17. Mockingjay

Katniss Everdeen awakes to District 13 (the rebels) and to the destruction of her home District 12.  She doesn’t know what awaits her after her second adventure in the games.  The dystopian world of Panem takes a complicated turn for the worst and Katniss has to figure out who she can trust, what is expected from her, and who she loves –  Gale or Peeta.

I finally finished Mockingjay after reading off and on for two weeks.  I can’t say I loved this book like The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. For me, it wasn’t the page turners I’d read before.   I found Mockingjay slow and dispersed.  The story of Katniss Everdeen becomes more and more tragic.  I guess you could say she is put to the full test.  Suzanne Collins tries to introduce a strictly psychological story but where she goes wrong is with 200 pages of moaning teenage angst.  I still love the idea of this trilogy because the themes are so universal and have been dealt with differently in other novels.  The thing that is also missing is more in-depth descriptions of the different districts.  I thought Collins would have used the tour of the districts, that Katniss and Peeta had to do as the winners of the games in Catching Fire, as a way to describe and explain them more in detail.  I did enjoy the love story though which added a little spice to this quite violent, dark dystopian world.  You just want things to work out for Katniss and Gale or Peeta.  sorry no spoilers.

All in all, as a story, it’s a good one.  You must read it to judge it.  The Hunger Games is getting a lot of press because of the film and people are judging it on that alone.  Yes,  it’s violent but I don’t think it’s anymore violent than what adolescents usually watch these days in movies, on tv, or in video games.  Unfortunately, this trilogy is an example of why I don’t usually enjoy reading trilogies.  In my opinion, they fizzle out and are usually one book too long.  This being said Suzanne Collins does know how to keep up the suspense and make incredible turns in the story as well as in the growth of the characters.  I give Mockingjay three and a half stars, but you have to read it to find out how it ends.  It’s a trilogy!  Or,  you could skip right to page 265 and start reading there. 

I was watching You Tube and there was an interesting Hunger Games tag going around. So I’m asking you which do you prefer? Comment below.  I’d love to know what you think.

Snow or Coin  – Neither they’re scary!

Effie or Cinna – I like Cinna’s simple, but creative style.

Slugging it out in the Districts or living life in the Capitol – I would prefer slugging it out in the districts.

Lamb stew from the Capitol or bread from district 11 – I like lamb stew.

Gale or Peeta – I like Peeta, although that didn’t begin until Catching Fire.

Katniss’ archery skills or Cato’s knife fighting abilities – I would love to have Katniss’ archery skills. So cool!

Become an Avox or get stung by a tracker jacker –  I’d rather be stung by a tracker jacker.  I like to talk a lot.

Who’s cuter Prim or Rue? – Rue is very cute, especially in the movie.

Peeta’s gift of camouflage or Rue’s gift of climbing – Peeta’s gift of camouflage would be useful since I like to paint.

Run for the Cornucopia or Run for the hills – I’d probably run for the hills for obvious reasons.

12. Catching Fire

And the games continue….Suzanne Collins continues the saga of Katniss Everdeen and the districts of Panem in this very suspenseful second novel of the trilogy The Hunger Games called Catching Fire.  Ominously dark and mysterious, we see Katniss and Peeta living in the Victors Village along with Haymitch.  Three houses alone in a neighborhood.  Katniss lives with her mother and little sister Prim.  Haymitch and Peeta live alone.

Since Katniss and Peeta are the winners of the Games they must tour all the districts, which is like making them relive the Games all over again.  It forces them to remember each tribute and how they died.  Along the way there is an undercurrent of uprisings in district 11. I won’t write anymore because I’ll be forced to write spoilers.  Hope I haven’t told you too much already.

Anyway, get on it people and read it!  It’s very interesting and yes it’s YA  literature (Young Adult lit).  There are some good themes running through this trilogy such as government control, reality shows, psychology of survival, propaganda, etc. I’m sure it will be made into a movie next year, but I probably won’t go see it.  I was so thoroughly disappointed with The Hunger Games as a movie.  As of today, I’m on to the last novel Mockingjay. I fear for the characters and for the end….

As I was searching for interesting facts about Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games, I ran across articles and You Tube videos of a controversy over the movie.  Apparently there were Hunger Games fans that didn’t agree with the casting of Amandla Stenberg as Rue because she was black.  I just couldn’t believe this. Rue is described as having dark brown skin in the book, but besides that only a racist could say that they didn’t feel anything when she was killed because she was black.  Really? I couldn’t believe these so-called fans had the gall to write this nonsense on twitter.  Needless to say, a real fan called them out by copying off their tweets and putting them on display on Facebook.  Masses of people started bombarding their accounts and they had to become private or had to discontinue their accounts.  I happened upon this interesting interview of Amandla Stenberg, who is an intelligent, well-spoken fourteen year old and has almost grown up in commercials on American tv.  She really looks like what I had imagined Rue would look like, just adorable.  Check her out!  I’m sure we’ll be seeing her in more films.

racist-hunger-games-fans-that-failed-reading-com

10. The Hunger Games

This trilogy has sat on my shelf for at least a year.  I’ve meant to get to it.  Really.  My oldest daughter grabbed it off the shelf during the winter break holidays and devoured the first two books in 6 days.  She usually doesn’t read big books in English.  She’s a manga fan, and she reads them in French.  She had to hold back not to talk about the details of these books because I didn’t want her to spoil it for me.  So, here I am finally getting down to it.  Frankly, it was worth it!  I  started the second part Catching Fire today….

The Hunger Games is the story of Katniss Everdeen and she lives in the US in the future which has been turned into something other than what we know today.  People are maintained in districts, which they are not allowed to leave.  They are controlled by the Capitol.  In the Capitol, people are wealthy, eat well, and essentially live easy frivolous and much too comfortable lives.  Every year, twenty-four youths between the ages of twelve and eighteen are chosen to fight to death for the good of their district.  The good is food and other things that some districts are lacking, but most of all it’s to keep the districts from rebelling.  Katniss decides to take the place of her twelve-year-old sister who is unfortunately chosen the first year her name is put in.  Primrose is young, small, and is utterly ill-equipped to compete in such a competition.  Katniss and Prim come from District 12, where there are coal mines.  The majority of District 12 citizens are very poor and don’t have enough food to satisfy their hunger.

The Hunger Games is a very suspenseful well written story.  The anticipation of how the game will continue is more interesting than who wins in the end.  Katniss is a very likeable and clever character who is a gifted hunter with a bow and arrow.  She also knows how to gather herbs and set snares to catch rabbits.  The other contestants each have their strengths and weaknesses that bring lots of intrigue to the major events of the story and you just can’t stop reading until the end.  Trilogies sometimes tire me out but I’m looking forward to discovering the end of part two and to eventually finish part three.

Suzanne Collins has managed to construct a reality show with a twist.  It’s quite violent  but I guess it’s no worse than what adolescents watch on television and internet these days.  The movie opened in France last Wednesday and I was unsure about seeing it.  With all the complexities and things to explain, I really couldn’t see how they would do this movie correctly.  Needless to say, we decided to see it last Sunday afternoon.  We were only fifteen minutes into the movie and my daughter and I were already disappointed.  Even though, I tried to enjoy the escape of the movies, anyway.  One major default with this movie is that it’s mostly from the point of view of the Gamemakers where the book is from the contestants’ view.  I think that’s what keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next.

Collins has written on children’s television shows since 1991.  She’s also worked on the staff of several Nickelodeon shows.  She met writer, James Proimos while working on a children’s show called Generation O!.  He convinced her to begin writing books for children.  She first wrote a five-part series called The Underland Chronicles, a fantasy/war series.  From there she wrote The Hunger Games Trilogy, which was on the USA Today’s bestseller list for over 134 weeks.  The question is:  What will Suzanne Collins write next to top that?