Mockingjay

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By: Suzanne Collings

Mockingjay is the third, and final, book in the Hunger Games trilogy that began with the novel by the same name.  Throughout the series, we’re introduced and follow the story of Katniss Everdeen.  She’s dragged into a lottery style selection for the Hunger Games, a regular only-one-will-survive type of contest between a male and female contestant from each of the 12 districts of Panem.

In the first book, we see Katniss go from the relatively normal girl that she is, to a contestant in the hunger games, and finally to a victor of the hunger games.  In Catching Fire, the second book, we watch her enjoying the luxuries she gained by becoming a victor and then realizing what it was that her victory cost, and the revolution that she may have started.  Through each of those two first books, Collins does a pretty good job of showing us how Katniss evolves, grows, and becomes the Katniss that we see, here, in Mockingjay.

Through little flickers of the old Katniss, we see the natural breaks in her nature, as she comes to terms with being the mascot for the 13th districts revolution against the Capital.  If there’s one thing that Collins does very well through out the entire series, its showing that the characters are, indeed, human.  Once again, the book is well written, and the plot lines all seem to be well woven together.  I will admit to wishing the ending had been a bit different, but I suppose it was necessary for the resolution of the characters.

If you are a fan of the first two books, you likely don’t need me to tell you to go out and get the third book.  After all, who doesn’t finish a series?

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Catching Fire

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By: Suzanne Collins

I really, really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Hunger Games.  And, since it was the first in a series, I felt it necessary to finish the story and read the rest of the series.  Luckily, Catching Fire really helps continue the story of Katniss Everdeen, the “girl on fire”.  Some series’ seem to fall flat after a great start.  Collins manages to avoid this, and brings us right back into Panem with the next book in the series.

Catching Fire picks up shortly after Katniss and Peeta win the Hunger Games, and as they are preparing for their Victor’s tour through Panem.  A surprise visit from President Snow wakes Katniss up to the unrest the dual victory of Katniss and Peeta has caused, and things quickly spiral out of her control on the tour.  Much like the first book, the story is a quick read.  Part of that can be attributed to the YA nature of the book, but a good deal of it is also because of the easy way that Collins writes the story.  She’s done a great job of not revealing too much, too early, and keeping the reader in suspense through the book.

Obviously, with the bestselling status of each of the books in the series, and the recent release of the movie adaptation of the first book, I’m not the only one who enjoyed these books.  The series is a compelling story about the nature of humans and our desire to survive while protecting those we love.  Collins has captured it well, and it doesn’t stumble in Catching Fire.

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The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

By: Suzanne Collins

If you do any reading of YA books and you haven’t heard about this book, chances are that you need to climb out from under the rock you’ve been hibernating under.  After hearing lots and lots of good reviews and buzz about this series of books, I figured it was worth picking up the first and giving it a read.

The basics of the plot are of a post-apocalyptic North America where there are now 13 “districts” that surround a central capital district.  The districts, with the exception of the 13th district which was destroyed in a war, all are ruled by the capital district.  As part of that, the capital holds the reaping each year to select two competitors, one boy and one girl, for the hunger games.  The hunger games are a last man standing competition of survival.

The main character, Katniss Everdeen, volunteers to replace her sister who is selected in the reaping.  We follow along on her journey into the capital and through the obviously emotional situation she finds herself in.  The entire story is told from her perspective, so we really get a deep insight into the things that she’s thinking and feeling.  Collins did a really good job of that.  Using the “Gamemakers”, the controlling body of the hunger games, to push the plot along was seamless and a wonderful way of giving the plot new life when it seemed as if it was about to bog down in the mundane.

I really enjoyed this book.  Like most YA books, it was easy to read and understand.  Sometimes you just need a book that is that way so that you don’t have to think about it too much.  The one big downside that I found was that the plot was very similar to The Running Man, by Stephen King.  Most of the intended readers will likely not have read that before, so it’s not going to be evident to them, but it immediately popped out to me.  Intentional or not, it was there.  However, whether it was an influence or not, there are an abundance of things within The Hunger Games to differentiate it from The Running Man and make it it’s own entity.

If you’re into YA, and want a good read, I recommend The Hunger Games.