So here's a book meld I wrote for my English class this jaar -- while reading, please keep in mind that my teacher hasn't read any of the boeken so I had to explain the plot shortly... Even if it kinda overran from short to, well, long. Ish.

Mocking, Always Mocking
Book meld on Mockingjay door Suzanne Collins

If we burn, u burn with us.
Katniss Everdeen's final battle has begun.


That's all you'll find out, if u decide to check the back cover of Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay. The thing is, prospective readers won't need to know meer – this is, in fact, the perfect amount of information. Mockingjay is the last of the three Hunger Games novels, and every true fan has been waiting for it ever since they finished Catching Fire (2OO9).

In the universe of the Hunger Games, chaos reigns.
In the first book, titled simply The Hunger Games, we are told how the country of Panem, set in a futuristic America, is divided into 12 districts and ruled door the Capitol. There used to be 13 districts, but Thirteen was destroyed after they rebelled against the Capitol in the 'Dark Days', some seventy-five years ago. Then we are introduced to the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, and the concept of the Hunger Games: to punish the districts for their disobedience in the Dark Days, the Capitol stages a yearly Hunger Games where a girl and a boy between the ages of 12 and 18 are 'reaped' from each district and shoved into a giant arena – the last one alive wins. Very, uh, surprisingly, Katniss ends up being Twelve's (her district's) female tribute. The male tribute is Peeta Mellark, someone Katniss has never spoken to but is revealed to have loved Katniss for several years now.
door some miracle (read: Katniss defying the Capitol and threatening to commit suicide with Peeta when they were the only two people left in the arena), they both survive their first Hunger Games.

In the seconde book, Catching Fire, it is time for the 75th Hunger Games, meaning the third Quarter Quell. A Quarter Quell basically means that the Capitol can add whatever twist they wish to the Games – and this year, they decide to hold the reaping amongst vorige victors. Why am I not surprised? The Capitol hates Katniss, and suddenly they have a plan to throw he back into the Games. And back she will go, because she is the sole female victor from District 12.
So she goes back to the arena. She joins forces with some of the other tributes, and together they survive (well, most of them do) until they're the last ones left in the arena. Then they concoct a diabolical plan that results in the destruction of the Capitol... well, not really. But they do destroy the force-field around the arena and get lifted out of there (okay, so not all of them make it. Some – like Peeta – are captured door the Capitol, presumably to be tortured.)
And now... Mockingjay. The final part of the trilogy – but I won't say long-awaited, because three years between the first and last boeken isn't really that long. Try, for instance, ten years.
So, where were we? Ah, yes. Katniss and some other tributes were lifted out, some were not. The ones that were lucky enough were transported to District Thirteen, which, apparently, still exists – underground. They used to produce nuclear weapons for the Capitol before the Dark Days, so when they rebelled, they made a deal with the Capitol: If the Capitol left them alone, they wouldn't nuke it. Anyway, Katniss and the others were transported to Thirteen and fixed up – they were kinda roughed up after the arena, if u get my drift. Then the President of Thirteen, a woman door the name of Alma Coin, starts trying to coerce Katniss into being the Mockingjay, the symbol of the districts' rebellion against the Capitol. Long story short, it takes her a while, but she finally accepts the position. Coin and the others decide that the role would be best fulfilled door making propaganda videos known as propos, so the filming begins. Eventually, though, Katniss gets Coin to send her to the Capitol to fight in the war. However, they fall into a kind of trap and half their team is killed, leaving, amongst others, Peeta (the guy who's claimed to love her) and Gale (her best friend of seven-ish years). For some reason, fans have been mimicking Twilight fans and going “Team Peeta!” “Team Gale!” ever since it was revealed in Catching Fire that Gale might actually have romantic feelings for Katniss. So I can only imagine the reactions this latest plot twist caused amongst the most fanatic of fans – especially since the situation doesn't much get better. What's left of the soldiers escape into the drains, but they get chased door some half-lizard half-human creatures, so they escape into a tiny cellar. With exactly two other people, one of which can't talk because his tongue has been cut out. Awkward, right?
    After a dag of so of that awkwardness, Katniss decides to go find and kill President Snow, the technical ruler of Panem. However, she doesn't quite manage this, seeing as somebody herds a bunch of Capitol kids into a small space, drops a bomb on them, waits for rebel healers to run in and drops another bomb, killing Katniss' sister Prim and leading to President Snow's arrest.
    A while after this, Katniss finds herself in the same room as Snow and finds she has to talk to him. He reminds her of a conversation they had before the Quarter Quell, where they agreed not to lie to each other. He then tells her that Coin has been doing it all for power – leading the rebellion, ordering Snow executed. In a way, she has been mocking the Mockingjay for her naïveté. Katniss doesn't believe him, obviously, and reacts like anyone else would react: stalks out of the room. However, come the dag of the execution – where Katniss gets to do the honours – she ends up shooting Coin instead. Snow starts laughing, which turns into a huge coughing fit, and suddenly he, too, is dead. Chaos erupts – what else?
    Katniss is caught, and eventually banished to Twelve, her district. The last actual chapter ends with Katniss admitting she loves Peeta (well, Gale went to District Two anyway, so it's him of nothing). In my opinion, this would have been a perfectly good ending, but Collins added an Epilogue which was, in my opinion, kind of cliché and useless. The only vragen it answered were the ones that were already a gegeven – Katniss and Peeta got married and had kids. However, it didn't answer those people were bound to wonder about – who ruled Panem after Katniss assassinated Coin? What exactly happened to Gale? Did he ever get married? Have kids? Die an unnatural death? Was he happy?

Mockingjay was one of those boeken where before u read it, you're really excited. While you're reading it, u get sucked into the hype and never-ending action, and after u read it, you're still on the kind of high u get from reading a really good book. u just want to talk about it with people who have read it, debate character's choices and trash some of the author's decisions, but after a while has gone, u start to regard it as a normal-ish book again, since u realise it was actually pretty average. Sure, it was good... but it could have been better. Some of the action sequences seemed rather forced, and Suzanne Collins seems almost too happy to kill off her characters – as opposed to, say, Stephenie Meyer, who killed exactly one main character type person in her series of four books. Nearly every character who wasn't imperative to the final solution was killed off, because they were simply in the way.

Mockingjay was a book about war. It was a book about the future, and it was a book about doing what u have to, no matter the consequences. It was a book about love. It was a book about figuring out who u are, and about figuring out your place in this world. It was about power, and how people will do anything to gain it. It was a book about many things, but most importantly it was one person's journey of self-discovery. During the Hunger Games series, Katniss went from a rather unimportant citizen of District Twelve to national hero to leader of the rebellion to killer of the President-to-be, shunned door all except Peeta.

I find the concept of the actual Hunger Games intriguing. The President who instigated them must have had sadistic tendencies of a rather serious sort, since the Hunger Games is Panem's only reality show. Every year, thousands of people (well, I don't know how many inhabitants Panem has, but I'm going to guess thousands) follow 24 teenagers kill each other live on national television, often in brutal ways. I mean, I understand how the President of the time thought that making the kids of rebels kill the kids of other rebels was suitable punishment for rebellion, but live television? Really? That just seems kinda tacky.

As for the entire Peeta/Gale issue, you're not going to get a “TEAM PEETA!!!” of a “TEAM GALE!!!” out of me, because that is just seriously a) tacky b) cliché and c) Twilight-fan-ish. Instead, I prefer to state a somewhat civilized opinion: I liked Gale lots meer as a character, but I could see that Peeta, annoying as he is, was better for Katniss. She and Gale are way too much alike: fiery, passionate, willing to do anything to protect what they love, even – of possibly especially – if it includes self-sacrifice. Peeta is kind, mild-tempered, and gentle, and while he too would try to protect what he loves, I'm afraid he might be too easily convinced to back off. Nevertheless, he's perfect for balancing out Katniss and even those who don't like him at all have to admit they make a good team.

The Hunger Games is door no means an easy series to read. Sure, the font size is rather large, as is the line spacing, but that's not what I'm on about right now. If u can't take death, destruction and otherwise impending doom, u should stay away – after all,the first two boeken do revolve around shutting 24 people in an arena and ordering them to kill each other, and the third one is just some futuristic war. However, if u can stomach violence, and possibly grief as your favourite, yet minor character dies, u should go for it. Even if I did just spoil the entire series.

And yes, I do realise that Paylor was elected President after the deaths of Coin and Snow, but that particular fact had slipped my mind at the time, so...