Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mockingjay review

Mockingjay came out on Tuesday, and my coworker was going to the bookstore at lunch, so I gave her cash and asked her to pick up one for me. Then I read it in one big gulp from 5:30 to 11 that night.

My review is going typed in white, so highlight it if you want to read, 'cause it contains LOTS of spoilers.

So, I'm going to read it again in a few weeks, maybe after I re-read Catching Fire. I raced through Mockingjay...there was a lot that was satisfying about it...I never got bored ....


When I closed it, I didn't feel dissatisfied, but I didn't feel satisfied either. In fact, I didn't know how to think. And the parts that stuck with me, the parts I kept thinking about, are the parts that didn't rest well with me. Like how Peeta, the best character in the books, is barely in this book...and the Peeta that's there is so literally brain-damaged that he's not the same. And he'll never be the same. (I understand that Suzanne Collins didn't want to make it too easy, but couldn't she have fixed him in the end? Like, maybe the District 13 doctors can't repair the highjacking, but when Katniss is on trial at the end in the Capitol, couldn't the Capitol doctors have fixed Peeta?) And how because he'll never be the same, even though Katniss and Peeta wind up together in the end, there's no big culminating moment where they get back together that the reader has been craving. And Gale, who finally gets his moment to shine in much of the book--we finally get to know him, in other words, and it turns out he's not that great! I know that Katniss saying, essentially, "He's probably off kissing other girls in District 2" is just her projection to make herself forget entirely about him, but it doesn't seem fair after all his devotion to Katniss for that to be the last mention of him. It feels like it's selling him short.

Of all the deaths in the novel the one that bothered me most wasn't Prim's, which oddly enough left me only slightly moved. It was Finnick's! I understand that he had to die (though honestly I kept expecting Gale to die), but it was in such a disgusting way. In fact, though I've never criticized the violence in the Hunger Games books, in the final third of Mockingjay, I really thought she went too far.

Here's what bugged me the second most: Finnick and all the soldiers with him on that final gruesome mission died so that Katniss could assassinate President Snow. And then at the end, when she's finally given her chance, she doesn't kill him. She kills President Coin instead. Because she thinks Coin is responsible for her sister's death. Yes, it's terrible that Prim and all those other children died. But Snow's the one who's made generations of tributes die in the Hunger Games. I'm the one who just plaintively asked for Collins to "conveniently" let Peeta be cured, but hypocritically I thought it was pretty damn convenient that Snow dies of laughing after Katniss kills Coin. Way to have your cake and eat it too. But leave the reader without any cake. Because the only reason we accepted Finnick's horrible death was because Katniss was going to murder Snow. And then she doesn't.

Here's what bugged me the most: I can't believe Katniss voted in favor of having a final Hunger Games for the Capitol children.

I can't believe it.

When she first said "I vote yes," I thought it was a red herring, some plot point that would come full circle and show that Katniss was on our side all along. But if that's how it was, it was written way too subtly--I never caught on to it.

Katniss's driving motivation throughout so much of the first two books was that "There can't be any more Hunger Games." She saw innocent children die alongside her sister. And then she votes for more to die? In revenge for Prim's death? Prim would never have wanted that. Is this supposed to be some gesture toward the idea that Katniss has changed so irrevocably because of what's happened to her? Well, if so, it sucks.

And I can't believe that Peeta could still love Katniss after she voted yes.

The end.

So, I enjoyed the book, I didn't hate it, and it succeeded on many levels; and I'll read it again and post an update if I have any other/differing thoughts. But today, two days later, this is where I am.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eye candy

Chris's cousin Sarah got married last month in a really pretty, classy wedding on Long Island. Pictures are up on the photographer's blog...Sarah was one of the most gorgeous brides I've ever seen, very Grace Kelly. Check out her cute butterfly jeweled shoes.

It was on a Friday afternoon and traffic was really bad; we thought we were going to miss the ceremony. We made it in the nick of time.