This was SO VERY NOT my cup of tea. I went into this book thinking, like others before me, that it would be more about Kate's relationship with her mom, and learning to understand death and grieving loss, but no. Everything in this book is a set up to get Kate with Henry, who as far as I can tell has no redeeming qualities other than that he's very attractive, and approaches serious topics only to skirt around them with fluff and garbage. The characters are poorly portrayed as well; Kate comes across as a very bratty young girl with abandonment issues, Henry is an aloof controlling dick, Eva is a stereotypically ditzy cheerleader, and Kate's mom is a plot device.
Aside from the actual plot, Ms. Carter just has some really annoying literary habits. Like, items appearing "seemingly out of no where" because she needs them in the scene to move the story along but couldn't figure out how to integrate them into the prose any other way. Also, Henry is constantly being described as warm. Like, if he's on the same plane of existence as Kate she can "feel the warmth radiating off his body." It's a weird thing to repeat so many times over the course of the book, especially because all the other descriptions are pretty sparse.
Spoiler alert, but this book has some really weird attitudes towards sex. Kate is eighteen, and it's implied that Eva is about the same age as her (also a senior, and all), and in the chapter (fittingly) titled "Judgement," Kate slut-shames the crap out of Eva for sleeping with one of the guys at the manor while they're there for six months. In that very same chapter, Kate and Henry also engage in premarital sex, but Ms. Carter institutes the drugged-to-absolve-them-of-any-"blame" plot device! No one bothers to mention that this means that neither of them was able to consent to sleeping with the other, and Kate spent half the book saying she didn't date, didn't want to sleep with Henry, had no intentions of doing so, and was just there to save her mom. . . It didn't sit well with me at all.
In short, if you liked Twilight, you may like this book. If you are looking for strong female leads in a YA fiction book, you desperately need to hit the back button and keep looking.
This was wonderful! The reading was excellent; I loved Jenny Sterlin's voicing for all the different characters, especially Sofie and Calcifer. This book was really well written, and there is so much more to the story than what was turned into the movie. There are twists and turns that caught me totally by surprise, and whole characters that no one ever got a chance to meet. If you liked the movie, even just a little bit, you will love this book and this reading. Stop reading the review and download it now!!
Overall, I thought that Mockingjay was a really good finish to the Hunger Games series. I've heard some complaints that Suzanne Collins doesn't understand war, but this book isn't about frontline troops, or even about war. Katniss is not a regular Soldier, and with her famous background, it really isn't surprising that in a world where people are kept in line based on fear of things they see on TV, that a big portion of a rebellion would need to involve propaganda. This whole series uses propaganda as a focal point! So, with that in mind, it didn't bother me that Katniss doesn't see a lot of actual combat.
I also liked the way that PTSD is handled in these books. The traumas that everyone goes through and see don't magically heal, but they survive the war and eventually, they manage. The characters at the end of this book are not the same people that they were at the beginning. It isn't pretty and sometimes you don't like them as much as you did in the past, but that feels very real. To me, that is an actual consequence of war, trauma, and loss. I think that for a lot of young people with brothers, sisters, parents and friends coming home from deployments, this will be pretty eye-opening.
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