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Customer Review

1,425 of 1,661 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The detractors of this book wanted a fairytale, September 13, 2010
This review is from: Mockingjay (The Hunger Games) (Hardcover)
To start I am a 47 year old Veteran.
I have read a lot of the bad reviews for this last book and I see a theme running through them all. They didn't get their fairytale ending and the people they liked didn't end up the way they wanted. Well If you are looking for a fairytale read Harry Potter. If you want a realistic book on how war really is and how people will sacrifice themselves to save their country, then this is for you.
The love triangle between the three main characters resolves itself in the best way that I could see possible. The way each one would react to the horrors of war were obvious from book one. I don't want to include spoilers so Ill just say, read this with an expectation of a realistic portrayal of the characters and how the war would change them. The ending on a personal level, is not necessarily a happy one, but it is a realistic one. From a "Big Picture" perspective I think it was a happy ending. To expect that all of the main characters could live "Happily Ever After" after surviving what happened in all three books is unrealistic.
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Showing 1-10 of 88 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 14, 2010 5:37:15 AM PDT
What saddens me is that they want a fairytale middle. Katniss must become Supergirl and fight both District 13 AND the Capitol, and because it's the right thing to do, she'll win and win and win!! She's THE GIRL ON FIRE!!!

Sad, because that's exactly the sort of theatrical BS the Capitol and District 13 are mainlining. The powerful people know that symbols are just symbols, and Coin is ready to kill Katniss when a dead martyr is useful. Sock!! Pow!! and so forth are lots of fun, but they don't win wars. Wars are not won by Homeric heroes posing for each other; they are won with a price of sweat, hunger, blood and life. If we don't tell our children BEFORE we send them to the battlefield, we are no better than the Capitol.

Posted on Sep 14, 2010 2:56:43 PM PDT
boomom2 says:
I don't think anyone who objects to the ending is trying to sugarcoat war. The basis for objection is the emotional development of the main character, something that's independent of the horrors experienced.

I'm does a veteran who presumably followed orders enjoy a book where the main character completely rejects rule of law? Did you not see it as a problem that the heroine killed the Commander in Chief? If she thought Coin was evil, wouldn't it have made more sense for her to say so, rather than taking matters into her own hands?

Katniss essentially becomes a terrorist when she kills the new leader and I don't think our children should be brought up glorifying terrorists. Does that make me a Pollyanna?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2010 5:41:31 AM PDT
Good grief, and people think Collins is political! Do you seriously want an army of obedient killers without moral boundaries? Do you seriously think that the officers who attempted to kill Hitler were wrong?

As for Katniss being a "terrorist" -- Maybe it's time we stop elevating slogans and labels above thinking. The rebels are ALL terrorists in your black and white universe, and so was George Washington. "Terrorist" doesn't mean somebody bad with a weapon, it means a person without government sanction who attempts to fight the government by promoting terror. So Sherman's march through Georgia is not terrorism, and neither is Caley's massacre of a Viet Nam village. But a kid setting off a stink bomb in an elevator is.

Katniss is no more a terrorist than she is "glorified." And I shudder to think of living in the world you want, where The Hunger Games are more welcome than disobedience.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2010 1:11:10 AM PDT
Eon says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Sep 16, 2010 7:05:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2010 7:14:50 AM PDT
boomom2 says:
You guys are right...the word I was looking for in my original post was probably "traitor" more than terrorist. Whether you call them insurgents or terrorists, they all (including Katniss) have something in common - they use violence to achieve their objectives.

My objection was not to the violence. It was to the *motivation* behind the violence. If she's killing Coin because Coin killed her sister and tried to kill her...then isn't she just playing the same game? In addition, she's now rejected both the old government and the new one. What's to stop those who idolize the Mockingjay (including all the young readers of this book) from taking away the message that the solution is to just shoot anyone who uses you?

To give a historical parallel as Mick did, Katniss would be most like...Benedict Arnold, although even BA didn't kill George Washington after the war! She fought for the revolution and then turned on the symbol of the revolution. Like her or not, Coin won the war. There are a lot of eggs that get broken while making a cake. Bad people achieve good objectives. When Katniss killed her, she also killed a symbol of the revolution without any sort of due process.

Bring this to 2010. Let's say some 17 year old in West Virginia today believes that Barack Obama is sending people to their death for no reason in Afghanistan. Is the solution to shoot him at a public event? Yikes!! And yet, that's what these kids are walking away with from this novel. All government is bad and corrupt and it's o.k. to shoot leaders if you disagree with their motives. Viva la Revolucion!

The point of the "hero quest" is that heroes make choices. Katniss never took a side. She was used by both sides and destroyed (and was destroyed by) both sides. One could argue that *she* used both Gale and Peeta and also destroyed both of them. Peeta, in my mind, was the real hero of the book - he resisted the urge to kill her, despite every reason to do so including torture. I don't know why he believes in her, but I'm just so grateful that at least there was one character in this "iconic" series who made active choices and embodied the moral fiber of a true hero.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 16, 2010 10:14:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 16, 2010 10:21:44 AM PDT
Boomom2: Now we're more on the same page. Certainly it isn't Ok to argue that individual morality trumps social morality. A rightie assassinating Obama is as bad as a leftie (or anyone, really) assassinating Bush. But the issues aren't that simple even in real life. What about somebody assassinating Bin Laden, or one of the loon Presidents with hobby genocides in Africa? Or Hitler and his generals?

I think the moral issue in the book is a little different than the one you are talking about. There comes a point, sometimes, when violence is the only solution. Nations declare war; neighbors start slugging. It may be that in retrospect the violence was unnecessary or useless, but we don't have retrospect.

The Right uses the necessity for action (the "ticking bomb" and "good of the many") to justify torture, but it is a slippery slope. Is it Ok beat a man to locate the bomb? It is Ok to cut off his fingers? Is it Ok to skin his daughter's face? We may not agree where the line is, but it's out there somewhere. And while it's true that some things are over the line, some aren't.

In my view (and in the context of the book), when an individual crosses the line (which Jesus did, Gandhi did, MLK did, Thoreau did, but so did Oswald, McVeigh, Caley, Sherman, and John Wilkes Booth -- all different lines), there is a price. It's not a question of individual morality but of personal responsibility. If I agree to "pull the plug" on my brain-dead daughter's body, I have to be prepared to take responsibility for my choice. If I shoot the man who put her in that hospital, circumstances matter, and there are consequences.

Maybe there was another way to stop Coin. I don't think so, and I'm grateful that killing her worked. But Katniss is still guilty, and she knows it. She chooses to bet her life that she's right. Heroes do that; so do lunatics. Collins doesn't brush aside the social responsibility against violence, she invites us to examine it.

As for the Godwin ding (other poster): Just let me point out that Collins has already used the moral dilemma of assassinating Hitler or Stalin in her now ubiquitous interview. It's not a Godwin: Any monster will do, from Pol Pot to the President of Sudan.

Posted on Nov 13, 2010 9:54:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 8, 2010 7:46:59 PM PST
Kaylee sc says:
Thank you for this review. My friend loved the first two, but hated mockingjay because she didn't like how people changed and how they had to go through things that they could never bounce back from. But I loved how this book played out. It was so realistic, true to the characters, and Collins didn't dumb it down just because its YA. The ending was perfect, I thought. They weren't depressed and they were strong enough to live their lives, but they didn't forget about their past. And how could they?

I also compared it to the unrealistic Harry Potter epilogue. I definitely prefer the bittersweet ending of Mockingjay than that.

Wonderful review!

Posted on Jan 1, 2011 7:42:57 PM PST
Evan Morgan says:
I have not read this trilogy yet, as I am reading The Book Thief my Markus Zusak. All three of the books are on my desk waiting for me to devour them.
After seeing so many negative reviews for Mockingjay, I began to feel a little discouraged to read them. But all these positive ones are building my confidence back up.
As for the people who gave this one negative reviews wanting a fairytale ending, i couldn't agree with you more. War is terrible and it always is bittersweet. It never ends fully happy. In fact, I am gad to hear that Collins made this trilogy end not all fairytale-ish. I prefer realistic endings to happy. If the people who hated this book want a fairytale ending, they can go watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarves :P

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2011 8:23:37 AM PST
boomom2 says:
Evan, once again, my issue was not with the violence or the non-happy ending, but with the motivations of the main character.

People suck. War brings that out. No argument there. I was just disappointed to see it in a main character in a young adult novel. It makes me wonder what the youth of today idolize. Why all the dystopic fiction? Why all the broken heroes? Why, as a parent, did I hate this book so much, yet you and my son really loved it? Should I be scared for the future? Does it mean you guys believe violence can be the answer since all governments are equally corrupt? (Which brings us back to the terrorist/traitor discussion.)

I think the ending is a moral gauge of sorts. Love or hate the ending, it definitely says something about you as a person. Like Katniss, you do have to make a choice.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 2, 2011 9:32:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 2, 2011 9:32:49 AM PST
Those are some tough questions, and I think Suzanne Collins invites us to ask them (rather than answering them for us). I don't think the books condone violence. They simply depict it as the natural outcome of an imbalance between morality and power. How else could the rebels defeat the Capital? Before answering, look at Iran or China, where an outpouring of moral strength and aspiration were crushed like bug on the wall. When power (corporate or government) has become so disproportionate to the individual and the morality of the corporate "person" is so completely out of sync with individual human values, there is no one to listen when you exhort, no one to combat in the arena of ideas. A friend of mine, after seeing the film Gandhi, said that Gandhi's non-violence was lucky that its adversary was Great Britain. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot or the board of a few multinational corporations would have shot (or bought) him. Our children and grandchildren understand that they are shrews dodging the feet of dinosaurs. The violent, Suzanne Collins tells us, are sin eaters; they pay for our freedom.
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