Monday, October 4, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.


The short, spoiler free version:

Picking up where book two left off and again delving into events that are in no way predictable, Mockingjay ties up this trilogy with a bang. Hard to digest in some parts, and a gripping look at the raw, real nature of war, Collins has held nothing back with this one. Everything is intensified, and though there is a clear shift in Katniss herself, given everything leading up to it, this is understandable. There will quite possibly be no other dystopian that will top the scope and brilliance of this set.

The extended, SPOILER version:

This is admittedly a hard review to write. I can't do it justice without spoilers, and I also am just not sure I can do it justice overall. The bottom line is that Collins has written a phenomenal series, and despite my problems with this book, it easily deserves 5 stars for magnitude and scope. The way everything is tied together is absolutely astounding. Things come completely full circle in this one, from the death of Prim- the very thing Katniss tried to prevent and therefore inadvertently triggered this series of events- to the torture Peeta endured and the drastic changes in Gale.

Katniss has never been an easy character to like. She isn’t especially empathetic, but she is strong in unforeseen ways and loyal in beautiful ways. Though wishy washy in her feelings with Peeta and Gale, her intense determination to survive is the core of her character in terms of this series. Watching her almost waste away and be in a dissociative state in this book was frustrating and hard to read, but considering what she had faced up to this point, it was understandable and even realistic. It took a lot to push her there, and it took a lot to snap her out of it. Katniss’ character does not react how anyone now normally would- but how can she, considering not only the way she grew up, but everything she endured after the first Hunger Games. As she says in the book, she has killed people. Not just people, but children.

I was never really Team Peeta- he bothered me to a certain extent, but I completely see the necessity for Katniss to end up with him. I would have been shocked if it didn’t happen and his quiet, kind nature that carried through even after his horrible torture spoke thousands more about his character than any words could truly do. Though this is a fiction setting and the type of torment inflicted on him doesn’t exist, forms of it could with our modern technology. It is almost gutting to realize how much of this fiction setting could be true and impossible to even imagine being in that situation. Peeta’s desire to die isn’t selfish in this case- but noble because is knows what a danger he is. The way he figures out what is real and what isn’t is fantastic, and it is the little things like that which truly give brilliance to Collins’ creation.

Gale was another hard character to read about in this book. A complete shift from the boy we thought we knew early on, it is easy to see how living in this situation would create someone so bloodthirsty. Though I would have liked a little more resolution with him, the very fact that it was essentially his creation and tactics which lead to Prim’s death is cause enough to severe anything he may have had with Katniss. Already turning cold, I did worry about his future outside of how he ended, having lost her.

The beginning was slow for me, and it wasn’t until about a hundred pages in that I really started getting into it, but then again, war is very much a waiting game with just bits of excitement. While I did feel like the last hundred or so pages were very jam packed and almost overwhelming in information, I imagine that is exactly how Katniss felt as well. With nothing to do but push forward, even when she might want to give up, I was tugged along right with her. Finn’s death was horrible to read, and everything about him from the reason he seemed so mental to what happened after he won his Games really did justice to everything Collins had already set up.

Most importantly, what I appreciated more than anything else and think Collins absolutely nailed was the idea that no side is necessarily right in a war. Though the Rebels’ cause seemed great, once the inner workings of it were brought up, it was clear that it wasn’t really anything above the Capitol itself. A drive for power and a selfish need for survival even at the expense of others drove this book. The actions of the Tributes easily reflects that of the Capitol, and the way everything tied together and the overall metaphor of this series still astounds me, even a month after reading.

While I did have to digest this book and the closing to the series for a day before I fully appreciated it, Collins has written something astounding, gutting, and maybe even a little too realistic for some parts of the world. It’s almost easy to imagine being in the well to do, no worries Capitol, knowing what exists in other parts of our world while we often seem to do little about it. Overall, Mockingjay was a successful end to a bold series, and will stay memorable for years to come.

Source: Received for review from Amazon
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (August 24, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439023513
ISBN-13: 978-0439023511


  1. Amazing review. I never thought of the last book coming "in full circle" as you said until you pointed it out. It is an amazing trilogy.

  2. I'm hoping to read Mockingjay this week so I'll stop by and read the spoilery version of your review then lol

  3. I loved your review. You nailed so many of the same thoughts that I had about it.

  4. Wonderful review! I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was the best ending possible for such an incredible series.

  5. Very well put review! I, too, absolutely loved this book.