Suzanne Collins

My Review: MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the third and final installment of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy - MOCKINGJAY - Suzanne Collins delivers yet another poignant - albeit much darker - storyline.

The book opens with Katniss now a member of society in District 13 - a district once believed to have been obliterated by the Capitol.

Life in her new district becomes a series of robotic movements, as everyone is required to adhere to a strict schedule, which is imposed to help mandate all resources. President Coin is in charge of the District and with her firm hand, persuades Katniss to become the Mockingjay - the iconic symbol needed to band all district rebels together, to fight back against the Capitol.

Armed with Gale at her side, a list of requirements in order to become the Mockingjay - which includes immunity for all prior Hunger Game tributes, amongst a host of other needs - Katniss accepts the position of her new role as the Mockingjay...and yet again, is thrown into the spot light - constantly being televised to spread encouragement across Panem and trigger the rise of the Rebels to fight back against President Snow and his army of PeaceKeepers.

And in order for President Snow to retaliate against all that the Mockingjay represents, he uses Peeta - who was captured at the end of the last Hunger Games, when Katniss was rescued - against her, controlling everything about him, from what he says, to how he acts. However, a small part of Peeta still exists, as he manages to get out a warning to District 13, about an impending attack - saving the lives of all those in the District.

The story continues with a successful rescue of Peeta, as well as several other captive Tributes - only to find that Peeta has been the victim of being "hijacked"...a process in which the Capitol inflicts severe torture along with chemical enhancements, in order to turn him against Katniss. It now appears that the once loving and admiring Peeta, is gone for good.

Coming to grips with a new Peeta that has so much anger and hate towards Katniss, she opts to leave District 13 and hit the front lines of the Rebel attack in the Capitol.

Facing a constant uphill battle, Collins' flings every assault imaginable, our heroine's way...making it almost impossible to believe that anyone will be left standing. By the last few pages, I found myself upset many times over, at the ease in which she'd killed off those that Katniss loved - however, I will admit, survival of all involved, was never something Collins' promised.

Collins' tale - while sometimes extreme - unfolded a realistic story of what one could expect during war...the bitterness Katniss experiences, along with the harsh reality of how life changes. And all of this kept diligently to the overall theme that she set up from page one of THE HUNGER GAMES.

MOCKINGJAY was beautiful in all it's anger and masterfully written - and I know my stalling to read it, was only because I didn't want it to end. Overall, all three books in this trilogy, have made it into my top 10 of all time. And all three are a definite MUST read, without a doubt.

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Coming Soon: MOCKINGJAY, by Suzanne Collins


By Suzanne Collins


And here it comes...

With Suzanne Collins much anticipated release of her third and final installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, set to release this coming Tuesday, 8.24, it's not a shock to see she's holding on to the #1 and #2 spots on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Not since the masses have flooded books stores to buy one of the Twilight Saga novels - or any one in the fabulous Harry Potter series - have book stores ramped up for a midnight release.

But it's really no surprise.

Anyone who's read the first two books - THE HUNGER GAMES and  CATCHING FIRE - already understands the frenzy surrounding this series.

Collins has produced a story line that not only strikes a chord with the Young Adult market - but has managed to enthrall readers of all ages. Not to mention, her ability to continually harvest a fabulous tale that just gets better with every page turned.

I am much anticipating the release of the final book in this series - and will no doubt, be amongst the millions of readers of all ages, reading it into the wee hours of the next morning!

Happy reading to everyone - and as of right now - only 4 days, 13 hours, and 21 minutes, until MOCKINGJAY is released!


My Review: CATCHING FIRE by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire (Hunger Games, #2) CATCHING FIRE, by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think Suzanne Collins has achieved something very rare, with her second installment in The Hunger Games series.  In Catching Fire, she wrote a darker sequel that used the strength of a great platform from book #1...and yet managed to expand her writing into an amazing tale that I simply couldn’t put down.  This book was just as addicting - if not more - than The Hunger Games.  

Catching Fire starts after Katniss and Peeta’s shocking double victory in the 74th Hunger Games of Panem, where they are taken back to their homes in District 12.  However, they have very little time to themselves before they're expected to participate in their Victory Tour - were the two will be whisked away by their stylists, designers, and Haymitch and Effie - and forced to visit each of the districts, in a drawn out celebration of their survival.

But that's just the beginning of the story, as Collins unfolds scene after scene in the varying districts they visit – full of crowds that aren't trying to fake a happiness that simply isn’t there.  Many speculate how Katniss and Peeta were manipulated during the Games by all those involved.  And most of them struggle with the urge to resist the Capital – knowing that this will only win them, a very public death.  The unsuccessful rebellion 75 years prior is a constant reminder.  

Catching Fire brings more history behind Panem - and along with it, the constant fears of District 12 that have not at all been alleviated by Katniss and Peeta’s victory in the Games.  President Snow is enraged by Katniss’ rebellious tactics that challenge everything he exists to enforce.  He even decides to make a personal visit – and makes it clear, that he will destroy anything and everything that she loves, if she doesn’t comply.  And suddenly the District is inundated with dozens of new Peacekeepers, instructed to take over the lax law enforcement that currently exists.  Security is tightened, the electric fence that has surrounded their district without electricity for years, has been turned on - and they are making public demonstrations with those that disobey.

What’s worse, is that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the districts’ defeat - and brings with it, the third Quarter Quell: a quarter century celebration that mixes the yearly Game, into a twisted form of itself.  It’s more brutal and callous than ever, as the Capital forces the reminder onto its patrons that all districts, are beneath them.  But this year, the twist is even more terrifying than it’s ever been before.  President Snow announces that as a reminder to all of the rebels within each District, not even the strongest among them can overcome the power of the Capital.  As a result, the male and female tributes selected for the 75th Hunger Games, will all be reaped from their existing pool of victors.  And since District 12 has only had 3 victors, one female and two males – this means that Katniss will again, be fighting for her life.

Just when I thought Catching Fire couldn't possibly hold everything within its 391 pages, Collins manages to push the envelope even further, up to the very end.  She adds a condensed version of the Hunger Games, in the last third of the book – not pausing for a moment, to let readers believe that she will simply just repeat what worked for her in The Hunger Games.  Why I even questioned this at all, is beyond me.  

The constant threats of the Capitol, and the ease in which they demonstrate their control, was a continuous source of paranoia in the first book – and Collins doesn’t disappoint in bringing that forward into Catching Fire.  It’s evident throughout the story, as the Capital publically punishes those that have disobeyed – even in circumstances from many years prior.  It’s no different for the rebels of District 12, where Peacekeepers have set fire to buildings, destroying them - and have even resorted to diminishing their food supply.  But all of the districts suffer under Katniss and Peeta’s victory – even if they internally rejoice in the couple’s single act of rebellion against the Capital – fueling their belief for a better future.

I am amazed how Collins has added even more complications to the plot, not to mention, several morally-troubling alliances for Katniss in the Games.  In short, Catching Fire brings every agonizing twist and turn that The Hunger Games presented, plus a million more.

There’s so much to this story - and I felt both exhausted and exhilarated up to the very last page. Every single one of the characters has easily earned their reason to be included – and they each offer their own unique voice to the story.  This was simply, writing at its best.

I can count on one hand, the number of truly remarkable authors that I have managed to find, in the 30+ years I’ve been reading.  Suzanne Collins has just made that list.  Trust me, The Hunger Games is a definite must read – and its sequel, Catching Fire, will not disappoint.

Now, what to read while I await the third and final installment to The Hunger Games series – Mockingjay - which doesn’t come out for another two months?  Guess I’ll just read them both, again.

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Check out the YouTube book trailer of CATCHING FIRE, by Suzanne Collins:



My Review: THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing, amazing, amazing read!

This was a fabulous book - and Suzanne Collins did an incredible job at keeping me mesmerized page after page.  I simply couldn't put it down - and devoured it in less than a day!  And I knew immediately, that I would recommendation this to ANYONE, looking for a great YA novel.

The Story Line: in a not-sure-when distant future, Katniss Everdeen, is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister Prim, in the poorest district of Panem (District 12) - the remnants of what used be the United States.  Well before her time, there were 13 districts across the country - but they all waged war against the Capital...and they lost.  And the 13th district was obliterated.

Now, as part of the surrender terms - and to show that the Capital is more in control than ever - each of the 12 remaining districts are forced to send one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18, to appear in an annual televised event called, The Hunger Games.  And all districts select these two individuals, by form of a lottery.

In a game of kill or be killed - each year the terms are different and undisclosed to those participating.  Constantly changing terrain - which can be anything from the desert to the ocean - along with new and updated rules, are all a part of the games.  But the worst, is not knowing the skill level of the other 23 chosen - all of which, who have only one thing on their minds:  to be the last one standing, no matter what.

For the year of the 74th games, things change for Katniss and her family, when her 12 year-old sister Prim is randomly chosen by the  lottery.  In an effort to save her sister and protect her family, Katniss steps up to take her place.  And finds herself participating in the ultimate reality TV show - a fight to the death against 23 other kids.

With some romance, and a little humor thrown in amongst the carnage - all in all, Collins' first book of the Hunger Games series, is simply unforgettable.  A definite must read, hands down.
The only thing I can say about being so far behind on reading this series, is that I also bought Catching Fire at the same time (and Mockingjay will be out in a month and a half), so I don't have to wait long to read all of them.

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Check out the YouTube book trailer of THE HUNGER GAMES, by Suzanne Collins: