Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins

Rank: C+
No. Times Read: 1
Last Read: Fall, 2011

Author Name: Suzanne Collins

Review: The final book in the Hunger Games series ends satisfyingly enough. It ends, and the characters, to a large extent, are finally left alone.

After the events of Catching Fire, our 17-year-old heroine Katniss finds herself part of some rebel plot hatched by the supposedly destroyed District 13 to overthrow the evil Capitol. The District 13 folk are portrayed as an underground-dwelling-control-freak of a society dominated by an impassive President Coin, who plans on using Katniss as the centerpiece of a propaganda/media campaign to instill rebellious feelings in the hearts of the Capitol-hating people of Panem. They even outfit Katniss in a “Mockingjay” costume (a type of futuristic bird), give her some fancy Rambo-like bow and arrows, and have a camera crew follow her to film her heroic exploits and grand speeches. It’s silly, I know, but that’s what happens. Katniss doesn’t particularly like District 13’s regimented schedule or their many rules. Socialism with Panem characteristics?

Katniss spends a large part of her stay in District 13 wandering through the corridors and being belligerent to everyone, which the reader assumes is attributable to her PTSD and disappointment at losing/failing to save one of the loves of her life. Actually, during the first two books, one was led to believe that she pined for some other guy, but whatever. Mockingjay is basically about Katniss trying to be a good rebel without a cause, rebelling against the Capitol, District 13, and her friends who try to steer her towards fulfilling their ultimate goal of winning peace. Sadly, Katniss, whose quasi-craziness and hostility to all grows old really fast, has devolved from the cool, self-sacrificing girl in The Hunger Games, to the innocent girl caught up in the crossfire of dueling forces in Catching Fire, to a whiny, battle-scarred reality TV star in Mockingjay.

There’s no third hunger games this time around, but killing opportunities abound. Towards the end, Katniss volunteers for an assassination mission in the Capitol, which results in the deaths of most of her companions (except for her camera crew) and yields no useful benefits since the rebels end up not needing her help at all. Then, after all the fighting is just about done, Katniss decides to go and senselessly kill someone out of an unfounded sense of revenge. It was kind of unbelievable and a letdown. Anyway, Katniss chooses one of the two lover boys as the one for her, and the book allows them to live in peace in the countryside, raising kids in a world free from hunger and televised killing games. The final sentence of the book induced a groan.

Overall, Mockingjay’s saving grace is the fact that it ended the series, though there are numerous loose ends that went ignored at the end. It’s nice to know we needn’t read any more (prequels probably aren’t ruled out. Since there were over seventy hunger game competitions before book one, there’s enough material in there for plenty of books). I didn’t love Mockingjay, but I didn’t hate it, and I rather liked the peacefulness and contentedness finally realized by the characters. As for the writing itself, no improvements are made in the third book, but it still glides along with ease. I managed to finish the entire series in a span of one week even while holding down a full time job, participating in L.A.’s terrible commute, and watching reruns of Peep Show every night. Even though the Hunger Games series isn’t perfect, it was entertaining enough. So you might as well give it a go—at the very least to spark a bit of shared conversation with your teenage kid.

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