just what it sounds like…reading as a religion

Science Fiction

And So, We Reach the End.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Note: You may find spoilers here.

Recently, I proclaimed my excitement over receiving my copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, the final installment in the Hunger Games Trilogy. I have been waiting in anticipation for this novel to be released because I became so deeply attached to the characters and the story in the previous two novels in the series. I was certainly not disappointed by this last chapter. Collins writes this novel with as much intrigue and emotion as the previous novels. I will say, however, that this one depressed me. I think the only reason I came away from the book feeling less than satisfied was due to the level of sadness in this novel. I’m a sucker for happy endings. However, I found that the emotional nature of this book made it far more realistic (given the content), than if the novel had been a happy fairy tale ending to the series.

Katniss does not live in a happy fairy tale world. The future, dystopian society in which she lives is full of very real problems and struggles. The point of this novel, and the series thus far, has never been about giving Katniss her fairy tale ending, in my opinion. Sorry, if that spoils something for you. However, if you’ve read the first two novels, you probably aren’t expecting this one to be all rainbows and sunshine. Katniss has always been on a journey to find herself, to decide what she values, and to determine what she wants from life. She has struggled in determining her views of right and wrong and in developing her sense of trust.

I don’t want to give away too much plot detail, as I am forever encouraging people to read this series from the beginning. I will just say that this third installment, Mockingjay, is superb. It is suspenseful and gut-wrenching. You won’t be able to put it down. I will warn that it is considerable more violent than the first two installments IMHO. However, it may just be that the violence is of a grander and more random scale, more so than it being more graphic, which gives it such an intense feeling. Also, though you may have already picked this up, this one is sad. Be prepared with a large box of Kleenex!

Finishing a book series is always a bitter sweet moment. One is anxious to see how their favorite characters end up, but is sad to know this is the end. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hunger Games Trilogy as a whole. It is one of the best things I have read in some time, for its emotional qualities and its detailed content. I urge you to read this series if you haven’t and I look forward to seeing what comes next from Ms. Collins.


Girl on Fire, or Why I Am Now Totally Devoted To Suzanne Collins

Just finished Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins’ sequel to the Hunger Games.  Not wanting to spoil anything for you silly folks who have yet to get interested in this series, all I am going to say is “WOW!”

Getting Graphic Part 1: Welcome to the Black Parade

The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way

In my new series, Getting Graphic, I’m gonna explore the world of graphic novels.  It’s something I’ve been interested in for awhile and a medium that I think is really exciting.  For this first part, I’m sticking with a comic staple—SUPERHEROES!

Title: The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite

Author: Gerard Way

Illustrator: Gabriel Bá

The Whole Picture: In this collection by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, we meet the Umbrella Academy, a futuristic group of superhero orphans raised by a mysterious scientist called The Monacle.  Each of the seven members of the Academy has struggled with figuring out who they are and the life they want to have.  The death of The Monacle brings them all together again as adults where they must deal with the past as they try to save the future.  This motley collection of strange superheroes is both fascinating and slightly disturbing—creating a hero comic for the modern age.  The characters of this book are its most intriguing feature.  Unlike typical heroes, the members of the Umbrella Academy seem to live in the real world where the distinction between good and evil isn’t black and white.  As you read, you will see the psychological depth of these characters and what being ‘super’ does to them as they try to understand what it means to have the powers that they do.  The Umbrella Academy is strange and quirky, but intensely enjoyable.  The characters, unlike any I have ever met, are weird and wonderful and leave the reader begging for the story to be continued.  If you enjoy this book, the series is continued in the 2nd volume, The Umbrella Academy: Dallas, and the forthcoming 3rd volume, The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion.

Fighting Hunger, or Why I Am So Thankful I Don’t Live in the Future

As promised, here it is:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Title: The Hunger Games

Author: Suzanne Collins

The Story As It Is: Katniss Everdeen is 16

years old.  Katniss Everdeen has to fight to the death.  In a strange future version of the Earth, Kat lives in District 12—one of the poorest of the twelve districts of Panem.  The twelve districts of Panem are ruled over by the elite in the Capitol.  In earlier times, the thirteen districts (yes, there was a thirteenth district then) rose in rebellion against the Capitol and lost.  As if the destruction of District 13 wasn’t enough, the Capitol gives the districts a yearly reminder of their power.  Each district must send one boy and one girl, chosen by random at the Reaping, to the Capitol for the Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games are a dangerous fight for survival broadcast live on television for the entertainment of the Capitol’s wealthy inhabitants.  Each Tribute, as the selected boys and girls are called, tries to be the last person alive and the victor of the Games.  After the Reaping, Katniss and Peeta, the boy Tribute from District 12, are quickly whisked away to the glorious and foreboding Capitol, where no manner of luxury that they are offered can distract them from the horrible future that awaits them.  Expected to lose because of their District 12 home, Kat and Peeta must use every bit of themselves to survive.

The Story As I See It: This book is totally engrossing.  Once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.  From the first moment, you are rooting for Kat to survive.  Then, a wrench is thrown in the works—Peeta is pretty loveable too, especially when he seems to care so much for Kat.  Before reading this, I was worried that it might be too grim or gory for me.  I mean, it is about teenagers trying to kill each other to win a game.  However, I found the story extremely riveting and actually kind of uplifting as you see the strength that Kat shows.  Plus, reading about all the future technology in the Capitol is actually pretty cool.

Verdict: This is not happy, sunny reading.  If that’s what you are looking for, this is not for you.  However if you want a really good story that draws you in from the beginning and continues with heart-racing action throughout, you need to read this book.  I am so excited to read the sequel and I am sure I will be waiting in anticipation for the release of the third installment in August!