Author: Suzanne Collins © 2010
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA literature & fiction
Sub-genre: Self-esteem & reliance, self-respect; Action-adventure & sci-fi
Book received by: Purchased by husband
The revolution that President Snow eluded to in his threats to Katniss has come to life. District 13 is thriving and ready mount an attack on the Capital and the status quo, with the support of most of the other districts.
Katniss survived, but is not unscathed. Peta is missing, a captive of the Capital. Her home in District 12, along with most of those who lived there, are gone. Expectations and agendas hinge on Katniss fulfilling the role of the Mockingjay and leading the rebels in the war against the Capital. A war that will change their future, and hers. But at what cost?
Busy moms (and dads): The third and final installment of The Hunger Games trilogy is not one to miss. It is not, in my opinion, the best of the three, but it does provide the closure one needs after the first two. It’s a powerful and captivating story to the end. The lessons and subtle themes woven into this trilogy are significant and make it worthy of reading for both young and grown adults.
Characters come full circle in Mockingjay. Some (including a few major ones) are ill-fated. Relationships change and alliances are formed based on need, and hope. Katniss holds true to behaviors common amongst teenagers, which will surely frustrate many (it certainly did me). To that end, I believe it demonstrates Ms. Collins’ brilliance as a writer; to react so strongly to a character in a book is to have written them, and their story, extremely well.
The plot and storyline, however, are not up to the same high standard established in the first two books. Not surprisingly, Mockingjay returns to the same format of Katniss entering the Hunger Games, although not in the literal sense. Instead, in leading the revolution against the Capital, another Hunger Games begins, with Katniss among those whose lives are at stake. The “games” in this third installment, while clever, felt more forced, as if trying to keep to a previously established formula for the story. The deaths at this point left me not saddened but more numb and disappointed that they could not escape this cycle of terror and senseless loss of life. Perhaps that is a point well made by Ms. Collins? That being said, the book may be ten to twenty percent longer than it needed to be for the story to be as effective and as powerful as the others.
The book dragged some for me through the middle third, which included the “76th Hunger Games” of the rebels attack on the Capital. As the book approached the final sixty to seventy pages, I felt re-engaged. Things were changing, the moment of truth approaching. There were surprises that awaited me and, despite the outcomes, I thought were brilliant.
The end, the epilogue, is two pages, for which I know many people have a deep loathing. For me, I appreciate the value of an open-ended story finale, but for this trilogy, to have some sense of resolution, of true closure, I think was fitting and appropriate. After all, it is a book for the YA market. Not to suggest that YA readers can’t appreciate the closing of a book unless it is expositional, but that wrap up the Hunger Games story, to Katniss’s story, with closure, peace and hope, was the right ending.
Have you read Mockingjay? How did you like it? How did you feel about Katniss by the end? Or did you stop after one of the previous books? If so, why? Comments are welcome and appreciated!
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Happy trails and may the good books be plentiful!
Feature image: Cover art, Tim O’Brien (© 2010), Cover design Elizabeth B. Parisi