picks up right where Catching Fire left off. Katniss Everdeen has been scooped up out of the arena of the 75th Hunger Games and taken to District 13, which has not only survived its rumored destruction, but has rebuilt itself into a police state, run uber-efficiently by the forbidding President Coin.

“My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is alive. He is a traitor, but alive. I have to keep him alive…”

Katniss may have made it out of the arena, but her sometime fiance and friend, Peeta Mellark, was left behind and the evil President Snow has wasted no time in torturing and exploiting the boy, trying to quash Katniss’s role as the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol’s tyranny. Katniss is so upset about her friend and so unsure about the way of life in District 13 that she is an unwilling rebel leader. President Coin, childhood friend Gale, mentor Haymitch, and others must persuade her to take on her role. But who can she trust?

“I’m sick of people lying to me for my own good. Because it’s really mostly for their own good.”

Katniss is more at home in her beloved woods

Katniss is a free spirit. She thrives in the open air. But District 13 is the opposite of freedom. It is sterile, with every hour of the day of its residents accounted for; the food portioned out based on body weight. Coin and her team want Katniss to be the Mockingjay — on their terms. But she negotiates some terms of her own, including immunity for Peeta and the other Hunger Games champions who have been captured and possibly brainwashed, a la The Manchurian Candidate. As much as Katniss doesn’t want to give up on Peeta, once he has been brought to District 13 she is so upset at his altered behavior that she avoids him. Katniss can’t seem to function inside four walls. Outside in the arena, Katniss could be free and use her hunter’s instincts to protect Peeta and others. Inside the cell-like atmosphere of 13 she shuts down.

“I sit back on my bed cross-legged and find myself rubbing the smooth iridescent surface of the pearl back and forth against my lips. For some reason, it’s soothing. A cool kiss from the giver himself.”

Collins keeps hinting at where Katniss’s heart really lies by having her cherish a pearl, a gift from Peeta. The pearl was such a nice symbol, it was a little strange that it didn’t occur to the character (or author?) to have Katniss use it to help deprogram Peeta, or at least have her show it to him at some juncture. But it just disappeared after a point and was never referred to again.

Where Katniss finally does get an opportunity to feel more at home is on the field. Coin and Co. really just want to use the Mockingjay for pro-Rebel propaganda film clips, but Katniss manages to go on a few missions where she sees the horrors of war first-hand. Back at the weapons lab she is even more horrified when she sees her friends Gale and Beetee working on weapons that are meant to destroy the innocent. When will these games and toys that kill children ever end?

While she debates how deeply she wants to get involved in the rebellion, Katniss is also still bouncing back and forth a little between Peeta and her longtime friend Gale, but it should be clear to anyone who can read between the lines that Peeta is the one who truly holds her heart, even if Katniss can’t quite see it until almost the last page. Sorry, Gale fans.

Katniss and Collins have much more on their minds than which cute guy she should choose. Katniss is in the middle of a horrible, bloody, civil war, and she is as much of a pawn as ever. She and her fellow arena survivors are all suffering from post-traumatic stress. Katniss has had to grow up fast and watch people she loves be tortured and even killed in front of her eyes. Mockingjay pulls no punches. It is violent and at times heartbreaking. There are no real winners in a civil war. Katniss learns that the Hunger Games never really end. One of the most harrowing passages happens right at the beginning of the novel, when Katniss tours the rubble that was once her home.

“I stared down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather. This is where the bed I shared with my sister, Prim, stood.”

As much as there are some shattering things that happen to our hero, Mockingjay is not ultimately a downer. Katniss grows up. She loses a lot, but she also learns what she needs. She will never really be free of the Games and the horrors that she lived through, but she can still sing and she can still get through each day and finally open her heart to love Peeta. She may worry about telling their children about their pasts — as her parents kept things from her, and many parents shield their children.

There were many scenes in the book that should seem familiar to anyone who has seen footage or interviews with people who lived through World War 2 or Vietnam or any other modern war. People will always seize at life and try to put starvation, concentration camps, and other horrors of war behind them, but they will never forget. There is a scene at the end of Mockingjay with Prim’s cat Buttercup, that had me in tears, as it is often the little, human things, the day-to-day parts of life that we take for granted that are so often threatened or obliterated by war. Young people certainly need fun, adventure, and fantasy in their lives, and the Harry Potter series fills that bill, but The Hunger Games trilogy, as quick and addictive a read as they are, also has something to say. About life. About our past, our present, and hopefully, never about our future.

You can read more of my pop culture reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e

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xoxoxoe’s #CBR4 Review #13: Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Steer clear if you don’t want to know about major plot points in Catching Fire, the second book in the The Hunger Games series.

Like Theseus, the Greek mythical hero that she is patterned on, Katniss Everdeen can be kind of a dope sometimes. She is incredibly instinctive and resourceful and clever, but completely incapable of seeing the bigger picture. She is also seventeen years old, and even though she has helped support her family since her father’s death, and been in tons of life-threatening situations, she has also led a sheltered life. A born rule-breaker, she managed to survive and win the Hunger Games with her fellow district competitor, Peeta Mellark at her side, the first time the Games has ever had two champions in one year.

Sinister President Snow sees the double winners as a direct challenge to his authority and places all the blame with Katniss. As she and Peeta embark on a victory tour of the nation, he visits her and threatens her. She must help quell any rebellious feelings that may be stirring in the districts, or he will come down hard and fast on her and her friends and family. It is soon clear as they travel that the two young winners and “lovers” presence is having the absolute opposite effect desired by Snow, as Katniss and her token, the mockingjay, are taken up as a symbol of hope and a rallying cry to end the oppression by the Capitol.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss and Liam Hemsworth as Gale in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games

The love triangle is still pretty unconvincing in the second book, and ultimately not as important to the story as what is happening in Panem. We like the two guys she likes, sort of, but we never really get to know them, as Katniss doesn’t seem to know them very well, either. Sex and love are something she is clearly unprepared for. If there wasn’t a Twilight series, one feels that author Suzanne Collins and her heroine could concentrate on what really interests them — the politics of Panem and the coming-of-age of Katniss and the difficult moral choices she continually faces. If Collins really wants the love triangle to feel a bit less lop-sided in the final book, Mockingjay, she better tell us more about Gale, who right now is just the strong silent type.

When Collins isn’t having Katniss puzzle over the teenage problem of who she really likes the most, she is telling the reader more details about Panem and the rebellion that Katniss and her mockingjay symbol helped jumpstart in the first novel, The Hunger Games. There are times that Catching Fire feels like it’s treading water a bit, with expository paragraphs recapping what happened in the first book. Are there really readers who, not having read The Hunger Games, would pick this one up first? Should the author really care about them so much?

We see all the characters through Katniss’s eyes and narration, so the reader must at times fill in the blanks, or finds themself actually ahead of Katniss in terms of evil President Snow’s plotting. This tends to keep all the other characters rather sketchy, but they are still interesting and appealing enough to stand out, especially Peeta Mellark, their mentor Haymitch, fellow Hunger Games champion Finnick, and stylist Cinna.

Donald Sutherland as President Snow in the upcoming film.

When the action takes us back into the arena, I was a little ticked off (pun intended), but the pacing is great and there are enough surprises to indicate that the series is really going somewhere. It’s not just a “which cute guy should I choose” or a first book reboot. Collins has something to say about war and governments and the innocent ones who get caught in the crossfire. Her story isn’t heavy-handed, but it will be interesting to see if a sequel that so clearly illustrates oppressive governments and corrupt society will have an effect on the belief systems of young readers who grew up loving these characters and re-reading the books.

The other nice thing about this series is that with all of the science fiction-like creatures and threats that encompass Katniss’s world, she and the other main character, Peeta, are really just a couple of kids who are doing their best to keep each other alive. Unlike a lot of other YA fiction, Katniss isn’t a vampire or a wizard or anything “special” except a very resourceful young lady. As frustrating as she may be at times — she has a tendency to get a hold of the wrong end of the stick and fiercely pursue it — she is brave and real and we can’t help rooting for her. Or hesitate grabbing up the final book in the series and see how it all comes out.

You can read more of my pop culture reviews on my blog, xoxoxo e

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