Review: Mockingjay

**Spoiler Alert: If you have only read my Hunger Games review and Catching Fire review and not the actual book, you might not want to read the following review. Spoilers from previous books are included.

Recap: In the third and final book of The Hunger Games series, we’re still trying to make sense of what happened in book two, Catching Fire. And it seems, so is the main character, Katniss. We quickly learn District 12 has been destroyed, and its remaining inhabitants now live in District 13. Destruction, betrayal, and confusion fill Katniss’s mind as she tries to come up with a plan to get Peeta back from the Capitol — where he’s being held captive — and kill President Snow.

But as I mentioned in my review of Catching Fire, the second book was really just a connector to Mockingjay, which focuses on the rebellion against the Capitol lead by Katniss. Mockingjay holds up the promise of letting a rebel war play out the way it should. The  guys work on new equipment, while the soldiers train. But everything gets turned around when Peeta and Katniss are reunited. The Capitol has tortured, abused, and brainwashed Peeta with tracker jacker fluid, turning him against Katniss.

Now an untrained Katniss, an unstable Peeta, and a willful Gale must work together — along with their fellow soldiers — to take on the Capitol. But their unfamiliarity with the layout of the land, their well-known faces, and the strength of President Snow work against them. Not to mention, Snow isn’t their only enemy.

Analysis: In Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins does a great job of demonstrating the themes of the entire series — trust and loyalty. Here, Katniss grapples with who she can trust. And for the first time, so does Peeta.  With the dynamic between Katniss and Peeta so stunningly different from how it’s been in the past, the reader understands what a twisted world these kids live in. Everyone is questionable, even the closest of friends.

Mockingjay also takes the dark concepts of the previous books to another level. For instance, death and mourning plays a big part in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, when Rue and Cinna die. But the importance of some of the losses in Mockingjay go deeper. And the way Katniss deals with it is a little crazy, but also very real.

And the action — well, it’s a war. A purple haze that shoots blood from everyone’s orafaces, a ground that opens up, parachutes that explode — it’s absurd and it’s violent. Mockingjay makes The Hunger Games looks like child’s play. Katniss, Peeta, and Gale have been thrust into a world where they have to grow up fast — and that they do.

The only issues I had were with the ending. A number of characters’ plotlines were not tied up. Not to mention, the epilogue was unnecessary and very Harry Potter-esque. Nonetheless, it was nice to peak into the future.

MVP: Peeta Melark. Yes, Peeta’s kind of a bastard for much of Mockingjay. But he’s also been brainwashed and doesn’t know any better. Plus, it’s amazing to see this violent, angry side of him, when we’re so used to seeing him as a calm, tender kid. He wasn’t my favorite character in this book, but he was the most interesting.

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7 responses to “Review: Mockingjay

  1. Maladeen MC.

    ! SPOILERS !
    I agree; Suzanne Collins left way too many opens places for too many characters, especially Gale. He started off in the series as Katniss bestfriend, and Suzanne Collins pretty much pushed him away to make room for Peeta.

    Though I also agree, I liked the new side of Peeta. ALMOST made me go to “Team Peeta”.

    BUT, back to my first subject, Suzanne Collins DID let go of too many characters:

    *Finnick’s death was unnecessary (to me). She let down some of his fan-girls (AKA, she let down alot of her fans for this series)

    *Madge’s death was COMPLETELY unnecessary. (She was the one who gave Katniss the Mockingjay Pin; so, she could have played an important part in the third book as part of Katniss’s little army.)

    *Making Gale leave to District 2 was unnecessary. (Like I already stated, it was as if Suzanne Collins pushed him away to make room for Peeta.)

    *Primrose’s death was SLIGHTLY unnecessary. (Prim was just starting to become a serious part in the series. She kept Katniss sane with her tender heart, and such while Peeta was brainwashed. But, OF COURSE, she died too….)

    Overall, I gave this book 2 1/2 stars. :-\

    • Kevin Jacobson

      I’m a little late here – just found this review. Loved the series. But I disagree on all the complaints about who died and loose ends. It’s a novel – and while some loose ends, such as strong themes carried throughout a book, should be tied off, an author can’t tie off every little thread based on the readers’ wishes. And what I liked about this book is that it was not “Hollywood” – it was meant to depict “real life” as much as possible. We don’t get to choose who lives or dies in real life. People die unnecessarily in real life all the time – especially in war. I think a lot of readers have gotten too used to Hollywood style endings where everything works out and all the main characters are tied off nice and neat and the world is bliss. But real life is not that way – and that is what makes this serious so powerful. It’s not trying to make you happy at the end – it’s going for a deeper level of thought. There is more to it than Gale and Peeta and Katniss and their love thing – this “love triangle” was used as a tool to convey a deeper message. So I think all the complaints coming from idealists who want everything is a nice tidy bow at the end are missing the greater point of the novels – in my opinion. Thanks!

      • Bigstik

        It has nothing to do with ‘Hollywood endings’ or idealists and everything to do with Mockingjay just being a bad book. There is nothing ‘real life’ about it. Wars don’t have mutts and exploding rose bushes. And they certainly don’t have people rallying around a whiny 16 year that thinks she’s a Jesus figure. People also live in real life and war all the time. Plus, this isn’t real life, it’s a YA novel. Ms Collin’s developed the love triangle as a central theme in the first book. It was her job to carry through with it and force Katniss to make a choice.

        She put her heavy handed, anti-war propaganda above what was best for the characters, story and fans.

        Another problem is there were too many loose ends and the important ones need tied up. If Katniss is going to the judge, jury and executioner of Coin, we need to know she really deserved based on actual evidence. Not the circumstantial stuff in the book. If Katniss is going to end her relationship Gale, we need to know that he was responsible for the bomb. Not that just one of his plans was taken and modified but that he had an actual hand in it. Ms Collins points out that Beetee – the smart man, moral compass character doesn’t even know.

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