Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Mockingjay - the final book of the amazing trilogy The Hunger Games

Revolutions are usually initiated to improve the quality of life of people. Otherwise, how would you motivate them to abandon their secure but unhappy and deprived life and to fight for some long-awaited ideal. Unfortunately, revolutions rarely change the world for the bette, or lets say, rarely bring the benefits that people expected them to. The communist rule in Russia came to free the Russian people from the tyranny of the Tsar and from constant hunger and oppression. Instead, it brought the tyranny of Stalin and his tyranny and oppression. Capitalism substitute communism in Bulgaria more than 20 years ago but instead of making people better off, it just increased the gap between the rich and the poor, clearly distinguishing the equal from the more equal, opened the door to mafia, prostitution, crime, and corruption, and made Bulgaria the poorest country in the EU. Yes, revolutions have this amazing threat - they are good as an idea but somehow in practice they almost always fail.

Katniss Everdeen is the mockingjay face of the revolution in Panem. The Capitol artificially created a mutant jay to spy on people unhappy with the regime and report back. Unfortunately, the joke turned against them when the jay mated with the mockingbird to create a mockingjay, a bird that sings amazingly and is able to repeat any sound it hears. Katniss bears a lot of similarities with the mockingjay, the symbol of her famous rebellion against the Hunger Games in the first book and subsequently the symbol of the whole rebellion. She also has been created to serve and obey the Capitol. However, through various encounters and life changing events, Katniss has mutated to a rebel opposing the regime and its restrictions and a fighter willing to do anything to protect her family. Her unintentional opposition at the end of the first games to save Peeta and herself became the first tone of the mockingjay song, a song that Katniss is to spread to the population and drive them to fight.

At the end of the second book, Catching Fire, Katniss successfully survives yet another hunger games edition and is amazed to understand that her survival has been the sole mission for some of the participants. In a shaky health state, she is taken to the famous District 13 to be trained as the face of the uprising. Nothing, however, seems so different in District 13 than in the Capitol. People are similarly controlled, forced to wear the same clothes, to eat calories that exactly match their daily needs, and to participate in various activities. Freedom is no more obvious here than it was in Panem. Katniss feels like a prisoner once again, trapped between her feeling of guilt for all the people that lost their lives because of her and her assumed duty to be the leader of the rebellion. On top of that, Peeta is caught by president Snow and his mind is carefully manipulated to hate and kill Katniss.

President Alma Coin is the District 13 equivalent of President Snow. Brutal, unscrupulous, and manipulative, she wants to use Katniss in a much similar way that President Snow used her before. Katniss is to undergo the same beauty procedures as she did before the Hunger Games in order to look like a proper rebellion leader. Her personality and physical appearance again have to be changed to fit a certain propaganda and the posters and videos prepared to be distributed to the rest of the districts strikingly remind of the media propaganda used by the Capitol. Katniss is soon to realize that District 13 is not going to bring anything different to the people of Panem and that its leaders are much or less using and oppressing the population in a similar way to reach their own personal goals. The dilemma in front of Katniss is whether to stay and avoid the deaths of hundreds of other people or fight the Capitol and attempt to get back the real Peeta.

Yes, the real Peeta. The thing I really disliked about the third book was the new Peeta personality. I have been used to the nice, romantic and brave boy willing to do anything to protect and guard Katniss. Instead, President Snow has transformed him into a bitter, suspicious, and vindictive mutant. His old love and admiration for Katniss are fighting to overcome his implied belief that she is set to kill him. The absence of Peeta's calmness, stability, and reassurance certainly affect Katniss and her ability to make the right decisions and to fight her battles.

Of course I will not tell you the end. I will just say that Mockingjay is the darkest, the bloodiest, the most depressing of the three novels. The whole trilogy follows the birth of a dream (The Hunger Games), the development of its means (Catching Fire) and the disappointing outcome (Mockingjay). In the last novel Katniss is to face her biggest fear, to experience her biggest pains, and to learn to live with the responsibility of initiating the rebellion and its outcome. Despite some criticisms I have read for the last book, I am convinced Suzanne Collins did an amazing job in closing a trilogy that will be long remembered and will stay in the anali of world literature as a prominent example of a dystopian young adult book. In addition, The Hunger Games trilogy will remain one of the most enjoyable experiences I have head as a reader, making me stay all night to finish reading.

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