Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year. (YA)
There are no spoilers for Mockingjay but if you haven't read The Hunger Games or Catching Fire you might want to skip this review.
If The Hunger Games and Catching Fire were about The Games and manipulations of The Capitol then Mockingjay is about choices and consequences.
At the beginning of Mockingjay, District 12 has been destroyed, the “non-existent” District 13 has been discovered and Peeta has been captured by The Capitol.
Mockingjay is different in tone and pacing than the previous two books in the series. Katniss has matured and hardened. She has to face the realities of being "The Mockingjay". It’s not something she can escape from just because the games are over. There are still those who want to use her and what she represents for their own goals, but this time she’s in control. She also comes to the realization that she needs help, not an easy admission for her.
One thing I really loved about this book is that she has relationships with the other characters for once. The romance takes a back seat, as it should, although it is always looming in the background (and a decision is made) but in Mockingjay we get to see her interact with the others and expand her sometimes narrow views. Instead of being the loner, questioning everyone’s motives, she has to work with a team to take down The Capitol. I liked that she was able to form a bond with her former tributes – Finnick & Johanna.
She’s not the only one who has been changed by the games. Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Johanna and Finnick are also profoundly affected by the manipulations of President Snow. They are not the same people we read about in The Hunger Games. We learn more about their backgrounds and just how evil The Capitol was in keeping an iron grip on the residents of the 12 Districts. The parallels to war and its effects on the psyche of its victims are the driving force in this, the last chapter to The Hunger Games series. Suffice to say it made for some rough reading at times.
The relationship between Katniss and Haymitch was the most profound to me. What has he been to Katniss? Mentor? Traitor? Friend? He has now become Katniss’s conscience and the person who knows her best, because honestly – they are so much alike. Sometimes Katniss needs a whack upside the head! I love her but she can be incredibly self-absorbed. My heart went out to Haymitch as we learned about his past and I was happy to see his character get a bit more development.
And I’m going to give a little shout out to Buttercup – Prim’s cat – yes Buttercup. Katniss’s interactions with him provide a welcome respite from the relentlessly bleak backdrop and let us in on a vulnerable side of Katniss that we don’t often see.
If I have one complaint it would be that Collins delved a little too deep in explaining certain things such as each line of a song but then hurried along at other (more important IMO) points. There were a few important conversations and scenes that I would have liked to have read but were left out.
Many of the themes and symbols from the first two books were carried through to the finale and most things are resolved. There are twists and turns that I’m sure you won’t see coming. While a few things happened that people predicted, I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of you will be shocked by at least once during this book. I personally was stunned at the path she took – I expected something….different….more epic and yes I was a little disappointed after all the buildup.
I don’t think this is my favorite book in the series but it is a fitting end to one of the best YA series I’ve read in years. I hope I don’t ever get that stressed out over a book again! The wait almost killed me!
Rating: 3.5 out of 4. A fantastic end to a brilliant series. I believe this series is best read all at once - so set aside a few days and get reading
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