Mockingjay

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Mockingjay  
Mockingjay.JPG
Author(s)Suzanne Collins
Cover artistTim O'Brien
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Hunger Games trilogy
Genre(s)Adventure
Dystopian
Science fiction
Action
PublisherScholastic
Publication dateAugust 24, 2010
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages390 (USA); 455 (UK)
ISBN978-0-439-02351-1
OCLC Number522512199
Preceded byCatching Fire
 
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Mockingjay  
Mockingjay.JPG
Author(s)Suzanne Collins
Cover artistTim O'Brien
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Hunger Games trilogy
Genre(s)Adventure
Dystopian
Science fiction
Action
PublisherScholastic
Publication dateAugust 24, 2010
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages390 (USA); 455 (UK)
ISBN978-0-439-02351-1
OCLC Number522512199
Preceded byCatching Fire

Mockingjay is a young adult novel by American author Suzanne Collins. It is the final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy, following 2008's The Hunger Games and 2009's Catching Fire, and continuing the story of Katniss Everdeen, who agrees to lead the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol.

The hardcover and audiobook editions of Mockingjay were released on August 24, 2010, six days after the ebook edition went on sale. The book sold 450,000 copies in the first week of release, exceeding Scholastic's expectations. It received a generally positive reaction from critics, albeit one less enthusiastic than the trilogy's first two books, with some critics being displeased by the series' loose ends not being resolved.

Contents

Inspiration and development

Collins has said that the main inspiration for the series came from the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.[1] As a punishment for past problems, Athens was forced to sacrifice seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, who were then put in the Labyrinth and were killed by the Minotaur.[1] After a while, Theseus, the son of the Athenian king, decided to put an end to the Minotaur and Minos's terror, so he volunteered to go. Collins has said that there are also many Roman references in the fictional nation of Panem. She describes the Hunger Games as "an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment". Collins also explains that the name Panem came from the Roman saying "Panem et Circenses" which means "Bread and Circuses"[2] and refers to the strategy of Roman emperors for appeasing the masses by providing them with food and entertainment. Another inspiration for the series came from a time when Collins was channel-surfing on her television. One channel depicted young people in a reality competition, while another showed young people fighting in an actual war; Collins recalls that the two "[blurred] in a very unsettling way".[3]

As with the previous books in the trilogy, Mockingjay contains 27 chapters, with nine chapters in each of the three parts. This structure, which Collins had previously used in her series The Underland Chronicles, came from Collins's playwriting background.[4] This "three-act" structure is also apparent in the trilogy as a whole; Collins "knew from the beginning" that she was going to write a trilogy.[5]

The cover and title information was revealed by Scholastic on February 11, 2010. The cover continues the previous books' theme on the symbol of peace. The novel's title, Mockingjay, comes from the hybrid birds that feature in the novels' storyline.[6] Publishers Weekly describes the bird as "the hybrid birds that are an important symbol—of hope and rebellion—throughout the books".[7] Collins likens Katniss to a Mockingjay because both "should never have existed".[8]

Plot

Plot introduction

The trilogy takes place in the post-apocalyptic nation of Panem, which occupies what used to be North America. Panem is ruled by the Capitol and is surrounded by 12 districts that provide for it. A thirteenth district had reportedly been destroyed in a rebellion against the Capitol. In the first novel, The Hunger Games, sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister Prim's place in the 74th annual Hunger Games, a competition in which one boy and one girl from each district are chosen to fight each other to the death on live television, a punishment inflicted by the Capitol. The last tribute standing wins fame and wealth. During the games, it is announced that a new rule allows both tributes from one district to live if they are the last alive. Katniss and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark, who pretended to be in love to gain sympathy from the viewers, attempt suicide when the rules are again suddenly changed, and only one tribute is now allowed to live. The Capitol considered this an act of rebellion. In Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta are forced to compete again in a special anniversary Hunger Games among past Hunger Games victors. However, before it is over, a few tributes, including Katniss, are rescued by rebels from District 13, while Peeta is captured and taken to the Capitol. When Katniss asks about District 12, her friend Gale Hawthorne informs her that District 12 has been destroyed by the Capitol.

Synopsis

After her rescue by the rebels of District 13, Katniss is convinced to become "the Mockingjay": a symbol of the rebellion against the ruling Capitol. As part of a deal, she demands that the leader of District 13, President Coin, grant immunity to all of the Hunger Games victors, including Peeta, and that Katniss receives the right to kill President Snow, the leader of Panem. Katniss watches Peeta on television, and is unable to cope with her guilt. Finally, District 13 leaders decide to rescue Peeta, realizing that Katniss's guilt is impeding her role as "the Mockingjay." After the rescue, it is discovered that Peeta has been brainwashed into believing Katniss is the enemy, and he attempts to strangle her during their reunion.

Peeta gradually improves after much treatment and therapy, including cake decorating. His childhood friend, Delly Cartwright, helps with his recovery by retelling happy events in District 12. Soon, Peeta recovers fully enough to train. The rebels and Katniss eventually set off on a mission to the Capitol, and President Coin later sends Peeta with them in replacement of another soldier, although his many scarred memories fuel his rage.

The rebels, including Katniss, take control of the districts and begin an assault on the Capitol. However, an assault on a "safe" Capitol neighborhood goes wrong, and Katniss and her team flee further into the Capitol with the intent of finding and killing President Snow. Many members of Katniss's team are killed through intense urban warfare, including Hunger Games victor Finnick Odair. Muttation lizards also kill her teammates. Eventually, Katniss presses on alone towards Snow's mansion, which has supposedly been opened to shelter Capitol children (but is actually intended to provide human shields for Snow). However, as she reaches the mansion, bombs placed in supply packages kill many children and a rebel medical team which includes Katniss's sister, Prim.

After the rebels conquer the Capitol, they begin to issue a punishment for the Gamemakers, decided upon by popular vote of the surviving victors. The children of the Gamemakers will be forced to participate in the last Hunger Games. The rebels have placed President Snow on house arrest, and when she goes to meet with him, he informs Katniss that the final assault that killed Prim was ordered by President Coin. Katniss realizes that if this is true, the bombing may have been the result of a plan originally developed by Gale Hawthorne; however, Gale denies his involvement. Katniss remembers a conversation with Snow, following the 74th Annual Hunger Games, in which they agreed not to lie to each other. Her suspicions plaguing her, Katniss banishes Gale from her life. When she goes to execute Snow, Katniss realizes he was telling the truth and kills Coin instead. A riot ensues and Snow is found dead, having possibly choked on his own blood (laughing) or been trampled in the crowd. Katniss then tries to commit suicide by swallowing a suicide pill sewn onto her suit before the campaign to conquer the districts began (in case the Capitol captured her during one of her missions), but Peeta stops her. Katniss is acquitted due to her apparent insanity and returns to her home in District 12, along with others who are attempting to rebuild it. Peeta returns months later, having largely recovered from his brainwashing. Finally, Katniss surmises that falling in love with Peeta was inevitable, as he had always represented to her the promise of a better future, rather than the destruction she now associates with Gale. She says that she did not need Gale's fire, as she already had it herself; she needed Peeta, who symbolized the hope she needed to survive. Together with Haymitch they wrote a book filled with the stories of previous tributes of the Hunger Games and those who died in the war to preserve their memory.

In the epilogue, Katniss speaks as an adult, twenty years later. She and Peeta are married and have two children. The Hunger Games are over, but she dreads the day her children learn about their parents' involvement in both the Games and the war. When she feels distressed, Katniss plays a comforting but repetitive "game," reminding herself of every good thing that she has ever seen someone do. The series ends with Katniss claiming that "there are much worse games to play."

Themes

Reviews have noted many themes in the previous books that are also explored in Mockingjay. A review from The Baltimore Sun noted that "the themes of the series, including physical hardships, loyalty in extreme circumstances and traversing morally ambiguous terrain, are continued at an even larger scale." In the book, Katniss must deal with betrayal and violence against people. At the same time, while she was symbolically touching thousands of lives, she must also lead those people into war. Finally, Katniss realizes she cannot even trust President Coin, leader of District 13.[9]

In an interview with Collins, it was noted that the books "[tackle] issues like severe poverty, starvation, oppression, and the effects of war." Collins replied that this inspiration was from her father, who, when going to war in Vietnam, made sure that his children understood the consequences and effects of war.[2] Yvonne Zipp of The Christian Science Monitor noted that it was "the most brutal of the trilogy" and that "Collins doesn't take war lightly – her characters debate the morality involved in tactics used to try to overthrow the rotting, immoral government, and they pay a high cost for those tactics."[10] Katie Roiphe of The New York Times wrote that "it is the perfect teenage story with its exquisitely refined rage against the cruel and arbitrary power of the adult world."[11] In a review for USA Today, Bob Minzesheimer pointed out that the novel contained optimism: "Hope emerges from despair. Even in a dystopian future, there's a better future."[12]

Minzesheimer also noted a central question of "Real or not real?" which was asked throughout the novel by Peeta.[12] Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times also pointed this out, writing, "Mockingjay takes readers into new territories and an even more brutal and confusing world: one where it's unclear what sides the characters are on, one where presumed loyalties are repeatedly stood on their head".[13]

Publication history

Mockingjay was first released in the US and Canada on August 24, 2010. The UK, New Zealand and Australia received the book one day later, on August 25, 2010. The audiobook was released simultaneously on August 24, 2010 by Scholastic Audio.[7]

Sales

The book had a 1.2 million-copy first printing that was bumped up from 750,000.[14] In its first week of release, the book sold over 450,000 copies. Following this, Scholastic printed an additional 400,000 copies, bringing the initial print run up to 1.6 million. Scholastic Trade president Ellie Berger said that sales "have exceeded all expectations".[15] The book has also been released in e-book format and topped sales in the week ending with August 29, 2010, beating out The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which had held the top spot since April.[16] The other Hunger Games books have also made it in the top ten, with the first book at fifth and the second book taking eighth.[16]

Release

Promotion

To promote the release of Mockingjay, many bookstores held midnight release parties. The official event in New York City was attended by Collins, and included many activities such as a tarot card reader, a magician, jugglers and face-painters. Prizes such as signed copies of Catching Fire and Hunger Games-themed cups were raffled. Once Collins arrived, she read the first chapter of the novel, explaining that she would read with an accent since Katniss, the narrator, is from Appalachia. By midnight, copies were being sold with a signature stamp since Collins had a hand injury and was unable to sign.[17]

Before the release, Scholastic also released a trailer for the book, launched a Facebook page that gained over 22,000 fans in 10 days, and held a contest for booksellers to win a visit from Collins and an online countdown clock to the release date. There were also advertisements for the book on websites such as Entertainment Weekly and Romantic Times. National Entertainment Collectibles Association also sold other goods such as t-shirts, posters, games and bracelets.[18] Collins also held a "13-District Blog Tour" where 13 winners received a free copy of Mockingjay on August 24, 2010.[19] A tour was also scheduled, starting at Books of Wonder in New York where the official party took place. The tour ended on November 6, 2010, in the Third Place Books store in Lake Forest Park, Washington.[20]

Critical reception

Mockingjay has received mostly positive reviews from critics; some noted that there was a suspense drop between Catching Fire and the start of Mockingjay. Nicole Sperling of Entertainment Weekly gave the book a B+ and said, "Collins has kicked the brutal violence up a notch in an edge-of-your-seat plot".[21] Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, calling it "the best yet, a beautifully orchestrated and intelligent novel that succeeds on every level". The review went on to praise the "sharp social commentary and the nifty world building".[22] Kirkus Reviews gave Mockingjay a starred review, saying that the book is exactly what its fans are looking for and that "it will grab them and not let go".[23] Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times compared the battlefield to Iraq and said that the book is every bit as original as the first in the series, ending the review with "Wow".[13]

The Baltimore Sun's Nancy Knight commented that the book "ends on an ostensibly happy note, but the heartbreaking effects of war and loss aren't sugar-coated" and that it will have readers thinking about the effects of war on society.[9] Katie Roiphe of The New York Times said it is "the perfect teenage story with its exquisitely refined rage against the cruel and arbitrary power of the adult world". However, she criticized that it was not as "impeccably plotted" as The Hunger Games.[11] Bob Minzesheimer of USA Today gave the book three out of four stars.[12] The Christian Science Monitor reviewer Yvonne Zipp described it as "an entirely gripping read".[10]

While a review from The Sacramento Bee praised the action scenes and the battle in the Capitol, the reviewer also criticized Collins for not giving enough time to finish all the loose ends, writing that "the disappointment with Mockingjay hits primarily as Collins starts her home stretch. It's almost as if she didn't allocate enough time or chapters to handle all her threads".[24]

Film adaptations

The Hunger Games trilogy is being adapted into a series of films, with the stars of the 2012 film The Hunger Games having signed on to produce a total of four movies.[25]

On July 10, 2012, it was announced that Mockingjay will be split into two parts, with scheduled release dates; Part 1 on November 21, 2014, and Part 2 on November 20, 2015.[26]

References

  1. ^ a b Margolis, Rick (September 1, 2008). "A Killer Story: An Interview with Suzanne Collins, Author of 'The Hunger Games'". School Library Journal. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6590063.html. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3)". Powell's Books. http://www.powells.com/biblio?show=HARDCOVER:SALE:9780439023511:12.59&page=authorqa. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  3. ^ Margolis, Rick (September 1, 2008). "A Killer Story: An Interview with Suzanne Collins, Author of 'The Hunger Games'". School Library Journal. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6590063.html. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ Collins, Suzanne (Video). Similarities To Underland. (Interview). Scholastic Canada. http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/videos/similarities-to-underland.htm. Retrieved March 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ Hopkinson, Deborah (September 2009). "A riveting return to the world of 'The Hunger Games'". Book Page. http://bookpage.com/interview/a-riveting-return-to-the-world-of-%E2%80%98the-hunger-games%E2%80%99. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  6. ^ Staskiewicz, Keith (February 11, 2010). "Final 'Hunger Games' novel has been given a title and a cover". Entertainment Weekly. http://shelf-life.ew.com/2010/02/11/final-hunger-games-novel-has-been-given-a-title-and-a-cover/. Retrieved February 11, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Roback, Diane (February 11, 2010). "'Mockingjay' to Conclude the Hunger Games Trilogy". Publishers Weekly. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/42030-mockingjay-to-conclude-the-hunger-games-trilogy-.html. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  8. ^ Margolis, Rick (August 1, 2010). "The Last Battle: With 'Mockingjay' on its way, Suzanne Collins weighs in on Katniss and the Capitol". School Library Journal. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/885800-312/the_last_battle_with_mockingjay.html.csp. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Knight, Nancy (August 30, 2010). "Read Street: 90-second review: 'Mockingjay' by Suzanne Collins". The Baltimore Sun. http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/books/blog/2010/08/90second_review_mockingjay_by.html. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Zipp, Yvonne (August 26, 2010). "Mockingjay". The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2010/0826/Mockingjay. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Roiphe, Katie (September 8, 2010). "Survivor". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/books/review/Roiphe-t.html. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  12. ^ a b c Minzesheimer, Bob (March 1, 2011). "Suzanne Collins' 'Mockingjay' is the real deal as the trilogy finale". USA Today. http://books.usatoday.com/book/suzanne-collins-mockingjay/r145223. Retrieved February 25, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Carpenter, Susan (August 23, 2010). ""Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins: Book review". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-mockingjay-20100823,0,4302544.story. Retrieved 29 August 2010. 
  14. ^ "Scholastic Increases First Printing of Mockingjay, the Final Book of The Hunger Games Trilogy, to 1.2 Million Copies" (Press release). Scholastic. July 1, 2010. http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/node/349. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "'Mockingjay' Sells More Than 450,000 Copies in First Week". Publishers Weekly. September 2, 2010. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/44359-mockingjay-sells-more-than-450-000-copies-in-first-week.html. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  16. ^ a b "Kindle best-sellers: 'Mockingjay' flies to the top". The Independent (London). September 2, 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/kindle-bestsellers-mockingjay-flies-to-the-top-2067911.html. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  17. ^ Wilkinson, Amy (August 24, 2010). "'Mockingjay' Official Midnight Release Party: We Were There! » Hollywood Crush". MTV. MTV Networks. http://hollywoodcrush.mtv.com/2010/08/24/mockingjay-hunger-games-midnight-release-party/. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  18. ^ Springen, Karen (August 5, 2010). "Marketing 'Mockingjay'". Publishers Weekly. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/44062-marketing-mockingjay-.html. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "Hungry for Mockingjay giveaways?". Scholastic. July 30, 2010. http://onourmindsatscholastic.blogspot.com/2010/07/hungry-for-mockingjay-giveaways.html. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  20. ^ "The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins". Scholastic. http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/about-the-author.htm. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  21. ^ Sperling, Nicole (August 24, 2010). "'Mockingjay' review: Spoiler alert!". Entertainment Weekly. http://shelf-life.ew.com/2010/08/24/mockingjay-review-spoiler-alert/. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Mockingjay". Publishers Weekly. August 23, 2010. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/reviews/single/59715-mockingjay-.html. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  23. ^ Smith, Vicky (August 25, 2010). "MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins". Kirkus Reviews. http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/childrens-books/suzanne-collins/mockingjay/. Retrieved September 2, 2010. 
  24. ^ Morrison, Kathy (August 30, 2010). "Book review: 'Mockingjay' completes 'Hunger Games' trilogy.". The Sacramento Bee. 
  25. ^ Robert, David (November 18, 2011). "Woody Harrelson Talks 'Hunger Games'". MTV. http://movienight.mtv.ca/2011/11/woody-harrelson-talks-hunger-games/. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  26. ^ "'Hunger Games' finales set for 2014, 2015 release with 'Mockingjay' parts 1 and 2". Washington Post. July 10, 2012. http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/hunger-games-finales-set-for-2014-2015-release-with-mockingjay-parts-1-and-2/2012/07/10/gJQArSuJbW_story.html. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 

External links