Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Rating: ***** (5 out of 5)

Review: Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

I admit, this book surprised me. It didn’t leave me feeling pleasant, or hopeful, or happy. It’s by no means a happy ending, and I understand now all those bad reviews I’d seen on Goodreads (I didn’t read them before to avoid spoilers, but couldn’t help looking at the number of stars). Honestly, the only complaint you can have about this book is that it’s too realistic. In real life, not everyone who is important to you gets away unhurt. Wonderful, talented and special people die everyday in the most useless, worthless kinds of ways. People try to control you, and succeed, in a myriad of ways, specially if you happen to be important or famous. Sometimes there is no way to break free without causing even more damage to others and yourself. And in real life, war never leads to happy endings. That’s just the way it is. It’s complicated, this life thing.

And Katniss? I admit she annoyed me in the other books, but on this one, she is so fleshed out that she becomes one of the most realistic characters I’ve ever read about. I’ve seen people complain she is whiny and can’t seem to do anything without being pushed to do it. But let’s face it. She’s a sixteen year-old girl. A teenager. She’s still growing up and hasn’t had time to learn how to deal with anything she’s been through. And she goes through a lot. It’s all very nice and well to complain about her, but how many of you would go even through a fraction of what she did and come out ok? Make an effort to imagine it, to feel it. What kind of person would you be if you had lost a parent and gone hungry with a depressed mother at the age of 11? If you had been forced to kill other teenagers at the age of 16 for the pleasure of others? If you had seen your city reduced to rubble? If you had had your body burned by acid, pierced by arrows, etc.? If you had seen your friends beaten to a pulp while trying to protect you? If you had seen all your efforts to wrestle back control of your life thwarted by people with more power than you, who seem to control the fate of everyone around you? I could go on, but really? At sixteen, there’s no way you can deal with it and come out unscathed. Hell, maybe not even as an adult, but definitely not while you’re still trying to figure out who you are.

So even though this book was rather painful to read, it was one of the most honest and raw accounts of first-hand war (even a futuristic one) I’ve read in fiction. Highly recommended.

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