Mockingjay on Fire

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay
Suzanne Collins

4 / 5

Suspenseful and thought-provoking till the last.


The finale of Katniss Everdeen’s adventure takes her to varying locations that not only test her physical toughness but principally, her mental toughness. She undergoes a rollercoaster of feelings that are targeted by Snow and are also the result of decisions made by the rebels. Her distress begins to engulf her as Katniss is met with circumstances that test her resolve and that question her wants and needs. We follow her through District 13, the front line of war and the Capitol as the war rages between the rebels and the Capitol. But she has only one thing on her mind. Kill Snow.

Following the explosive ending to the Quarter Quell, Katniss is rescued by District 13, who have been planning an uprising along with various people from the Districts and the Capitol. District 13 use Katniss as their Mockingjay, and her chief duty for the rebel cause is to be filmed in propos highlighting the Capitol’s destruction of the Districts and how the rebels are attempting to wrestle control from them. Meanwhile, Katniss is also consumed with anger and desperation in getting Peeta back alive, because the Capitol have him broadcasting messages to the rebels to call a halt to the war. Peeta’s condition is visibly worsening with every announcement; this motivates Katniss as she becomes hell-bent on getting Peeta back and killing President Snow for his crimes.

With President Snow’s dystopic world diminishing before him, he uses all the tricks the Capitol has to offer to break Katniss emotionally due to Katniss’s influence as the Mockingjay and the perceived leader of the rebellion. There is excitement and tension at every turn. Whether it be the frantic and electric pace that Collins uses when there is front line action, or the excruciatingly slow pace she uses when describing Katniss’s tormenting nightmares and when she is evaluating her feelings for Peeta and Gale.

The ending was somewhat surprising, even I daresay, anti-climatic. Collins had created a situation where the end was tantalisingly in sight and as the reader my heart rate increased and I was reading quicker as I eagerly anticipated the last twist in the plot, but suddenly it’s over, and I felt a sense of exhaustion. After three wonderfully written books, it ends quickly and I was expecting a finale worthy of something magnificent like her previous endings.

Despite the little underwhelming ending, Mockingjay is a fantastically written novel which keeps its readers on tenterhooks throughout. Although, the format is different from the previous two books, the same games of power and judgement of trust are evident, and these progress as Katniss descends further into the Capitol and closer to achieving her goal. Fans of the series will enjoy reading it and the un-put-down-ability of this book is so strong, your eyes will be glued to the pages.


Catching Fire

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

4.25 / 5

The breathtaking journey leaves you clamouring for the next book!

Hunger Games 2

Following their revolutionary performance in the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 as victors. They both now live in Victors Village along with Haymitch but Katniss still craves for parts of her old life where she goes hunting in the woods and her connection with Gale. This does not go unnoticed by President Snow who delivers a deadly warning to Katniss before she embarks on the cross-district Victory Tour.

They visit the other Districts, doing their best to give some verisimilitude through: giving speeches, acting in love and attending the feasts that go with the tour. However, through their compassion and thankfulness when giving a speech in Rue’s District they have such an effect that they set into motion a chain of events that they could not have foreseen.

The 75th Hunger Games is a Quarter Quell, which indicates that the Capitol is marking the anniversary of their defeat of the Districts in a special way. This time, incidentally means that living victors of each district are sent back into the arena. This is unpopular with Districts as it seems clear that President Snow is trying to quell *no pun intended* the rebellion by getting rid of Katniss, who is seen as a symbol of hope, and the people in the Capitol are distraught that Katniss and Peeta are going in again.

I won’t go into too much detail about the Hunger Games because I found the concept and location fascinating to read and won’t be spoiling it for you! Collins is simply breathtaking in her descriptions of Katniss’s trail of thought, it is very realistic and the reader becomes even more attached and sympathetic to her. Her heart wrenching feelings for Prim, her mother, Peeta and Gale are conveyed further in this book and coupled with the challenging environment and obstacles she faces in the arena, she is tested to the limit. Collins describes ineffable things and thoughts so precisely that the reader can imagine exactly what she is feeling or dealing with.

Fans of the 1st book will not be disappointed with the 2nd instalment, as in my opinion it is just as good as the 1st book. With the film coming out shortly, I would advise anyone planning on seeing the film to read Catching Fire because not only is it an awesome book but because there are plenty of unsaid things in this book that help to gauge Katniss’s emotions and what she is thinking.

With high expectations on the 2nd book and due to the hugely successful first book and now film, Catching Fire met the expectations and Collins has provided another excellently crafted novel that is exceptionally hard to put down. This is highly recommended to anyone who loves young adult literature or dystopian novels. The 2nd film is released in the UK on the 11th November in London but it is mainly released between the 20th-22nd November in most other countries. I for one cannot wait!

The Heroes of Olympus

The Heroes of Olympus

 The Lost Hero 4/5

The Son of Neptune 4.25/5

The Mark of Athena 4.5/5

 The Heroes of Olympus is the continuation of adventures following on from Percy Jackson and The Olympians series. These books focus on the characters, Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel and Frank as they attempt to complete quests regarding the New Great Prophecy. At the end of the end of The Last Olympian, Rachel, the new Oracle speaks the New Great Prophecy.

 Seven half-bloods shall answer the call

To storm or fire, the world must fall

An oath to keep with a final breath,

And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death

The Heroes of Olympus brings together the Greek and Roman aspects of the Gods, which adds a new dimension to the story, as the Gods have sometimes shifted between their Greek and Roman forms. This has led to demi-gods being born to the different versions of the Gods, and they inherit different characteristics and throughout history the Greeks and Romans have been enemies. But the line ‘And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death’ suggests that Greek and Roman demi-gods will have to co-operate in order to defeat Gaia.

The Lost Hero brings a new set of heroes together: Jason, Piper and Leo. Jason has had his memories stolen, Piper’s father has been captured by the giant, Enceladus and Leo is dealing with a guilty conscience as they embark on their first quest together. The Lost Hero is similar to the Lightening Thief to the extent that new friendships are formed between the triumvirate of heroes; Riordan uses first person perspective to extremely good effect as the audience becomes attached, sympathetic and supportive of each character. Piper’s father has been captured by Enceladus and the goddess Hera is also incapacitated with her powers being drained to help the rise of legendary giant, Porphyrion. On their quest to save Hera and Piper’s father, they are met by a series of Gods and monsters, some of which are meant to be dead. The three of them have been brought together as part of an elaborate plan made by Hera/Juno to defeat Gaia. This is an engaging start to this pentalogy and I really enjoyed the first person perspective and the introduction of Gods and monsters from mythology that the three of them meet on their way.

The Son of Neptune sees the return of the main protagonist, Percy Jackson. This time he is accompanied by Hazel and Frank. Percy like Jason has had his memory taken away by Hera and he ends up at Camp Jupiter, the Roman equivalent to Camp Half-Blood. The only thing that he remembers from his past is his girlfriend, Annabeth. The three of them are assigned a ‘suicidal’ quest to Alaska, the one place where the Gods hold no power, to free the God of Death. Not only do they have to complete this quest, they also have to return by the Feast of Fortuna to help defend Camp Jupiter from Gaia’s army led by the giant, Polybotes. Along the way we learn of Frank’s immense vulnerability and power, Hazel’s second chance at life and how she has a personal experience with the undefeatable giant that waits for them in Alaska. The Son of Neptune is a thrilling and unpredictable ride and the ending is fiery brilliant which sets up the next adventure in this awesome series.

The Mark of Athena sees the seven people chosen for the prophecy on a quest together for the first time. The quest takes them to Rome for three things: to prevent the destruction of Rome, to save Nico D’Angelo and to find the Mark of Athena. This is my favourite book of the series so far because of the sheer scale of their task, the amount of adventures in Rome and on the way and the developing friendships and romances aboard the Argo II. It also sees Percy and Annabeth’s relationship reconvene and there are a plethora of heart-wrenching feelings that are shared whenever Riordan focuses on either of them. The seven of them encounter an abundance of Gods and monsters as they make their way to Rome, while in Rome, each of them play a pivotal role in the outcome of this quest. I felt this book explored each hero’s feelings deeply and concisely creating a close connection between the characters and the reader. Also, I found the tasks that the heroes undertook were more challenging and required greater wisdom and co-operation from the heroes. These aspects grew as the story progressed and this was reciprocated by the friendships formed on the Argo II which will stand them in good stead for their next quest.

When the 8th October arrives I will be rushing into my nearest bookshop to purchase House of Hades not only because I am a massive fan of the series but also because of the truly edge-of-the-seat ending which left me aching to find out what happens next.