Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins, Book Review

***Mockingjay is book three in the Hunger Games trilogy. If you have not read the first two, skip to my Hunger Games review (book one) or my Catching Fire review (book two).

mockingjayIt’s over. I’ve finished the last book. Mockingjay ends as I knew it must end. And Katniss claims the man I knew she must choose. Yet the getting there elicited every emotion. I feel like I’ve been away on a long, traumatic journey and now I’m utterly spent. For hours, these pages have compelled me to push on through a grim, dark place before emerging with a tiny ray of hope, but now that I’ve succeeded, I miss Panem. I miss the characters that have become my friends. I want to go back there.

Mockingjay did not grab me immediately as The Hunger Games and Catching Fire did. It works in a little slower. I hated district 13 and felt like Katniss was wasting time there. I chaffed with her, wanting to get out in open air. Join the rebellion. Yet the interplay between characters was more intense. This book had a wider scope, with a wider cast, and deeper loss. It’s loaded with impossible choices, impossible consequences, and truths about humanity’s strengths and weaknesses. Ms. Collins digs more deeply into her characters, ferreting out motives and illuminating both flaws and honor. She wields effective symbols and draws honest conclusions. This, I believe, is the deepest book of her trilogy, yet it isn’t totally satisfying. Especially, I was wishing for some personal interaction between main characters in the final chapter instead of a sweeping finish.

Yet again I caution parents of younger readers. Mockingjay has very, very dark moments. Thoughts of suicide, hopelessness, torture, drug dependence, forced prostitution, and violence on a massive scale. It is meant for mature readers. Age 12 or 13 at the very least, and even then with discretion. Honestly, I’d not let my child read this one till high school. But the book is not all darkness. It applauds friendship, family, freedom, honor, sacrifice, hope and life.

In conclusion, I rate The Hunger Games trilogy among my all-time favorites. Ms. Collins has drawn me into the world of Panem, created three characters I can’t help but love, and spun a story impossible to forget. Read them!

Books available as a box set.

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