Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.
After devouring The Hunger Games and Catching Fire on my Kindle Fire as downloads from the Kindle Lending Library, I had to kick it old school and actually crack open my hard cover copy to read Mockingjay. And it felt like it took me longer to read this one than it did the first two books. Was it due to the difference in format–digital versus paper? Or was it simply the story or the fact that I didn’t want this excellent saga to end? I’m not sure, but I did enjoy this book immensely.
In The Hunger Games, Katniss majorly ticked off the Capital and President Snow when she pulled the fake suicide attempt so she and Peeta could both win the 74th games. In Catching Fire, sparks of rebellion are breaking out in all of the districts and both Katniss and Peeta are sent into the arena again for the 75th Hunger Games. But that time, they don’t come out victorious together. The rebels have been planning to break her out of the arena and whisk her away since she’s come to be the face of the rebellion, but when the time comes, Katniss finds herself in District 13 while Peeta falls into the hands of the Capitol.
District 13 isn’t a wasteland and myth like the Capitol has lead everyone to believe. It is a thriving underground city run by a power hungry leader who demands a regimented lifestyle for all inhabitants. And Katniss is given a choice: become the public face of the rebellion–the Mockingjay–or stay underground and rot in her sorrow at losing Peeta to the enemy and everone else who has died because of her. While her mother and sister, and Gale and his family are safe in District 13, Katniss decides to step up and become what they want her to be, even if that means stepping right into the middle of a war zone and risking her life to get Peeta back and to get her revenge on President Snow.
One of the things that I liked the most about this installment was the parallels between the District 13 leaders and the Capitol. Just because one was supposedly “good” and the other wasn’t doesn’t mean that either really had their citizens’ best interests at heart. And Katniss should have been able to recognize when she is be used as a pawn by now, clearly isn’t able to detect such things. Subterfuge and distrust come from all directions in this book.
The good: Gale. He is present so much in this book that you truly get a much better glimpse at the man that he’s become since he’s actually around in Katniss’ life. Whether you like what he is or not, it’s nice to get to know him, and that’s something that you didn’t get much of in the other two books. There is also a bit of Gale and Peeta interaction which was interesting to read since they are both in love with Katniss.
The bad: Katniss seemed to emotionally check out a lot in this book. If she couldn’t handle things, she’d just act out on purpose and they’d sedate her. Definitely a cheap way out of dealing with her issues. And she literally hides out in a closet, wallowing in her self pity a good chunk of the time when they aren’t practically making her do things. What happened to the girl who was proactive, not reactive? I kept waiting for her to push through the post traumatic stress and kick some serious ass, but it never quite happened.
But my biggest gripe with this book was the ending, it seemed rushed and unfinished. I wasn’t bothered by which romantic interest Katniss ultimately picked in the end. But I was bothered by the fact that the boy who wasn’t picked just disappeared–he didn’t try to fight for her or do anything. He just gave up.
All in all, the writing was gripping and tight. Suzanne Collins continued to tell a story that I couldn’t put down. But this one was a bit less dazzling than the first two, so I give it a four.
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