Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2010)

Book review: Hunger Games #3: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, 2010)

mockingjaybook“IF WE BURN
YOU BURN WITH US”

Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans – everyone except Katniss.

And yet she must play the most vital part in the final battle. Katniss must become their Mockingjay – the symbol of rebellion – no matter what the personal cost.

THE MIND-BLOWING CONCLUSION TO THE HUNGER GAMES TRILOGY

This is it, the final instalment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Katniss was rescued from the arena at the end of the previous book, and she now finds herself in District 13, which everyone thought had been obliterated. In fact, after their failed rebellion, they went underground and have lived there ever since. The Capitol are too afraid to attack them, as District 13 was always the nuclear district.

The rebels want Katniss to be their symbol of the rebellion, to be their Mockingjay, but Katniss is a grumpy teenager and doesn’t want to play ball. She’s pissed off with the rebels, and in particular their leader “president” Coin, because they won’t let her go wherever or do whatever she pleases, and they also didn’t bother rescuing Peeta from the arena when they rescued her. They also won’t allow her to join in on missions (where she’d be a liability), stoopid doo-doo heads, and just wants her to be a mascot, and she can’t even do that properly.

Peeta makes appearances on Capitol-run TV, but has in fact been brainwashed. When he’s finally rescued and reunited with Katniss, he tries to kill her, sadface. Gale, on the other hand, is plotting to kill everyone else – everyone in the Capitol, that is. Katniss decides those are not the sort of qualities she’s looking for in a friend, let alone a boyfriend.

And then they go to the Capitol to kick the oppressors’ behinds, and woe is everyone who tries to stand in Katniss Everdeen’s way!

I may have made it out to sound worse than it is. It’s pretty good, actually. Katniss gets on my nerves again, by being a sulky teenage git, but you could argue that she has good reason to be of a rather gnarly temper – what with everything she’s had to go through over the past couple of books.

The thing we’d all like to know is of course whether or not the rebels manage to beat President Snow and his evil regime, and stop the Hunger Games. Oh, and there’s also the whole thing of which boy Katniss will live happily ever after with, if either of them manage to survive it all. All those questions get answered, along with a few others, no doubt. I won’t mention the actual answers, though. Read And Find Out, pal.

Mockingjay being the dramatic conclusion to the Hunger Games trilogy … I don’t know, I expected something more, I think. The ending is interesting, and might or might not have you doing air punches, and the epilogue bit … just feels very anti-climactic in the romance department.

Then again, it could be argued that anti-climactic is a good summary of the series as a whole. While reading it, it’s amazing and you can’t put the book(s) down and it’s all you can think about. Once you’re done and they’re back on the shelf, they’re like any other book in the already over-full bookshelf. A good story, but not one that sticks out in memory in particular. Good, sure; enjoyable, definitely; the best thing since sliced bread, not so much.

I mean, I do like these books and find them well-written and interesting, but once they’re put back in the bookcase, it’s just another book series. I might take them out again in a few years and say “yup, those books sure tell a good story” but I doubt they’ll take pride of place and be revered to the same degree as a handful of other book series next to it. It’s a good series, but then again, the same could be said for e.g. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy – and I know which one I’d most rather be discussing with someone down the pub. (If I had literary discussions in pubs. Or, eh, went to pubs other than to occasionally eat cheap-ish food.)

Mockingjay is a fitting end to the Katniss saga, though, and I’m glad YA readers have a gutsy heroine with a personality (even if it is grating) to look up to instead of that dreadful vampire-fancier in Twilight.

So, you know, good work there, Suzanne Collins. It’s just a bit sad that I’m more drawn to playing The Hunger Games Adventures on Facebook than counting down the days to when the second film comes out. What was that one about again? Oh, yeah, I remember.

I’d probably still rate it a 4 out of 5, just because they all get what’s coming to them.

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