From the Stacks: Mockingjay

It’s 11pm on August 24, and I just finished reading Mockingjay.

All I can say is wow.

I’m going to keep this short, because I’m blinking back the tears and any moment now I’m going to have to curl into the fetal position and have a good cry.

(Note: I’m not going to put any spoilers in here, because I know many of you haven’t read the book yet and spoilers suck.)

I dove into this book with two obvious questions at the forefront of my mind.

  1. What role will Katniss play in the rebellion?
  2. Will she end up with Gale or with Peeta?

As with the first two books, Suzanne Collins proves she’s the master of keeping the answers to the readers’ most urgent questions just out of reach, moving the story in surprising directions.  Even when I had an inkling of what would happen, Collins found a way to increase the tension, up the stakes and bring about the next event in an unexpected manner. More than once I found myself saying aloud, “Nooooo waaaaaay.”

By keeping me on my toes with unexpected plot turns, Collins took my initial questions and refined them into bigger universal questions. This book is so much more than Team Peeta vs. Team Gale. Sure, I fretted over the love triangle. But in the end, what made this a compelling and meaningful read for me was how Collins forced me to acknowledge bigger, uglier truths. Namely, mankind’s lust for power and penchant for brutality.

It’s an important message. Especially when a news item like this is posted on the same day as the book’s release.

That being said, I wonder if what Collins achieves with this book will cause some readers to be disappointed. She created characters so real that their struggles become our own. When we’re that close to characters who then don’t make the choices we’d like them to make, we risk becoming disengaged from the story. Without the personal connection to the characters, the message of the book can come off as empty preaching.

This wasn’t my reaction to the book, though. I completely trusted Collins and where she took the story, how she developed the characters and how they each dealt with the fallout of the revolution. She drove the story to her intended conclusion and she did it without flinching.

And that is why I have to go now and have that cry.