Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dystopian Bliss: Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins finale to the Hunger Games trilogy does not disappoint. Character development is rich, despite the fast pace and non-stop action. The plot continues to unfold in ways that are believable. The theme: there were many. I had read a review earlier today that stated Mockingjay was not a love story but I disagree, this was a love story; about the love it takes to carry on in the face of desperate circumstances, to get over yourself, to live sacrificially. And it's about the preciousness of life despite how bleak one's surroundings, the cost required of those who kill, regardless of whether the reasons are "good enough," and the cost required of those who intentionally kill innocents. Pitted against one another by a reality show gone extreme, odd, but believable alliances are formed. The ending was good. The bad guys get what they deserve. There is no simple solutions but love, and life win out. The book ends by affording Katniss, Peeta and Gale with a modicum of privacy, and for that I'm glad. Overdeveloping the end would have diminished the forcefulness of the series.

I'm relieved that Collins took the time to delve into the personal responsibility and sacrifice of the main characters, even to the point of psychological break-downs. It made them real, believable, someone whom we could relate to. And there is a brief, and satisfying nod to the adage that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it by putting a right and just end to the madness..

Like any good dystopian writing, there is a dire warning embedded in the Hunger Games, "Panem et Circenses translates into "Bread and Circuses." "In return for full bellies and entertainment, the people of Panem have given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power. I think about the Capital. The excess of food. And the ultimate entertainment. The Hunger Games."
And no, I didn't somehow pop to the top of the many months long wait list at the library. Sam's had it for sale in HB for a ridiculously low price. I've been known to go by the adage, "If you have 2 loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily." I usually try to get a book out of it too!

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