TWoP Fan's CBR-III Review #5 – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Book 5:
Author: Suzanne Collins
Read: January 3, 2011

Mockingjay is the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy, which could have been narrowed down to two books with a decent editor. While the second installment was repetitive and didn't fully realize the feeling of revolution that permeated the Districts, this book is much sharper and stronger, though the first book is easily the strongest.

When we meet again our heroine Katniss, she's just been broken out of the arena from her second Hunger Games and she's being spirited off to District 13, the fabled land that no one really thought existed. As it were, District 13 is composed of a vast underground complex that allows for food, weapons and living quarters. District 13 has developed a regimented way of life that can only exist with hardword and sacrifice, nothing new to the refugees from District 12. Katniss is not a willing Mockingjay at first, working through layers of scars and wounds that are both physical and mental. Her anguish over seeing so much destruction and death weighs her down and gives her a painful reluctance to make the smallest connection with people. Seeing her drawn out by another Hunger Games survivor, Finnick, is both touching and tragic.

As our rebels delve deeper into District 13, they must learn the culture, adjust to being forced into a routine and live underground. The prose is sparse, but worded carefully, much like District 13 itself. The comparison between the false freedom of the capital with it's regulated 'choices' and District 13 with it's restricted freedoms is powerful.

The second half with Katniss becoming more involved in the war effort felt more forced. When Katniss moves into a more hands-on status as a soldier in the war, there is little of her feelings about what she is taking on, more of her being directed and moved. The spark that made her on fire seemed only an ember. Katniss couldn't sustain the mentality of a soldier or the show the discipline that she was expected to have as it pertained to her recovery, let alone a war effort. For the first half of the book she did whatever she wanted whenever she wanted, but it was a stretch that she suddenly could make herself functional to kill more people.

Gale was another problem for me. If her was supposed to be Katniss' soulmate, it failed miserably in execution. He was arrogant and dismissive and almost a caricature of a pro-war person. Peeta, on the other hand, became more interesting in this book by far. Any time he was at odds with Katniss, I felt like it was real emotion. I thought he made her a stronger, better person and Gale drew her down into the selfish person she feared she was.

Rating: A decent ending, although it felt rushed in places and less thought-out than The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games easily stands alone, but the other two books do add some nice details to the story.

*SPOILER* My least favorite thing in this book was the casual way that deaths were handed, especially deaths that would have had real consequences and would have had effects on many people besides Katniss. I felt like they were given a few lines and it brushed past it, almost as if it was more of for shock rather than a plot necessity. Because really, President Snow was evil enough. Killing kids wasn't necessary to make him more evil.