Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

July Books 19) Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

"Sometime in the near future, this war will be resolved. A new leader will be chosen," says Boggs.
I roll my eyes. "Boggs, no one thinks I'm going to be the leader."
"No. They don't," he agrees. "But you'll throw support to someone. Would it be President Coin? Or someone else?"
"I don't know. I've never thought about it," I say.
"If your immediate answer isn't Coin, then you're a threat."
In the concluding volume of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss has to work out not so much how to win the war against the regime of President Snow - that part seems to be working reasonably well, now that the rebellion has actually started - but also how to prevent it from being replaced by something just as bad, or worse. There's some pretty sane political critique in the trilogy, most especially of media culture and of authoritarianism, and that comes to a peak here when Katniss makes an agonising choice in the final pages (one which, judging from the internets, is actually lost on some readers). There's a harrowing sequence of her penetrating to the heart of the capitol, in constant danger and losing allies at every step, and of course with unresolved romance issues which she is forced to repress at significant emotional cost. I come away thinking that the first is the best of the three volumes, and one can read it without needing to learn what happens next, but this is a decent conclusion.

There was a remarkable story in the Economist a couple of months back about the adoption of the Hunger Games by the Tea Party. These novels are not great literature, but I think their approach to challenging authority and looking beyond bread and circuses for the reality of your society is sound; and I am not sure that the libertarians have chosen the best author for their own purposes here. While Katniss is (obviously) a fighter for her own freedom and that of others, I sense a pretty important thread of social justice in the books too.
Tags: bookblog 2013, writer: suzanne collins

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