Thursday, June 12, 2014

Reader's Diary #1131- Suzanne Collins: Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay has made me feel impossible to please. I loved the original Hunger Games back when I read it in 2012. Then, in the sequel, Catching Fire, Collins turned her sights from a murderous reality game show to a rebellion against the society that not only allowed, but created such a show in the first place. I hadn't been sure at first that I would like such a switch in focus, thinking that without the games the whole appeal would be lost. However, not only did I grow to like the change, I was disappointed to discover that halfway through the book there'd be a return to the games. Now, in the Mockingjay, the third and final installment, the whole book centers around the revolution and... once again I was disappointed.

Mockingjay felt sloppier somehow. Many favourite secondary characters barely made an appearance, if at all, and the new ones were not developed adequately. And up until nearly the end it didn't really rise above generic novel. The first two books in the series, especially the first, had some brilliant moments of social commentary and could easily connect to current world events. There was a bit more exploration on the theme of propaganda, but that had already been touched upon (maybe not as thoroughly) in book two. Then, when it turned out that the rebel leader was as corrupt as the overthrown one, I was immediately reminded of a recent interview I'd seen on Jon Stewart in which an Egyptian activist was talking about the current president possibly being as bad as or worse than the one that was just taken down, and I was happy that Collins' had at least something new to say. Not new as in she was the first to talk on this theme (Animal Farm? "Won't Get Fooled Again"? Star Wars?), but it was a new element in this series and that was at least something.

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