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[Book Review] - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Title: Mockingjay
   Author: Suzanne Collins
   Series: #3 - The Hunger Games
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: August 24th, 2010
   My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

     My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead.

     Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

     It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains--except Katniss.

     The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.

My Review:

     Mockingjay, it was one of those books that I couldn’t put down. I was enthralled with knowing what would happen to Peeta, Katniss, and Finnick. I was happy to see some of the other characters back from the ending of Catching Fire. Although with this book, I had my doubts and troubles trying to understand some of the characters in this book.

     Finnick I understood. His development and what he goes through is far beyond what I could imagine. Even yet, there is part of me that started to feel sorry and sad for him when his girlfriend comes back; and yet near the end you want to admire him for all the sacrifices he makes not only for that girl, but Katniss and everyone else as well. There is so much to Finnick and so much that I hated for the book to end, I wanted to know more about him.

     Peeta and Gale finally get down and dirty and talk about who should be with Katniss. At that point I finally screamed about time you two put things together. I wanted them to both turn and scream obscenities at Katniss and both leave her. Yet that doesn’t seem to happen and I found myself wondering if the outcome was really plausible.

     Peeta’s character goes through a huge ordeal that I won’t spoil. When Peeta takes the main stage and the light shines on who he is, his character twists and bends into a broken mess. Which suits the world they live in, and ultimately I felt his pain, felt sorry for Peeta and everything he went through to protect Katniss. As well, even after everything he’s been through, he’s still clinging to Katniss declaring how much he still cares for her.

     The rebellion and the sense of destruction as Katniss goes to see the crumbling districts, the war that evolves around her makes her step out of her shell again. Katniss goes from this weakling and a heroin I hated in Catching Fire, to this spokesperson for war and the rebellion. I enjoyed this point of Katniss to a point, she still had these thoughts of a damaged person, and rightfully she should at this point.

     The world building in this was superb, I wish there was more of it at times. The scenery, the destruction, and devastation of the people and environment was jaw-dropping. Yes jaw-dropping, for a book. I felt the pain of Peeta, and everyone else that died. Even the one small insignificant cat that morphed into the most powerful emotional tool the series had held. I wanted more; I wanted to feel more of the evolution of the people and the relationships.

     The ending… That’s what everyone wants to know about right? I hated it, it wasn’t the fact that I didn’t like it or like it. The ending was superb and I doubt anyone could have done a better ending, but it was like a bittersweet ending. The loss, the pain, the suffering along the way, to me didn’t justify that everything was all right. The damaged couple at the end, the torment and sleepless nights they would have to endure because of what they had to endure.

[Book Review] - Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
   Author: Veronica Roth
   Series: #1 - Divergent
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
   My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

     In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

      During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

      Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning
consequences, and unexpected romance.

My Review:

      I first started this book, and well frankly I could NOT put this book down. I fell in love with the title, and I felt it fit the book completely. The raw curiosity that took over, made me want to keep reading. Not only to find out what happens to Tris, but the world around her. Yeah, this may not be the best dystopian novels out there, let alone a dystopian at all, but I felt like the society was unique, somewhat plausible.

      The one nagging question I had throughout the book though, under the assumption that the society could happen, WHY did it happen? That was never answered and continues to plague my mind. There has to be some explanation, that's the main reason I hate most zombie novels/movies they tend to ignore the idea of why zombies or things are the way they are. To me it's an empty hole.

      As well, the society around all the characters is a five faction system; Abengation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor, Amity. All of these blame the downfall of humanity and the faults of everyone on different reasons. So in that sense they all stand for something, Selflessness, Bravery, Knowledge, Honesty, Peace respectively. All these factions seem nice,but the problem I had with these distinguishing factions and what they stand for; who can pick one reason, one faction and say THAT is why we failed.

      Dauntless and Abegnation took the main stage in this book and gave a wide view into the how they function and what they do. Dauntless I admired. Yeah they may seem a bit confusing and dumb; jumping out of trains, beating each other up, proving they aren't afraid to die. But it was more than that, It was the fact that they wanted to beat the fear in themselves, by looking at the greatest fear in live, death, in the eyes and being able to say you weren't afraid that's the biggest source of courage and well self-stupidity at the same time.

      As well in the Dauntless compound there is scenes that are pretty graphic and frankly intense. I loved them. The work of every detail, the fine tooth come that it took to make sure the scene was just right and made me believe that you were either going to make it in Dauntless or die. That's intensity, that source of graphic involvement kept me reading, made me want to know what happened to Tris, and just the next step of every trial and tribulation.

      I would like to give my hats off to the romance in this book. Four and Tris are perfect and I'll say it over and over, there is no damn Love Triangle. I hate them, and even if there was one that started to come about, Tris isn't the type of character to play part in one. She's got the attitude to point and pick one and be done with it. I like that in a character, I love Tris and Four and how every time I thought about getting real work done, I just couldn't put the book down to do it. I wanted to know what happened to them, and get to know all the characters.

[Update] - Changes To Review Style

Well I would like to announce, that I am getting a few viewers out there and I want to thank you all for that. However, I'll continue posting, but there will be a rather big change to the way I have been doing the reviews. Right now the review process is too long, I feel it's too involved and I don't think people are finding it all that informative.

What I'm going to move to is a more overviewish type of review. I'll post the synopsis still and the picture of the book. However, MY review will be the score I feel it gets (out of 5 now, instead of 10) and a pretty lengthy discussion of why I feel that way about the book. I eventually would like to go back and redo the other ones, but the scores will stay the same, sorta. The old ones will be divided in half and the decimals will be rounded down to the nearest 0.5.

I want to thank everyone who is coming and reading. I'll be posting Divergent here pretty soon! Thank you all, again!

[Book Review] - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Title: Catching Fire
   Author: Suzanne Collins
   Series: #2 - The Hunger Games
   Format: Hardcover
   Release Date: September 1st, 2009
   My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

     Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol-- a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

     Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

     In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn.

My Review:

      Catching Fire, this one wasn’t hard for me at all. After reading the first and going straight into this book, I couldn’t put it down. However, this review will focus on Catching Fire alone, as if it was a book by its own. I will talk about the series later, after the review is finished for all the individual books alone.

     With the book, the scenery and the characters change dramatically. I found myself more and more yelling at Katniss for being a pansy in this book, rather than the strong, calm, and collected character in the first book. This book is where more or less, I found myself questioning Katniss and her change, and the book where I hate Katniss the most. However, the other characters in this book fill in those gaps where Katniss should be shining, when a prolific main character just isn’t there.

     The world building in this book really only came into play with the new set of games coming, and what they bring to Katniss and Peeta. The other districts start to come to life, and what is going on in each of the districts. Seeing them and trying to understand what they are like and how they differ from District 12, brings life to the book and the scenery. However, I do wish the book would’ve slowed down through some of the districts, so they could be built just a bit better.

     I felt lost and disjointed from the other districts and I wanted to get to know the others. I was already invested into the series and wanted to know more about the others, but that just didn’t happen. In the other districts though, I started to realize the rebellion and see just how far they’ve come, and what they were willing to do.

     The best building block for this book was the character building. Katniss’s transformation into a self-righteous death to save Peeta, and how she became this pansy of a character made me mad. Peeta and Gale took the limelight here; they both got more involved with Katniss. As much as I hate Love Triangles, this one worked. I found myself rooting for Peeta, go Team Peeta! I found that he’s just a more likeable character, and genuinely is more interested in Katniss than Gale seems to be.

     Overall the book was a great sequel in the series. I highly doubt this book would have been much more than a sequel if anyone other than Suzanne Collins had done this book. The way the dialogue was done, the world building, and the character details were breathtaking and I found myself wanting more out of this book.
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