**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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