Katniss Everdeen has survived the The Hunger Games, The Quarter Quell, and the destruction of her home, District 12. Now she has been asked to enter a new kind of arena, where she will be required to fully embrace her role as the Mockingjay, a powerful symbol of freedom and rebellion against the tyrannical Capitol.
Mockingjay is the third and final book in The Hunger Games Trilogy, and I can't help but be impressed with what Collins has done with this series. Although Mockingjay doesn't have a televised Hunger Games, or Quarter Quell to provide suspense and action, making the book somewhat slower paced, Collins successfully takes the themes established in the two previous books and really take them to a new level. There's a different type of game going on this time. Katniss, as the Mockingjay, is a powerful game piece that can inspire hope in the oppressed, so the people around her want to make sure that's she's used effectively. Once again, we have people telling her how to dress and speak in interviews, only this time it's not the capitol, it's District 13. I was pleasantly surprised with the way that District 13 was characterized. Although it's goal is a worthy one, it's obvious from the start that there's nothing ideal about District 13. 13 is a location of complete control and limited freedom, something that Katniss chaffs at from the start. Sometimes you find yourself wondering if the things District 13 does are just as bad as The Capitol.
One thing I've mentioned in previous reviews is how Collins doesn't pull any punches, despite the fact that this series is YA. As Mockingjay deals with the subject of war, some of the developments can be incredibly brutal. Beloved characters are tortured, or are killed off mercilessly. We watch as out heroes face moral and ethical quandaries and often make dark choices in desperation. Even the “right” choices have consequences, and there are dire results to even Katniss's most noble moments.
Mockingjay does so much right where final books in children's and young adult literature often miss the mark (such as Breaking Dawn, and even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). The ending is dramatic without losing itself in it's own epic-ness, and manages to be shocking and emotionally powerful without sliding into melodrama. Yes, the romantic disputes are solved by the end, but it's really not the focus of this book (I personally, was not on any “team” as much as I just wanted an ending with Katniss happy). Mockingjay is a book that will break your heart into pieces again and again, and do so without apology, or a perfectly resolved ending that ties up every little loose end. I don't know what Collins is writing next, but I'm not sure how she's planning on topping this.
Rating: five stars
Length: 390 pages
Source: borrowed from my fiance
Challenges: This book is not part of any challenges
Similar books: This may sound a little strange Naomi Kritzer's often overlooked Fires of the Faithful and Turning the Storm. Both deal with a rebellion against an oppressive society in similar ways, although Krizter's work has an additional religious element added in.
Other books I've read by this author: The Hunger Games. Catching Fire, and Mockingjay
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