Friday, June 15, 2012

And so we came to the end (of a series)

Book: Mockingjay

Author: Suzanne Collins

Published: 2010 (Scholastic)

Pages: 390

Let's get straight to the ending! That's all I ever wanted from this trilogy anyway.

I liked it. I thought it was mildly shocking in a way that made sense. I loved how it leaned hard on the theme of "who exactly is the bad guy here?" that this book spent like 300 pages developing. There were enough broad hints about SPOILER ALERT NO SERIOUSLY I AM ABOUT TO DESTROY ALL YOUR SURPRISES District 13 President Coin that Katniss shooting her instead of Snow was an inspired last-minute instinct.
But the lead-up to it reminded me of watching Doctor Who and noticing that they're just now getting into trouble when there's 10 minutes left in the episode. These storylines can go two ways: a rushed ending or a two-parter. Obviously the two-parter scenario is ideal because it means I have a built-in excuse to watch more Doctor Who, but Mockingjay made me considerably more nervous because there was for sure nothing else after I finished it.

And it manages to wrap up in a timely fashion by one of the most annoying tropes I've noticed in this series: Katniss getting seriously injured and whisked away to treatment in the middle of the action. She, and consequently we, hear about the most interesting bits of battles and such through second-hand pure exposition.
I thought the whole point of her being the Mockingjay was that she would be put in exactly the right place to witness and show everything as it was happening. I expect that from all my protagonists, guys.

I did love how the rebels were aware of and could use media manipulation just as well as the Capitol. That's been my favorite part of the series and really put the focus on the ambiguity of each side, like, if they use the same propaganda techniques--if they both use propaganda at all, how can we tell which side tells the truth? How can we tell if there's a truth at all? I totally couldn't, and I never fully trusted those District 13 bastards anyway.
But oh my god did I want there to be so much more of a psychological showdown with President Snow! He showed how good he is at being creepy with flowers--flowers, y'all! And then when Katniss didn't shoot him, I was all, "OH SNAP [regrettably, I really do say this out loud; am trying to train it out of myself] they're going to psyche each other out SO HARD for the COUNTRY!"

Nope. He dies choking and getting crushed like two minutes later, and she hears about this from...say it with me now...her hospital bed. 

Now we get to talk about Peeta and how every time I hear someone say his name out loud, I think of Elaine and her "Stellaaaaaaaah!" He felt plot-device-y in this one. And my apologies; I reread Catching Fire while waiting to borrow Mockingjay, and holy crap is there for sure some teen love angst going on there. I missed it because Collins is so dang good at plot. I forgive her so much for that. And honestly, Peeta and Katniss bonded in blood. Twice. They know the most horrible experiences of each others' lives, and they know what the other went through, and they know just exactly how much they both need a little peace. Gale sounds like he's hotter than Peeta, though.
So what'd you guys think of how this series ended? How'd you think the series worked as a whole?

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