MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins [Review]

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

SPOILER ALERT: This review contains minor spoilers for Mockingjay and major spoilers for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire since I assume you’ve already read the first two books in the trilogy. If you haven’t, start by reading my review of The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games may be over, but in Mockingjay Katniss is still fighting for her life and the lives of her loved ones. Now that District 12 has been destroyed, she and a group of survivors, including her and Gale’s families, have taken refuge in District 13. Peeta wasn’t so lucky and was captured by the Capitol, leaving Katniss feeling grief-stricken and guilty. As the war against the Capitol rages on, the rebel leaders look to her to become the Mockingjay, the leader of the revolution. But can she do it without Peeta by her side? And can she trust her new allies, or are they no better than President Snow and the Capitol?

With Mockingjay, Collins has completed a masterpiece trilogy of dystopian works. The war, the political corruptness, the moral ambiguities and shortcuts, all provide a somber backdrop for Mockingjay, but also challenge the reader to face the reality of the world Katniss lives in. For the resistance it’s not enough to want freedom, it’s a question of how far they are willing to go to get it, regardless of the cost.

What I was really impressed with was Suzanne Collins’ ending to Mockingjay (and in turn, the Hunger Games series). It sends the message that in this situation there were no winners, just the realization of the price paid and the attempt to move on regardless.

Mockingjay‘s five star rating is a reflection on how good it was both as a novel and in bringing to a close the Hunger Games trilogy. Collins is able to leverage the darkness of the novel into showing us the effects the events of the series have had on Katniss, and it is a rollercoaster of emotions. This made the decision to narrate the series through Katniss’ point of view a brilliant one by the author. It added more realism to her struggle and the agonizing decisions she faced in Mockingjay, showing the same courage as in the other stories but when facing much higher stakes.

The action in Mockingjay, particularly the last third of the book is very good, right up there with the arena battles in the first Hunger Games book. Although Mockingjay was more violent than it’s two predecessors, none of it felt gratuitous, partly because there’s a war going on, and partly because it only added another layer to dystopian setting of the book.

Lastly, I applaud the way Collins wrapped up the book, as it closed all the major plot lines in a satisfactory manner (even if not everyone is happy with the decisions made by the characters). It would have been very easy for her to turn it into a fairytale ending, but instead keeps true to the realism of the novel and the characters, and should leave the reader well satisfied.

As with the other books in the series, Mockingjay is appropriate for mature young adults and adult readers. The complicated subject matter, the violence, and the themes touched upon by the story are much more mature than the previous books, so take this into consideration before letting younger readers start the book. I would recommend reading the prior two books in the series, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, before tackling Mockingjay, or else you will likely be lost as to who some of the characters are and most of the backstory.

Quotes from Mockingjay:

“Fire is catching!” I am shouting now, determined that he will not miss a word. “And if we burn you burn with us!” – Katniss

“Well, don’t expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.” – Boggs

“Ladies and gentlemen…..”
His voice is quiet, but mine rings through the room.
“Let the Seventy-sixth Hunger Games begin!” – Finnick and Katniss

“Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen. I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other.” – President Snow

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Scholastic Press | Pages: 400 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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