Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins, 2010

I read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire this year after having them recommended a number of times. (I might have been the one to order #1 for the library – as I believe I did Harry Potter way back when!) All 3 are very much of a piece, about equally good. Good, but not great. There’s a teeny bit of telling-not-showing, actually reminiscent of the slow bits in the Harry Potter books when Rowling needs part of the semester to pass. Katniss is a full-bore heroine in the Buffy mode (without the occasional whining), but considering the narration is first-person, there’s something curiously opaque about her. It’s true she’s not very self-aware, and that’s believable, but there’s sometimes a lack of affect in her descriptions, even when the words themselves are powerful.

I’m very glad I read these books, though. The most thought-provoking aspect to me was the omnipresence of TV cameras, which persists during the revolutionary uprising (and afterward, we’re led to believe). Both sides see the cameras and crews as indispensable, and in large part it’s Katniss’ stylist and his helpers, as well as her mentor’s care for her visual and emotional image, that enables her to succeed. Everyone in this dystopia takes the media interpretation of life as a given, on a par with reality itself.