Mockingjay

…by Suzanne Collins.

This is the third and final book of the Hunger Games trilogy. {Read the first and second book reviews}. Following the destruction of District 12 and the loss of many lives, Katniss wakes up to find herself in District 13. Along with Gale, her mother, her sister Prim and a few other survivors. Unfortunately for Katniss, Peeta has been captured by President Snow as has Johanna. And they now face Snow’s wrath. In the mean time, the rebels along with Coin, the leader of District 13, now want to unite the rest of the districts to usurp the Capitol. And for that, they need Katniss. She is the Mockingjay. The symbol of the rebellion. As Katniss proceeds to fight, she also has to deal with a Peeta who has been brainwashed against her as well as not knowing whom to trust. The rebels are united in their cause but how many lives are Coin and the others willing to sacrifice?

The final book is about the final fight. The fight for freedom and overthrowing a dictatorship. Katniss’ character grows a bit but Prim’s character develops more to the point where you wish you could read a lot more about her. The ending is pretty gut-wrenching and Katniss finally makes her decision with the whole Peeta-versus-Gale issue. Several lives are lost but except for two lives, none of the others affected me too much. There were some parts in the book where I admit I skim-read. Because the fights and the lack of trust were just getting a bit too much for me. It’s not a bad book in that it completes the story for you {especially if you want to know what happens on starting the trilogy!} But it’s nothing spectacular. I find it hard not to compare it to Harry Potter where the final fight scene is so brilliantly penned. I know it’s not justified but based on that, it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I give it a rating of 3.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Note: This review was originally posted on my personal blog.

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Catching Fire

…by Suzanne Collins.

This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Please read my review of the first book if you wish prior to this one. In ‘Catching Fire’, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have emerged as victors but Katniss has done something no one ever did before. And for this, she faces the wrath of President Snow. Some of the districts have begun to rebel against the Capitol thanks to Katniss’ stance during the Hunger Games. This also happens to be the 75th year of the Hunger Games. And this time around, there is a twist. The only people eligible for this year’s games are the previous winners. Which in District 12 leaves Katniss as the only girl tribute and Haymitch and Peeta to be chosen as the male tribute. Katniss is back in the arena with past winners and Peeta and this time, is fighting to keep Peeta alive. In the arena, Katniss doesn’t know who an ally is and who isn’t. But at the same time, she tries to trust Finnick and Mags from District 4. Amidst all this, she also tries to sort out her feelings for Gale and Peeta.

The second book, while thrilling in its own way, didn’t have the suspense and the feel of the first one. Having said that, it was still interesting in its own way. I got a bit frustrated with the whole Gale-versus-Peeta issue. Especially as it reminded me of another book that I couldn’t get past 7 chapters. {Twilight} Thankfully though, Katniss has more brains and brawn than Bella of Twilight. I doubt I could have read this book otherwise. I must admit, I like Katniss and Peeta but they don’t do as much for me as the characters from Harry Potter. It’s still an interesting book to read for the thrill of it and of course, to read as part of the trilogy.

My rating for the second book in the trilogy is 3.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Note: This review was originally posted on my personal blog.

The Hunger Games

…by Suzanne Collins.

16 year old Katniss Everdeen lives in District 12 with her mother and younger sister Prim, aged 12. Katniss’ father died in a mining accident and since his death, she has been the provider for her little family. Along with her best friend Gale, she hunts for food. Katniss and others who live in the Seam area of District 12 are always struggling for food. Thanks to the Capitol that governs all the districts around it.

Yet another initiative by the Capitol is the Hunger Games. Every child from 12 to 18 from each of the districts has to put in their name to participate. And who gets chosen is purely by chance: picking a name out of the hat. 12 boys and 12 girls are then put in an arena and have to fight it out till there is only one remaining. In other words, 23 other children must be killed for one to be declared a victor. And the victor’s district then gets food for a year. When Katniss volunteers herself in place of her sister, she knows it is a matter of life and death. She also knows in order to win, she will not only have to kill children from other districts but also the boy from her own, Peeta. Peeta who was once so kind to Katniss that she still owes him.

I must admit that I was very sceptical about reading The Hunger Games when I heard about it several months ago. The concept of kids needing to kill other kids in order to survive was something I didn’t morally agree with. Eventually though, I caved and got the book after being recommended to read it by someone at my book club. I finished this book in 2 days. Yes, it was that fast paced! I must say I enjoyed most of it and was glad that the killings were not elaborated in a morbid manner and that the violence was not completely gratuitous. Yes, it was disturbing but I think the author handled the concept of the children seemingly having no choice thanks to their government quite well. It’s like a reality TV show that is grotesque. There were occasions when I found myself musing that in real life, this is probably what reality shows could honestly stoop to.

I quite liked Katniss’ character. The fact that the protagonist is a girl and a strong one at that made me feel quite pleased. {Especially when you think about Twilight’s female lead being one I wanted to smack on the head}. The actual games had a feel of the Triwizard Tournament for me initially. Of course, they didn’t have to kill anyone there to win! In the end though, I think the fact that Katniss and a few other children were not killing each other without having doubts of doing it probably saved it as well for me. If it had all been cold-blooded killing, I think I would have been put off it completely. All in all, it’s a good fantasy read and quick-paced. Just don’t compare it to Harry Potter though. 😉

My rating for this book is 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Note: This review was originally posted on my personal blog.

Between the lines

…by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer

Delilah is a teenager. An outcast at school thanks to injuring one of the popular girls. A quiet girl. Whose father walked out on her and her mother years ago. Delilah finds solace in books as that way, you don’t have to live the life you are currently living. However, unlike most teenagers, Delilah seems to have taken a liking to a fairy tale. And what’s more, she seems obsessed with it much to her mother’s dislike. The reason Delilah gets hooked on to this story in the first place is because like her, the main character, Prince Oliver, did not know much of his father either. Her obsession with the book grows as Oliver begins speaking to her.

Oliver is trapped in the fairy tale and wishes to know what life would be like in the outside world. He is unhappy having to play the same role over and over again. Through Delilah, he finally finds a reader he can communicate with. And hopefully, she can help him escape the world of the fairy tale.

What must Delilah have to go through to rescue Oliver?

Does Oliver have his wish come true?

What is it like for characters of a book once the book is closed?

To know all that and much more, you have to read Between the Lines.

This book is unlike Jodi Picoult’s other books mainly because it’s a concept that her daughter came up with and therefore caters to a young adult audience. Hence, as an adult reader, you  need to suspend belief and take the story for what it’s worth. It is a beautiful journey and has its laugh-out-loud moments to heart-stopping ones and on the whole, is like a fairy tale. I thought the concept of characters in a book having a world of their own after the reader stops reading was a brilliant concept! Kudos to Samantha for that! Any avid reader would get hooked on to something like that. For instance, in my case, while reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder about Harry Potter and their world when we shut the book. 🙂

Samantha Van Leer is a name to watch out for in the future. If at such a young age she could come up with a brilliant concept such as this book, I think we are in for a treat! If you are a Jodi Picoult fan, you should know that it is not like any of her other books so it’s important not to compare this to them. Remember again, it’s for young adults and it is fantasy. It is a book to read to escape and get into another world. I give it a rating of 3.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

Note: This was originally posted on my personal blog.

James and the Giant Peach

…by Roald Dahl.

At the age of four, James Henry Trotter is orphaned and sent to live with his aunts Spiker and Sponge. Once he lives with his mean aunts, James’ life changes from the fun and idyllic times with his parents. His aunts are mean and nasty and put James to work. James leads a miserable life for about 3 years until he experiences something incredible. He meets a strange man who gives him a bag with thousand litte green things in it…magical things which are going to help James not feel miserable any more. Alas! James in his excitement, drops the bag and sees all the green things get sucked into the soil. However, when he wakes up the next morning, something strange is in store for him. A peach tree, that has never borne any peaches, has started to grow one. And it’s no ordinary peach. Rather it is a gigantic one. And when James looks at it at night, he finds an opening into the peach and meets the most unusual creatures in there — a Grasshopper, a Centipede, an Earthworm, a Ladybird, a Spider, a Glowworm and a Silkworm. All giants themselves. And waiting for James to join them. And thus, they embark on the most amazing journey and adventures as the peach leaves the garden.

This book by Dahl brought back memories of my Enid Blyton reading days. There was an essence of strange lands and strange people. With animals and creatures taking a human role, it was very much like the wonderful stories I enjoyed as a child. And the adventures…oh the adventures…they are brilliant! You find yourself smiling through most of the book once the group embarks on their journey. And there are moments of strife where you hold your breath. All in all, a brilliant children’s book by Dahl! I give it a rating of 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

The Giraffe and the Pelly and me

…by Roald Dahl.

Billy has a wish. His wish is that a dilapidated and unused wooden house be turned into a sweet-shop. When the house finally gets sold though, it isn’t turned into a sweet shop as he hoped. Rather, it is now the premises of the Ladderless Window Cleaning Company. Owned by a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. Billy befriends these wonderful creatures and together they manage to secure a job with the Duke of Hampshire — the richest man in England. During their cleaning, they manage to help the Duke in ways he could never have imagined.

It’s a story about friendship and kindness and how one good turn deserves another. Dahl continues to portray animals in the best and kindest way possible as well as young boys. Apparently, Dahl values kindness as a trait in people and you can see that in most of his characters as well as the lack of it in some of his ‘villains’. Yet another beautifully penned story that brings to life the extraordinary. Dahl does have a way with words!

I give it a rating of 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

George’s Marvellous Medicine

…by Roald Dahl.

George Kranky lives with his parents Mr and Mrs Kranky and his maternal Grandma. Unlike most grandmas, George’s Grandma is a mean and nasty old lady who only thinks about herself and wants all the attention. Nothing is good enough for this grumpy, grumbling, grouchy lady. And so George decides to teach her a lesson. By making a concoction of his own medicine to replace the one she normally has. This medicine is made of ingredients lying all around the house. And the consequences are surprising! As Dahl warns kids in the beginning, Do not make this at home!

Once again, this is a creatively woven story that appeals to the rule-breaker in all of us! I’m sure we all go through phases where we don’t like someone and wish we could teach them  a lesson. Through George, we all get to live this! Once again, I am amazed at Dahl’s creative genius. He is able to get into a child’s mind so perfectly. Once again, a book I would recommend for you to read to your kids. Or with them. Or to read yourself and re-visit your childhood!

I rate it a 4.

Until next time,

Cheers!!!