Favorites February: Mockingjay

Welcome to Favorites February! This month I am re-reading The Hunger Games trilogy for the first time in a long time, and then taking some time to discuss and celebrate each book when I’m done. This is the final week, and I’m of course going to discuss Mockingjay.

I feel like I should start by saying I actively disliked the final book the first time I read it. I think the plot is objectively less strong than the firsts two books, and I still hate how the last third played out. It all seemed so pointless and unnecessary. However, every time I read this book I enjoy it a little bit more. This is also probably the most thought-provoking book in the series, so there should be plenty to discuss!

As always, spoilers ahead.

Summary

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans—except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay—no matter what the personal cost.

Why I Love This Book

  • Katniss’s PTSD is extremely intense and compelling, and I think important for young people to read in this bloody series.
  • Man, Snow is EVIL.
  • When they play “crazy cat” with Buttercup ❤
  • The ethical and moral questions brought up by the war.
  • What happens to Peeta is so terrible, but for some reason so unputdownable?
Continue reading “Favorites February: Mockingjay”

Favorites February: The Hunger Games

Welcome to Favorites February 2021! This year I’m reading The Hunger Games trilogy, and had an absolute BLAST kicking it off with the one that started it all. I can’t believe it’s been a DECADE since I discovered this series. And I was already an adult… Geez Louise, I’m old aren’t I?

I’m assuming that everyone who is ever going to read The Hunger Games probably already has, so spoilers in the discussion. You’ve been warned.

Synopsis

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.

Why I Love This Book

  • Compulsively readable
  • Katniss is such an unusual protagonist: cold, calculating, and ruthless.
  • The complexity of the love story
  • Of all the dystopias I’ve ever read, this one is the most eerily plausible.
  • Rue! My broken heart will cry forever.
  • The elimination-style competition has turned into a kind of bad trope, but it is so compelling and convincing in this book.
Continue reading “Favorites February: The Hunger Games”

Favorites February 2021

Okay so, I realize it isn’t February today, but when I was planning my book list I genuinely thought that it would be February today, and I’ve already started my reading for this. So, here we are. WHATEVER! It’s February tomorrow!

Every year here on Never Not Reading I read a favorite series (or suuuuper long novel) in the month of February. As I am reading I write a series of posts in which I write about the books in detail and host a small discussion. In the past I’ve read Percy Jackson, Emma, and His Dark Materials.

In 2021 I am SO EXCITED to announce that I will be reading The Hunger Games trilogy!

I’m really looking forward to this re-read for a number of reasons. Perhaps the biggest of those is that with the release of A Ballad of Songbird and Snakes last year, The Hunger Games was everywhere and made me feel super nostalgic. I even considered tagging ABOS&S to the end of this re-read since I haven’t read it yet, but decided against it. After giving it months of thought (seriously, I’ve known this was going to be my Favorites Februrary since like, April) I decided that I don’t really care about the prequel.

The other reason I’m super excited about this re-read is that it’s been a hot minute since I read The Hunger Games. I can’t remember for sure when I last read it, but it’s been at least five years, probably more.

Continue reading “Favorites February 2021”

Favorites February: The Amber Spyglass

Hey all! Welcome to my last installment of Favorites February 2020! I’ve really enjoyed reading one of my favorites series from my teen years, His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. I’m a little bit sad to say that the series on the whole didn’t quite live up to my memory of it, but I still love and will always love it. Thanks for reading, those of you who have, and now on I go!

Synopsis

Will is the bearer of the knife. Now, accompanied by angels, his task is to deliver that powerful, dangerous weapon to Lord Asriel – by the command of his dying father. But how can he go looking for Lord Asriel when Lyra is gone? Only with her help can he fathom the myriad plots and intrigues that beset him.

The two great powers of the many worlds are lining up for war, and Will must find Lyra, for together they are on their way to battle, an inevitable journey that will even take them to the world of the dead…

Why I Love This Book

  • The allusions to Greek mythology.
  • Seeing Will and Lyra’s relationship grow.
  • The way spirituality is so essential to the functioning of the universe.
  • When Pan settles. *sigh*
  • The mulefa are so effing interesting!
  • The moment when Lyra re-names “No-Name” as “Gracious Wings.” I teared up, no joke.
  • I’m a sucker for bittersweet endings. This book is FULL of them.
Continue reading “Favorites February: The Amber Spyglass”

Favorites February: The Subtle Knife

Thanks for dropping in for week two of Favorites February! This week I re-read my least favorite book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Subtle Knife. I say least favorite, but obviously I enjoy this series to have read and re-read it, lol.

Synopsis

Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld – Cittàgazze, where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies: twelve-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another’s, has also stumbled into this strange new realm. On a perilous journey from world to world, Lyra and Will uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. And with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat – and the shattering truth of their own destiny.

Why I Love This Book

  • The multiple-worlds are expanded upon and finally explained in this book, and I love it. More please!
  • Will. He is so troubled and confused and INTERESTING!
  • I love how Will and Lyra become joint-protagonists.
  • Lyra finally gets called out for being childish.
  • More witches!
  • New ways to communicate with Dust.
  • The waiting and build-up surrounding Dust in the first book has BIG payoff in this one.
Continue reading “Favorites February: The Subtle Knife”

Favorites February: The Golden Compass

Hello everybody, and welcome to the THIRD annual Favorites February! Huzzah!

What is Favorites February? I’m so glad you asked! Each winter I take a beloved book or series, give it a good re-read, and blog about my thoughts. This is one of my favorite bits on my blog each year, partly because it’s a good excuse to re-read several books, and partly because the posts are really fun to write.

The year I was inspired by the recent HBO adaptation of His Dark Materials to re-read the book series by Phillip Pullman. The adaptation was good, much better than the 2007 film, but it didn’t *quite* capture the tone of the books, for me. I feel like modern interpretations of this series tend to focus on the anti-religious themes, and forget that it was a book intended for children. So the series had me itching to have a go at the books again. So, here we are with book 1, The Golden Compass.

Synopsis

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title.

Continue reading “Favorites February: The Golden Compass”

Favorites February: Emma Volume 3

Synopsis

Emma and Frank Churchill plan an outing for the Highbury group to scenic Box Hill for a picnic. Tensions between Emma, Frank, Jane Fairfax, and the Eltons come to a head as a result of this party, and Emma is finally forced to confront the shortcomings of her character. And Harriet’s new love interest helps Emma to recognize her own feelings…

Why I Love This Book: Volume 3

  • Ah, the love story. I was so invested this time through, so able to catch on to the little details, I was practically swooning.
  • Jane Fairfax is a very interesting character, and I love seeing her fleshed out in this volume.
  • Seeing everyone, even Mr. Knightly, thoroughly abuse Mrs. Elton is so satisfying.
  • In some ways Volume 3 in soooo cringy, because all of Emma’s flaws come to their climax. But seeing her learn and grow is one of literature’s great character arcs.
  • I just adore how Mr. Knightly loves Emma so much that he’s willing to move to Hartfield, something unheard of in that day and age. ALL THE FEELS!
Continue reading “Favorites February: Emma Volume 3”

Sorting Hat Sunday: Emma

Emma laughed gaily. She was surrounded by friends and family, and she was the queen of the carriage. Though she was only a first year, see how they flocked to her? Frank, Jane, Isabella, John, George, they were drawn to her like a moth to the flame.

The Hogwarts Express zipped along at a marvelous speed. What a wonderful way trains were to travel! Emma made note to send her father an owl that evening so that he too could delight in the wonder of the train. Besides, it would be a comfort to him to know that they had been so comfortable on their journey. Nobody was foolish enough to open the windows at this speed, so there was not a draft to be found on the whole train.

“Isabella, John, what are you whispering about over there?” Emma called, delighting to see her sister blush. She had teased her to no end about John this summer, though Isabella had admitted nothing.

Her best friend, Anne, elbowed her hard. “Be nice, Emma!” she whispered. Emma rolled her eyes. Anne was just afraid to rock the boat. Emma had nothing to fear. She could do no wrong.


Emma

I don’t think there can be much doubt here. Emma is extremely dedicated to keeping the status quo and making sure that the upper classes of Highbury stay upper class, and that the lower classes know their place. She sees herself as the center of the Highbury social circle and is willing to be not very nice to keep herself there. In particular, her wish that the Coles would send her a party invitation just so she could refuse it is very telling.

Sorting Hat Says: SLYTHERIN!

Continue reading “Sorting Hat Sunday: Emma”

Favorites February: Emma, Volume 2

Back again with another Favorites February! This week I’m taking a look at the second volume of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma. Emma is considered by some book critics and historians as the “perfect novel”, and a lot of the things that make the novel so great come into play during volume 2. I hope you enjoy, and as always, play along in the comments!

Synopsis

Frank Churchill finally comes to Highbury, meeting all of Emma’s expectations for an amiable young man. Could she be falling in love after all? The only way to find out: a ball! Mr. Elton also returns with his new bride, both ready to spite Emma at any chance.

Why I Love This Book: Volume 2

  • The real actual problems with Emma’s character are more deeply explored and less superficial.
  • Mr. Knightly starts to really come in to his own as character with a personality.
  • The satire is sooooo biting.
  • Especially on the re-read, catching the sub-text about Jane Fairfax.
  • Maybe this makes me a snob, but I feel like a lot of the finer points of this volume hinge on a working knowledge of society of that era, and I feel like such a smarty-pants for catching it all!
Continue reading “Favorites February: Emma, Volume 2”

Favorites February: The Battle of the Labyrinth

Favorites February

Hello friends! Welcome back to Favorites February! This week I’m looking at book #4 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Battle of the Labyrinth. I had a great time re-reading this one, although the books are getting a little longer, and finishing this one in a week was a bit more work! However, there was a LOT more that I’d forgotten in this book than the others. It was good for a re-read.

250px-PercyBattleLabyrinth

Synopsis

Camp Half-Blood is in trouble. Again. The evil Titan lord, Kronos, and his army have found a way into camp using the ancient Labyrinth, if only they can find a way to navigate it. Percy, Annabeth, Tyson, and Grover head into the deadly maze in hopes of finding its creator, Daedalus, and convincing him to help them before their enemies do. But on the way there will be monsters, traps, indecision, and the danger of getting lost. Assuming they don’t lose their minds first… Continue reading “Favorites February: The Battle of the Labyrinth”