06 October 2010

Mockingjay

So, since everybody's reading Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, should i even write about it?

This book was good but very different from what i expected. I had thought there would be a big portion of Katniss leading troops and going through battles. I had thought she would have been in on a rescue mission to get Peeta and the others caught by the Capital. I had thought she would be very active. The book becomes far more realistic.

Katniss is seriously traumatized and has physical injuries as well as PTSD. She spends big portions of the book sleeping and hiding and avoiding people. She doesn't trust the leaders of District 13 and only reluctantly, and to protect Peeta, does she become the symbol, the Mockingjay. Even then she doesn't really do much until the war is almost over and she becomes more of a regular soldier.

Much of this book occurs off screen. Which is understandable if you make your heroine keep getting hurt but makes things a bit less immediate. and feels like a bit of a cop out at times. Rather like the other books, Katniss herself doesn't have to do the really awful things. She may have killed people but she doesn't have to make some of the complex moral choices that other characters face.

I've also always had a problem with the population size of Panem and the various districts. In the first book, all the residents of 12 are apparently in one plaza. all of the possible tributes and their families are there to watch the reaping. Katniss goes right through the crowd up to the stage with no problems. so at most there may be 1000 people there, tops. Katniss also seems to know everyone, which also seems to point to a small population; i remember some anthropology things about clan group size being about 500 people that someone could recognize and identify with as part of the group. so, if we have 1000 people, at least 25% would be kids, if not more. so that leave 750 adults. to mine all the coal that Panem uses? not even counting that not every adult works in the mines. there are Peeta's parents, a mayor, various other shopkeepers. I can't see how the energy needs of a nation could be covered by such a small population. And even if every District is 5 times the size, that's not a country, that's a moderately sized town!

Overall i would say this is a 5. It counts for the YA challenge and the YA category for the 2010 Challenge.

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