What Jenny's Reading

{July 3, 2015}   Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Happy Thursday!  Or happy Friday, considering that this post will probably look like I posted it in the wee early morning hours of Friday.  This weekend I’ll have some star-spangled nail art for you, but I thought, remember how this is actually a book blog?  Anyway, I have part one of Mockingjay for you tonight!

The book opens with Katniss standing in the ruins of District 12. Apparently it’s been about a month since the end of Catching Fire, and in that time she’s been trying to recover from the concussion and electrical shock she received in the arena.

But the powers that be in District 13 don’t have time for her recovery, you know. They need her to agree to be the Mockingjay, the televised leader of the rebels, to help fire up the troops and win the war. Plutarch and President Coin, the leader of 13 (not mayor, but president) are pissy that she won’t just do everything they want when they want it.

I just thought I’d remind everybody that Katniss is only seventeen.

Anyway. So they decide to let her go see 12, because if she sees the devastation, maybe she’ll agree to do what they want. I mean, she did want to go, but that’s their basic reasoning for allowing it. So she wanders around the bombed wasteland, thinking about how it’s her fault that everyone who didn’t escape is dead.

I’m about to say something nice about Gale. Prepare yourselves.

Katniss tells us that Gale was the one who managed to get nine hundred people from 12 out once the bombings started. He took them to the Meadow, where he and Katniss used to hunt, and tried to organize everyone. Prim and Katniss’s mother helped the wounded, and Gale tried to keep everyone calm and make sure they were fed. That’s a huge job for an eighteen-year-old (nineteen?), and he managed it for three days before the hovercraft from 13 came to evacuate them. Good on you, Gale. No snark there, I promise.

Katniss keeps walking, actually up to her house. The one in the Victor’s Village, not the one she shared with her family before her first Games. The houses in the Village weren’t damaged, probably because reporters and other officials would need a nice place to stay if they came to 12, she thinks. She worries about Peeta, trapped in the Capitol.

Finnick isn’t doing well, we find out. He sleeps a lot and is basically out of it, because he’s so worried about what could be happening to Annie.

At the house, Katniss retrieves her father’s hunting jacket and a couple other mementos. She discovers Buttercup, Prim’s cat that she hates, has survived, and traps him in her game bag to take home to Prim. She also finds a white rose from Snow, which frightens her, and she leaves 12 via the hovercraft.

We learn about 13, where they now live. They are very military-minded; everyone fourteen and over is in their army and called “soldier.” Army for what, you might ask. Well, army for taking over the Capitol! All their clothes are gray, their living compartments white, and everything is underground. They eat boring food and go to boring lectures on nuclear history and probably murdering Capitol citizens. They did welcome all the refugees from 12, but Katniss thinks this is because they needed them. 13 had a pox epidemic awhile back, and Dalton, a refugee from 10, tells her they need new breeding stock. I really thought that idea might become part of the storyline, but it doesn’t. At least, not really.

13 sounds like a snoozefest, honestly. I can understand why Katniss just wanders around and sleeps all the time.

Katniss is happy for one thing: she and Gale are friends again. Well, yeah. Now that Peeta and any other real distractions are essentially out of the picture, he is happy to be her friend!

This doesn’t last long, though. The distractions, not the friendship. Katniss gets called to Command to watch television, where Caesar Flickerman is interviewing Peeta. She is very happy to see him alive and looking very healthy. Peeta tells the audience they need a cease-fire in the war since they’ll probably all end up killing themselves and the human race will die out. For this, he is branded a traitor by 13. Because, of course, he has absolute control over the things he is saying, and isn’t possibly being coerced or threatened somehow. Obviously he is an evil war criminal who must be executed via firing squad.

So Katniss leaves the room and runs to hide. She is happy he is alive but worried about the traitor thing. Gale comes to find her, because she cannot possibly have even one tiny second to herself when he’s around. He tells her that Peeta probably did a lot of damage with his discussion of a cease-fire. Personally, I think that if Peeta did all that damage with just talking, your rebellion is probably pretty weak anyway, you know?

We know that almost every district is in open rebellion against the Capitol. We know that 13 hasn’t really done much as far as fighting goes yet. So maybe step up, guys, and start leading your precious rebellion before it goes astray.

Katniss decides she’s going to be the Mockingjay, because she doesn’t think a cease-fire is possible. They’d just go back to the status quo of kids dying in arenas.

That night, she chats with Prim about being the Mockingjay, and her fears about Peeta. Prim tells her that she should make Peeta’s freedom a condition of her being the Mockingjay. She tells Katniss that she is powerful, and that she could probably ask for whatever she wants and they’d give it to her. Katniss considers this.

So the next morning she agrees to be the Mockingjay, so long as they allow her to keep her cat, let her hunt, let her have Gale with her, and also grant Peeta and the other captured victors immunity. Coin is really not interested in this, because she’s apparently got a lady boner for war tribunals or something, but they finally relent and she gets what she wants. She also forces Coin to announce everything in front of all of 13, so there are witnesses and she can’t easily back out of the deal later. Smart girl. Well, I can’t remember whose idea that actually was. Maybe Prim’s? Maybe Gale’s? I think Prim. Gale didn’t know she was going to ask for the immunity thing till she said it.

They make the announcement, and apparently the citizens of 13 are a little pissy about the idea that Katniss might want something in return for being the face of the rebellion and putting herself and the people she loves in incredible danger. She should do this out of the goodness of her heart, I guess. Fuck that. Hey, 13, maybe try actually participating in the war effort before you go bitching about someone wanting something as outrageous as payment for services rendered.

Katniss’s first day as the television rebel is exciting. She discovers that Cinna designed her Mockingjay suit, and also that her prep team was kidnapped from the Capitol and brought to 13 to get her ready for appearances. Of course, their ability to do this was marred slightly by the fact that they were tortured for eating extra bread.

Personally, this would’ve been my first red flag. But whatever.

So they wait till the next day to film her first “propo.” She gets a director and everything. They make her up with her costume and a lot of makeup, and then give her a slogan to say so they can work it into a short propo and show Coin. It goes as well as you can imagine, which is to say, not very.

Haymitch reappears at this point. Haymitch! I’ve missed you. Katniss hasn’t, though, because she’s still pissed about him lying to her and not rescuing Peeta. Anyway, he’s been on lockdown for a long time because of detoxing from alcohol, as alcohol isn’t allowed in 13. He gathers a bunch of people, Coin and other district leaders along with people Katniss knows personally. They all decide that she is a crap actress and her most meaningful moments come from herself, so they need to send her somewhere to give her some spontaneity. Coin okays a trip to District 8, since it’s relatively clear and the fighting is mostly over.

She and Haymitch have a moment where they forgive each other for leaving Peeta behind, so that’s nice.

Katniss travels with Boggs, one of Coin’s lieutenants, to the hangar where they keep all the hovercrafts and so forth. She wants to like him, but doesn’t really trust him considering his relationship with Coin. Finnick tries to hitch along, and Katniss distracts him by telling him to go find Beetee, and also to put on some pants, since he isn’t wearing any.

She and Boggs chat about the fact that 13 hasn’t done anything really thus far with the war, and Boggs tries to explain they needed to build up their resources first, which is an okay defense, but still. They also talk about the whole death of the human race, which is something Peeta talked about too. Katniss doesn’t find it very impressive that 13 seems to agree with Peeta as far as the population issue goes, but they brand him a traitor.

Anyway. Plutarch’s assistant is not happy about Katniss having washed all her makeup off, and then comments that Gale is hot. Katniss is uncomfortable with this, and Boggs helps her out by telling Plutarch’s assistant that Gale is nowhere near as hot as Finnick, so shut up about the whole thing.

So they go to 8. It’s a hospital, and Gale and Katniss are unimpressed with the layout and so forth, like way to be snobbish, guys. Yeah, it’s not as nice and clean as hospitals you know, because it’s in the middle of a freaking war. Paylor, the new commander of 8, basically tells them to blow it out their asses, but if they have a better suggestion for keeping the patients indoors, she’s willing to hear it. That shuts them up.

Apparently Katniss does very well with the patients, and is happy with herself once they leave. They do run into trouble, as there’s apparently a bomb squad headed back to 8. Somehow, instead of going to the hovercraft and safety, Katniss and Gale head for a rooftop and join the fighting. Katniss rips out her earpiece, which was Haymitch’s link to her, and they shoot arrows and take down ships and so forth.

The hospital gets totally destroyed, and no one got out alive. Katniss is horrified and makes a speech about how evil the Capitol is, and that they all need to fight back against it. Also, I guess Gale’s dismay about the hospital setup was because he expected the Capitol to destroy it, rather than being a dick about conditions.

The propo they make from this footage is great, I guess, and they run it everywhere except the Capitol, because they can’t break through their firewall yet.

Katniss was injured in the fighting, or at least maybe was re-injured? Anyway, she hangs out in the hospital now, with Finnick mostly. He brought his dinner to her room and they eat and watch television together.

I love Katniss and Finnick. I don’t ship them, but I really like their friendship. Poor Katniss really needs some friends without ulterior motives. I think right now he’s the only one she has.

So they watch Katniss’s propo, and then there’s a Capitol program where Caesar interview Peeta again. He looks horrible, like he’s sick and injured and not eating. He talks about the war and tries to protect Katniss by saying he thinks she’s being used by the rebels. He speaks directly to her and advises her not to trust the people around her, and to find out what their real goals are.

Finnick, fast thinker that he is, shuts off the TV and tells Katniss they didn’t see Peeta’s interview. Sure enough, within seconds, Plutarch and his assistant are there, to see Katniss’s reaction to the interview. They both lie they turned off the television and no one mentions Peeta. Katniss is left to wonder if Peeta was speaking in more Capitol language, or if there’s something to what he said.

The next day, still no one tells her about the interview, not even Gale. Gale’s got his fancy “communicuff” back, which is like a watch and texting combined. Katniss is pissed at him, and thinks he got it back (he lost it a few weeks ago after defending Katniss to Coin I think) because he agreed to lie to her about Peeta’s interview. He does apologize, and says that everyone was worried about how she’d react to it. Katniss isn’t interested in his apology, though; she’s too pissed that everyone is lying to her again.


Like you say – a few red flags there that Katniss should probably have seen! Such a good book though.


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